Find your native american family history
The Cherokee were one of the so-called Civilized Tribes, each of which kept black slaves. The others were the Creek, the Choctaw, the Chickasaw and the Seminole. Each of these tribes and their slaves were victims of the dreaded Trail of Tears in the s. Why all the fuss? The same reasons that individuals may seek tribal membership, such as access to health services or education, are often the motivation for tribes to establish strict requirements for membership. This is why DNA is a controversial issue and may or may not be accepted by a tribal nation as proof of lineage.
Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Genealogical Research for Native Americans
If your DNA results prove that you have Native American ancestors, you can then begin your search for documentation of those connections. A good place to orientate yourself to the process is the U. This overview explains the general process of documenting Native American lineage and suggests where to look for the documentation you will need.
In almost all cases, you will need to provide a well-documented lineage of your direct connection to a known and accepted tribal ancestor for the nation from which you descend. The next step would be to determine an association to a specific tribal nation, since each has its own application process and requirements.
You will need to contact the tribe directly so that it can inform you of what you will need to prove your connection in order to enroll as a tribal member. The Bureau of Indian Affairs maintains a directory of tribal leaders pdf and their contact information, which will give you a place to start communication with the tribe about its enrollment process. Requirements vary by nation, but in most cases you will have to provide vital records demonstrating your lineage to an individual who appears on an Indian census in and or on the Indian Rolls, such as the Dawes Rolls or Guion Miller Roll.
The Dawes Rolls are held by the National Archives, and FamilySearch has a great resource that explains how the records are arranged and how to access them. FamilySearch also has a helpful guide on the Guion Miller Roll. In the U. The question is — are these stories true? Some people want to prove their native ancestry in order to gain admittance to a tribe or to earn tribal benefits.
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Others simply want to verify family stories or learn more about their history. Finding evidence to prove Native American heritage can be difficult. Most families are unable to pinpoint a specific individual who was their presumed Indian ancestor.
American Indian Article Categories
Other family stories name a Native American ancestor but there is no documentation to prove the claims. With over tribes legally recognized by the U. Bureau of Indian Affairs, there are more tribes from which your family could descend than most people realize. Many of the records from the past years relevant to Native American ancestry were created by the American government in response to tribal efforts to regain lost lands or receive compensation for violated treaties.
In order to determine who was to be paid and how much land or money was to be given to each person, government agents drew up long and sometimes detailed lists proving the relationship of the various individuals to the tribe. The most famous of these are the Dawes Rolls dealing with land distributions in what became known as the State of Oklahoma. These rolls listed over , individuals who could prove their Cherokee , Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, or Seminole heritage, including freedmen who had been emancipated after the Civil War.
Discover Your Native American Genealogy
The tribal affiliation, family members, and degree of Indian blood full, half, quarter, etc. Other less famous rolls and lists exist for tribes from across the country. There is also an extensive collection of Indian Census Rolls, which enumerated those individuals living on reservations from through These provided similar information — such as tribal affiliation and degree of Indian blood — as found on the Dawes Rolls.
Complete the form above to request a free estimate and we will contact you to discuss your research goals. Hand-picked, tested and trained, our genealogist team knows how to find your story.
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Search these online databases by an individual's name, tribe , location, agency and reservation. Remember that your American Indian ancestors are also represented in all the usual records made about the general populace: census, cemeteries, obituaries, military, and so on. This chart shows records that specialize in just American Indians, but you should also search all the online records for the states in which they lived. To request editing rights on the Wiki, click here. From FamilySearch Wiki.
United States. American Indians. Online Databases. Tribes of the U.
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