United States Native Races Part 6 - What Tools Can Help My Search?

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This article is a part of a series entitled Indians of North America - A Beginner's Guide.

Reference Works[edit | edit source]

These reference tools can help identify residences, localities, background and historical information of American Indians, and can help you read the records.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Directories are alphabetical lists of names and addresses. These often list all the adult residents or tradesmen of a city or area. In the twentieth century there are telephone books.

The most helpful directories for genealogical research are city directories of local residents and businesses. City and county directories are similar to present-day telephone books and are useful for locating people. They were often published annually, listing heads of households and employed household members, their occupations, and addresses. These directories could help locate Indians who were integrated into the white culture during the years the directories were published. However, there are few if any directories of this type for the reservations.

In recent years Indian directories have begun to be published. They do not contain lists of individuals. Instead they list places, agencies, tribes, and businesses. Helpful directories include:

Native American Directory: Alaska, Canada, United States. San Carlos, Arizona: National Native American Co-operative, 1982. (FHL book 970.1 N213; fiche 6048680.)  This is a comprehensive directory of Native American events and organizations, reserves, businesses, media, and museums.

Native Americans Information Directory: A Guide to Organizations, Agencies, Institutions, Programs, Publications, Services and other Resources Concerning the Indigenous Peoples of the United States and Canada.Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1993. (FHL book 970.1 N213nai.) This directory contains addresses of libraries, museums, tribal communities, national organizations, and agencies dealing with American, Canadian, and Alaskan Indians.

Directories similar to those listed above can be found on Internet sites for Native Americans. The Internet also has directories to businesses that are operated by Indians or that sell Indian products.

The Family History Library has compact discs that incorporate telephone directories for most of the United States and Canada. These directories are not available at family history centers but may be used at the Family History Library. Current telephone directories can also be found on the Internet and may assist in finding living relatives.

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

A gazetteer is a list and description of places. It can be used to locate the places where your family lived. There are few guides of Indian place names which have been published on the national level. Most gazetteers are compiled on the state or county level and may include Indian place names. One representative gazetteer of the Indian Territory is:

Gannett, Henry. A Gazetteer of Indian Territory. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Oklahoma Yesterday Pub., 1980. (FHL book 970.1 E2g.) This book is arranged alphabetically and includes the names and locations of counties, towns, villages, creeks, rivers, mountains, and valleys.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Several types of maps are useful for genealogists. Some give the historical background of the area or show migration routes. Topographical maps show

physical and man-made features such as creeks, hills, trails, and roads. Some maps show additional details such as cemeteries and churches. Plat and land ownership maps and other types of maps are described in United States Maps and Canada Maps.

Some useful map sources include:

Canada. National Geographical Mapping Division. Canada Indian and Inuit Communities and Languages. Ottawa [Ontario]: Surveys and Mapping Branch, Dept. of Energy, Mines and Resources Energy, Mines and Resources, Canada, 1980. (FHL map 970.1 E7c.)

Prucha, Francis Paul. Atlas of American Indian Affairs. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. (FHL book 970.1 P95aa.) This atlas contains maps of the Indian population, land cessions, agencies, wars, military campaigns, and military troops for various years.

United Indian Federation of America. Principal Indian Tribes of North America. Canada: [Not published], 1962. (FHL map 970.1 Un3p.)

Yonteff, Abraham P. Indian Reservation Areas: And Principal Highways Leading Thereto. Washington, DC: Bureau of Indian Affairs. Branch of Industrial Development, 1961. (FHL map 970.1 E7ya.) This also gives a brief description of each area.

Waldman, Carl. Atlas of the North American Indian. New York, New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985. (FHL book 970.1 W146a.) The history contains a bibliography of sources and includes regional maps showing Indian agencies, tribes and migration routes. An index is included.

