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Issue 5-11-2004
How can I find out if I have Native American Ancestry?
Though I am not an expert in Native American research, and few are, I have read many articles, books, and outlines on the subject and will try to answer this question using the opinions of various experts.

Most of the material written about Native American research tends to start with the assumption that the researcher has at least the name of the possible Indian ancestor and suggests that finding the tribal affiliation would be the next step. Without exception the many people who have asked me, "How can I find out if my ancestors are Indian?" did not know the name, tribe, nor even the time period for their hypothetical Indian ancestor.

With that in mind, I feel that Rachel Mills Lennon, in her book "Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes" gives the best suggestion for starting the search: "one should proceed to research the family in the same manner as if the Indian tradition did not exist" (16). She adds that as you start to extend your pedigree back, evidence may then surface that will indicate the Native American connection. Emily Anne Croom in her book "The Genealogist's Companion and Sourcebook" agrees with Ms. Lennon. She says, "Begin with yourself and confirm your lineage backward, one generation at a time without skipping a generation" (352). Most professional researchers agree with Marsha Rising when she said, "Until the individual who was the tribal member is identified, researching in Indian records is futile." This means you need to talk to your older relatives, search through family papers, pictures, correspondence, and obituaries and generally begin building your pedigree until there is a hint of an Indian ancestor.

Search compiled records first. The pedigrees listed on www.MyTrees.com are considered compiled records. Many Professional genealogists use MyTrees.com to help them locate genealogy work that has already been done. Finding a pedigree that contains your ancestors can save you a lot of time and effort and may reveal more information about your possible connections to Native American ancestry. You will want to search MyTrees.com often because of the constantly updated pedigrees that are being added.

You can increase your chances of discovering the Indian ancestor, if one exists, by learning the history both political and social of the area in which your ancestors lived. The likelyhood that your ancestor married a Native American is greatly enhanced if:
1. They lived on the frontier where there were few white settlers.
2. Their occupation brought them into close positive contact with Indians.
Indian spouses were often found among those who were traders, government agents, ministers, schoolteachers, or craftsmen who lived near Indians in order to teach blacksmithing or weaving.

In order to successfully search for your Indian ancestry, you must know:
1. the ancestor's name (hopefully the Indian name as well as the English name)
2. the locality where they lived
3. the time period for the locality in which they lived
4. the tribal affiliation and its history

Below is an outline of the steps you would most likely take to research Native American Ancestors once you have the name of the ancestor and a hint that they may be of Native American lineage. FHL Film numbers are listed after the research outline with a description of each resource for Native American Research. You can order these films or find other important films to view by going to one of the Family History Libraries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Links to Online resources are al so listed when available with a brief description of the resource.

There are numerous other sources for research. Native Americans are among the world's most documented peoples. One of the main reasons people fail to find their Indian lines in the records they search is that they do not search both the Federal Census rolls and the Tribal Census rolls and the volumes upon volumes of other data available to search.

