I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what denization was, however thanks to The National Archives I now know that it is a form of British citizenship that gives a person some, but not all of the right of a British citizen. Naturalisation gives a person full citizen rights
National Archives have announced the release of what I think are a brick wall buster set of documents. Thousands of 19th century records concerning immigrants into Britain 1801 – 1871 who applied to become British. To become citizens the applicants had to present the Home Office with details of their name, age, trade and how long they had lived in Britain. It is these application papers that are now available online.
The applicants came from across the world, most seemed to have settled in London.
If you have ancestors whose surnames seem a little unusual and they simply appeared out of no-where then this is a set of records you should search. A name search is free and it costs £3.36 for an instant download of a PDF of the documents.
As an example I did a search under Smith and found Ernest Smith from Prussia whose naturalisation papers dated 1 July 1862 covers 7 pages, John Christopher Smith original country not given whose naturalisation papers dated 1830 covers 22 pages and Emilie Smith from Naples whose denization papers dated 4 July 1833 covers 5 pages. There were a total of 34 separate entries under the name Smith. So it can be seen that some files have a considerable amount of information.
To access these records click on http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/Home/OnlineCollections and enter the surname and the government reference HO 1 under Advance Search and then click on search.