The National Archives and the Public Archives of Canada have good collections of maps dealing with Native Races. These maps are not available at the Family History Library, but there are sources detailing the maps available in these collections:

Cartographic Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Special List. National Archives and Records Service, 13. Washington, DC: NARS, 1977. (FHL book 970.1 Un3cr 1977.) This book is alphabetical by the division of the BIA, then by the name of the state, and within each state by the name of the reservation or agency.

Public Archives of Canada. National Map Collection. Maps of Indian Reserves and Settlements in the National Map Collection. Ottawa, Ontario: National Map Collection, 1980. (FHL book 971 F3c.) Volume 1 includes maps available for British Columbia. Volume 2 includes the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territories. Each volume contains a bibliography and is alphabetical within each province by the name of the Indian agency, reserve, or settlement.

Giese, Paula. “Maps: GIS Windows on Native Lands, Current Places and History.” in Native American Indian Resources [Internet site]. Not published: Paula Giese, 27 May 1997 [cited 15 September 1999]. Available at http://indy4.fdl.cc.mn.us/~isk/maps/mapmenu.html . This contains various historical and state maps dealing with Indians.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

There are a number of encyclopedias of Native American races concerning Indian cultures and tribes. They often give background information, where the tribe lived, their culture, history, origins, and religion. These are often catalogued under the topics “Dictionaries” or “Encyclopedias and dictionaries”:

Dictionary of Indian Tribes of the Americas. Four Volumes. Newport Beach, California: American Indian Publishers, Incorporated, 1980. (FHL book 970.1 D561.) This dictionary lists the tribes and includes information on their location, history, economy, warfare, politics, and ceremonies.

Encyclopedia of Indians of the Americas. Seven Volumes. St. Clair Shores, Michigan: Scholarly Press., 1974. (FHL book 970.1 En19e.) Volume 1 is indexed, and the other volumes are arranged alphabetically by subject or tribe.

Hirschfilder, Arlene. The Encyclopedia of Native American Religions. New York: Facts on File Pub., 1992. (FHL book 970.1 H616e.) This encyclopedia is arranged alphabetically by the name of the tribe or the religious ceremony term. It is indexed and includes a bibliography.

Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Two Volumes. New York, New York: Pageant Books, Incorporated, 1959. (FHL book 970.1 H662h; film 934828 items 3-4.) These volumes contain information on Indian tribes, villages, terms, and subjects and are arranged alphabetically.

Johnson, Michael. The Native Tribes of North America: A Concise Encyclopedia. New York, New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1992. (FHL book 970.1 J635n.) This book is arranged by cultural area and then alphabetically by the name of the tribe. It is indexed and includes a bibliography of sources.

Klein, Barry T. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Seventh Edition. West Nyack, New York: Todd Pub., 1995. (FHL book 970.1 R259e 1995.) This encyclopedia contains information on tribes and Indian groups, addresses of reservations, tribal councils, government agencies, schools, health services, associations, museums, libraries, colleges, and periodicals dealing with Indians in the United States and Canada. It contains biographies and includes an index and bibliography.

Swanton, John Reed. The Indian Tribes of North America. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974. (FHL book 970.1 S24i 1974.) This book is arranged alphabetically by tribe or band and details the history, location, population, and names of villages of each tribe.

Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File Pub., 1988. (FHL book 970.1 W146e.) This book has a good bibliography for further reading.

Records of the Indians of North America can be found in many languages.  Christian church records of baptism, marriage, and burials may be written in English, French, Latin, Portuguese, or Spanish. Canadian and United States government records will usually be written in English or French.

Sources for languages include:

Pilling, James Constantine. Bibliographies of the Languages of the North American Indians. Three Volumes. Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin number 1, 1887-1894. Reprint, New York, New York: AMS Press, 1973. (FHL book 970.1 P645b.) This bibliography includes the languages of Eskimos, Siouan, Iroquoian, Muskhogean, Algonquian, Athapascan, Chinookan, Salishan, and Wakashan.