Native American Research Outline

1.Do you know the name of the Tribe of your Ancestor?------------------->YES
......................NO..................................................\/
......................||..................................................||
......................\/..................................................\/
........Search these sources then go back to question ....................||
Indians & Persons Involved in Indian Affairs by Hall(Film#1636598-605)....\/
...Includes names of tribes for each state and Individuals................||
Handbook of American Indians by Hodge (Film#0934828 item 3-4).............\/
...Includes names of tribes and history of each...........................||
Indian Tribes of North America by Swanton.................................\/
Atlas of North America Indians by Waldman.................................||
..........................................................................\/
2. Do you know the State or Region in which they lived?NO.................||
.....................YES...............................||.................\/
.....................||................................\/.................||
.....................\/................................||.................\/
Use maps to determine likely tribal affiliation........\/.................||
then go back to question 1.............................||.................\/
.......................................................\/.................||
......................................Use the place of residence..........\/
......................................of the nearest relative of..........||
......................................the Indian ancestor then go.........\/
......................................back to question 1..................||
..........................................................................\/
..........................................................................||
..........................................................................\/
3. Is the Tribe Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, or Seminole?<---------
......................||...........................||
......................\/...........................\/
......................NO...........................YES>------------------>||
......................||..................................................\/
......................\/..................................................||
........Search these sources:.............................................\/
US Federal Censuses for 1900, 1910 and 1920...............................||
Tribal & Reservation Censuses, Annuities, Allotments, Heirships,..........\/
Land Records, School Records, Church Records, Histories...................||
Go to your nearest LDS Family History Library Center to rent..............\/
microfilmed copies of these records.......................................||
..........................................................................\/
..........................................................................||
..........................................................................\/
4. Was your ancestor Eastern Cherokee (from AL, GA, KY, NC, SC, TN)?<------
......................||...........................||
......................\/...........................\/
......................NO...........................YES------------------->||
......................||..................................................\/
......................\/..................................................||
........Search these sources:.............................................\/
Dawes Commission Rolls....................................................||
Drennen Payment Roll of 1851..............................................\/
Old Settlers Roll of 1851.................................................||
Emmett M Starr, Old Cherokee Families(FHL fiche 6088298)..................\/
Grant Forman Collection for Oklahoma......................................||
Indian Pioneer Collection, for Oklahoma...................................\/
White River Historical Journal............................................||
Watts Collection (LDS FHL film 1320994 Item 10)...........................\/
Chickamauga Cherokee Tribal Records (LDS FHL film 1597951-1597956)........||
Moravian Church Records, Land, Newspaper, and Military records............||
Index to the records of the Moravian Mission by Fliegel...................\/
..........................................................................||
..........................................................................\/
..........................................................................||
........Search these sources:<---------------------------------------------
Guion Miller rolls
Old Settler Cherokee 1895-1896 (FHL Film 830,419 & 830,420)
Henderson Roll 1835 (FHL Film 833,322)
Eastern Cherokee Indian Reservation Rolls 1848-1970(FHL Film 847,743 #2)
Eastern Cherokee of NC (FHL Film 1,009,060 #5)
Siler Rolls
Chapman Rolls
Baker Rolls Cherokee Emigration rolls 1817-1835
Hester Rolls 1884 (FHL Film 830,445)
Mullary Roll of 1848

*************

Descriptions of some Native American Resources and Links to some of them

1817 - Cherokee Reservation Rolls - Lists those desiring a 640 acre tract of land in the East, instead of removing to the Arkansas area. When the owner died or abandoned the property it then reverted to the state.

1817-1819 Register of Cherokee - A Register of persons who wanted a Reservation. Information includes date, name of Indian (usually the Indian name), number in the family, place of current residence, and remarks. A white spouse was listed under "rights of wife". FHL Film# 982251 Item 4

1817-1835 - Emigration Rolls - List of those who filed to emigrate to Arkansas and later (after 1828) moved to Oklahoma. Information listed on each family included these columns Male 10-25, Under 50, over 50, Females 10-25, Under 50 Under 50, Slaves, and Remarks.

1831 Armstrong roll of Choctaws - Consists of names of Indians owning farms in the southern regions of the United States with description of the property. FHL Film# 1033993
Armstrong roll of Choctaws

1835 - Henderson Rolls - A Census of over 16,000 Cherokee living in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina who are to be removed to Oklahoma under the Treaty of New Echota. Contains abstracts of census which give name and number of males and females in household, number of slaves, and number of whites connected by marriage FHL Film#1728882 Item 3

1835 - Census roll of the Cherokee Indians east of the Mississippi and index to the roll, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia. Also Known As Henderson Roll FHL Film# 833322

1848 - Mullay Rolls - A Census of 1,517 Cherokee still living in North Carolina after the removal of 1838. Film # 847743 Item 2

