Starting Native American Research
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|Bureau of Indian Affairs|
|Other Beginners' Guides
This is one of four pages of American Indian beginners' guides:
Native American research and Indian genealogy is unique when compared to other types of genealogical research. Most of the records available for researching Native American ancestry or Indian ancestry and genealogy are derived from records of the U.S. Government.
Catalog searches. An abundance of resources are available by going to the FamilySearch Catalog and putting in the name of the tribe you are researching in a Keyword search. If you know where your Native American ancestors lived, you can also put in the place name under Place and see what vital records are available in the particular area. There is information contained within most states guides for Native American records.
Google searches. A Google search can be conducted for [“specific tribe” genealogy] where specific tribe is replaced by the tribe name [e.g. Ute]. This may also identify some specific records that can be searched.
BIA Agency records. Today, most of the North American Indian Tribes and Native Americans have organized Indian Agencies for the purpose of administering the claims and subsequent court rulings in favor of the American Indians.
Five Civilized Tribes. Following is a list of the major rolls, which contain genealogical information, such as roll numbers, names, relationships, etc. Most of the listed rolls are included in the book Cherokee Roots by Bob Blankenship (970.3 C424bL volumes 1-2).
National Archives. The National Archives publishes a catalog of all its holdings relating to Indian records, which can be searched for the specific records you will need to research your particular tribe. It is a good place to start. Most libraries have this catalog, or a copy can be ordered from any branch of the National Archives. Records are listed by nation (tribe), so it's a good idea to first find out which nation your ancestor may have been a member of. Look at the nations that were living in the area where your ancestor was born at that time.
Oklahoma Historical Society. Another terrific source for researching the Five Civilized Tribes is the Oklahoma Historical Society, 2100 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4997. This Society is committed to preserving Oklahoma's history and maintains a large library of documents, manuscripts, etc. They also publish a catalog of their holdings, which can be ordered by contacting them at the above address.
Additional sources include the 1932 Hopi and Navajo Census (book 970.1 B675h volumes 1-2), New York Iroquois Indian Censuses (CD-ROM 2927 volumes 1-3), Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations (film number 1,670,887), and African-Cherokee Connections (CD-ROM 2928).
The following resources are also available in the Family History Library:
- Georgia. By W. H. Wolfe (film 1,698,069 Item 5)
- The Cherokees. By Russell Thornton (Book 970.3 C424tr)
- Abstract of Cherokee Claims. (Book 970.3 C424ac)
The Cherokee Heritage Center, P.O. Box 515, Tahlequah, OK 74465-0515, is the Headquarters for the Cherokee Nation and can be reached by telephone at 918-456-6007 or via their E-mail at info@CherokeeHeritage.org. Their website is www.CherokeeHeritage.org.
An additional Internet link is http://www.ancestralfindings.com/americanindian.htm.
Online Native American Indian Genealogy Records & Databases Including Links to Dawes Commission Records & Indexes for Individual Tribes