1851 - Siler Rolls - A listing of about 1,700 Eastern Cherokees who were entitled to a per-capita payment pursuant to an act of Congress in 1850. Film# 847743 Item 2
Siler Rolls

1851 - Old Settlers Roll - List of Cherokee living in Oklahoma who lived there before the arrival of the main body of the Cherokee in 1839. Lists the name of the Old Settler, age, sex, amount paid, address, signature, date of receipt and witnesses. Film # 830445
Old Settlers Roll

1852 - Drennen Rolls - A Census of the new arrivals in Indian Territory. Eastern Cherokees who came west after 1835, sometimes referred to as the Immigrant Roll, and who in 1851 were residing in the present bounds of the State of Oklahoma. FHL Film# 830445

1852 - Chapman Rolls - A listing of Cherokees who were receiving payment based on the Siler Rolls. Film # 847749 Item 2 and 830445
Chapman Rolls

1866-1867 Delaware agency book, Kansas FHL Film#989205 Item 1

1869 - Swetland Rolls - A listing of Cherokees still remaining in North Carolina using the Mullay rolls made in 1848. Film #847743 Item 3

1881-1882 - Crow Creek Indian Reservation land allotment book FHL Film#928217 Item 6

1883 - Hester Rolls - A listing of the Eastern Cherokee Band. The roll includes the English as well as the Indian name of the Cherokee listed, the ancestors, The Chapman Roll Number, and the age. Film # 830445

1885-1906 Census for Shoshoni, Sheepeater, Bannock in the Lemhi Agency, Idaho FHL Film#576937

1885-1889 - Census for Paiute, Modoc, Snake Indians in the Klamath Agency at Klamath Oregon FHL Film#576913

1885-1940 Indian census rolls, on 720 Films See Family History Library Catalog at familysearch.org click "Search for your ancestors" and then click "Family History Library Catalog". Select the "Title Search" and enter Indian Census" to find the Film Numbers. Includes Census rolls for numerous tribes and years including: Pueblo, Navajo, Chippewa, Sioux, Paiute, Shoshoni, Washoe, Monache, Blackfeet, Piegan, Chickasaw, Apache, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Potawatomi, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coeur d'Alène, Kalispel, Kutenai, Spokan, Colville, Nez Percé, Hualapai, Chemehuevi, Mohave, Yuma, Cocopah, Digueno, Chemehuevi, Pima, Papago, Lake, Nespelem, Okanagon, Sanpoil, Columbia, Ute, Crow, Skokomish, Clallam, Chehalis, Squaxin Island, Nisqualli, Muckleshoot, Quinaielt, Queet, Georgetown, Flathead, Grosventre, Assiniboin, Arikara, Mandan, Bannock Link page to some Indian Censuses that may be online.

1886-1942 Crow Creek Indian census rolls - Includes Sioux with a list of children 5-18 at school and students who returned from non-reservation schools, a list of dead for 1930, supplemental rolls which contain additions, deductions, births (1924-1932), deaths (1924-1932) 1933-1934 and Supplemental rolls which contain additions, births, deaths, deductions, stillbirths for 1936-41 (Missing 1942) FHL Film#575779 - 575784

1892-1937 Censuses for Klamath, Modoc, Snake Indians in the Klamath Agency at Klamath, Oregon FHL Films #576913-576917

1895-1896 Index to payment roll and census roll of Old Settler Cherokee includes Index to payment rolls FHL Films # 830419-830420

1896-1898 Indian census roll, Hualapai Agency, Hackberry, Arizona FHL Film#576885

1897-1898 Delaware Indian census at Kiowa Agency, Oklahoma Territory FHL Film#576900 Item 15 & 24

1898 to 1914 - Dawes Commission Rolls - The final Rolls for allotting land and terminating the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. These rolls were later used by the Cherokee in the 1970's to certify your membership in the Cherokee Nation by proving your descendancy from one who is listed on the Dawes Rolls.
Dawes Rolls at the National Archive
FHL Films:
1898-1914 Choctaws by blood Applications for enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes FHL Film#1439798-1439970
1898-1914 Cherokee by blood Applications for enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes FHL Film#1439971-1492974
1898-1914 Seminole Applications for enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes FHL Film #1492975-1492977
1898-1914 Creek Applications for enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes FHL Film #1492977-1493009
1898-1914 Chickasaw by blood Applications for enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes FHL Film #1493009-1493043

1898-1934 Chippewa Indians in the Lac du Flambeau and La Pointe Agency, Wisconsin FHL Film#576919-576930

1899-1902 Census Chippewa Indians in Leech Lake Agency, Minnesota, FHL Film#576932-576936

1900-1934 Census Apache Indians at the Jicarilla Agency, New Mexico, FHL Film#576885-576887

1903 Census Chippewa Indians in La Pointe Agency, Wisconsin FHL Film#576928-576929

1903 - 1910 Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians homestead and allotment patents FHL Film#2107720 Items 2 - 3, 2107721 Items 1-2, 2107722 Item 3, 2107788 Items 1-2

1908 - Churchill Rolls - Lists the Cherokee Indian's English name as well as his Indian name, Relationship to head of family, sex, age, degree of Blood, his parents number on the roll, and present residence. film # 847749

1909 - Guion Miller Rolls - A Court of Claims suit against the US where members of the Eastern Cherokee including those living East and West of the Mississippi, but not including the Old Settlers, claimed they were entitled to compensation for various treaty violations. To be able to be part of the suit an Indian had to be alive on May 28, 1906 and prove they were a member of the Eastern Cherokee band, or a descendant of this group at the time of the treaty violation. 48,847 applications were filed of which 3,436 Cherokee East of Mississippi and 27,284 Cherokee West of the Mississippi were certified to be eligible for a monetary award by the Court. Applications included the claimant's English name, Indian name, residence, age, place of birth, name of spouse, name of Tribe, names of children, names of parents, grandparents, their places of birth and places of residence in 1851. they also were to furnish this information for all their Brothers and Sisters and Aunts and Uncles. 847749 Item 4 Film # 830434-830445
Guion Miller Rolls at the National Archives

1910-1911 Census for Kaibab Paiute Indians at the Kaibab Paiute Reservation, Moccansin, Arizona FHL Film#576888

1905-1911 Census for Kaw Indians Training School, Washunga, Oklahoma FHL Film#576888

1915-1929 Census for Navajo in Leupp Agency and school in Leupp, Arizona FHL Film#576938

1915-1933 Census for Menominee, Oneida, Stockbridge Indians the at Menominee Reservation, Keshenia, Wisconsin FHL Film#576890-576898

1916-1932 Census for Wisconsin Potawatomi Band of Chippewa Indians in the Lac du Flambeau Agency, Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin FHL Film#576919 - 576922

1921 Approved roll of Osage Indians in Oklahoma, FHL Film# 989199 Item 2

1924 - Baker Roll - The Final Roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina. The official base roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians compiled and approved by Fred A. Baker pursuant to an act of the 68th Congress, June 24, 1924. Before preparation of this roll, the Act required that all land, money, and other property of the Tribe be transferred to the United States for final disposition. Termination of the Tribe as a government was the ultimate goal. After termination efforts failed, the Tribe continued to use the 1924 Baker Roll as its base roll. Descendants of those persons of the original Baker Roll are enrolled on the Baker Revised Roll, providing they meet the membership requirements of the Tribe. Film # 847744-847749 Baker Roll

1924-1939 Indian census rolls, Hopi Reservation, FHL Film# 576877-576884

1931-1939 Births, deaths and marriages for Jicarilla Indian Agency, Dulce, New Mexico, FHL Film#576887 Items 4-5; 576887 Items 7-11; 576887 Items 14-23; 576887 Items 25-31

1934-1940 Census records for Tule River Indian Reservation FHL Film# 976980

Review written by Cindy Carman

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