See also the “Guide to Manuscripts Relating to the American Indian in the Library of the American Philosophical Society”mentioned in United States Societies and United States Periodicals.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

More information about Native American research and records can be found in:

Byers, Paula K.. Native American Genealogical Sourcebook. New York, New York:  Gale Research, 1995. (FHL book 970.1 B991n.) This is a comprehensive overview of the records for Native Americans.  It is arranged by subject matter and enumerates the sources available for any record search. Each category is written by authors who are specialists in the field of Native American research.

Dennis, Henry C.  The American Indian, 1492-1976: A Chronology and Fact Book.  Dobbs Ferry, New York, New York: Oceana Publications, 1977. (FHL book 973 F25e number 1 1977.) This book contains an index to tribes and prominent leaders. It includes lists of Indian wars, museums, and publications.

Kirkham, E. Kay, Our Native Americans and Their Records of Genealogical Value. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1980. (FHL book 970.1 K635o.) This is an extensive list of records available at the Fort Worth, Texas National Archives. It contains a listing of the records at the Archives, which include Dawes Enrollment Records, Land Allotment Records, Tribal Rolls, Census Rolls, and information on the Five Civilized Tribes Agency in Oklahoma.

Parker, Jimmy B. “Sources of American Indian Genealogy.” Genealogical Journal 6 (September 1977): 120-25. (FHL book 973 D25gj.) Describes how to find tribes and a brief summary of available record types.

Spicer, Edward H. Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533-1960. Tucson, Arizona: University of Arizona Press, 1962. (FHL book 970.1 Sp41c.) This history details the influence of the governments of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the southwest. It is unindexed.

Witcher, Curt B. and George J. Nixon. “Tracking Native American Family History.” Chapter 14 in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy.Revised Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1997. (FHL book 973 D27ts.) One of the best guidebooks about histories, individuals, Indian removals, Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, Indian census rolls, and government offices. Includes a list of tribes, their agencies, and related National Archives microfilm numbers.

The Native North American Almanac: A Reference Work on Native North Americans in the United States and Canada.Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1994. (FHL book 970.1 N213c.) This almanac contains information on the history, cultures, languages, laws, religion, education, arts, and health services of Native Americans in North America.

Glossary[edit | edit source]

Alienated Lands: Condemned and sold lands.

Annuity: (1851-1954) Payments made by government to fulfill provisions of treaties and agreements made between the Indians and the Government. Sum of goods or money payable annually (yearly) or at other intervals. A right to receive fixed, periodic payment, either for life or a term of years--payments represent a partial return of capitol and return (interest) as the capitol investment.

During the early years, payments were made to the chiefs or headmen of the tribes, who distributed the payment as they saw fit. Later, payments were made to individual family heads. Censuses were taken as a basis for identifying families entitled to the annuity payments.

Annuity Payrolls (1841-1949): As a result of some of the treaties, the United States government guaranteed certain amounts of money or goods to be paid in regular payments annually or quarterly, usually to the heads of each family.

Beef Issues: An annuity of beef.

Black Dutch: A term used by many Native-Americans, especially Melungeons in the Southern U.S. This term was used to cover native heritage during times of prejudice.

Blood Quantum: Degree of Indian blood.

Bread Money: On 3 December 1879, the Cherokee National Council authorized a payment of $16.65 for the purchase of “bread stuffs” based on a census authorized on the same day.

CDIB Card:Certified Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB). The Federal Government and its officers can issue certificates of Indian blood.

Court of Claims: When an Indian sued the Government in the U.S. Court of Claims; payment was given to the descendants who had to prove their relationship to the person.

Depredations or Spoliation Claims: (1838-1839) BIA records containing affidavits of claimants and witnesses in support of losses suffered by the Indians.

Final Roll: list the individual who received approval for allotment . Finding an ancestor on these rolls is generally considered by the BIA to be proof of Indian ancestry. These records are kept by the agency office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Five Civilized Tribes:Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole. These tribes were removed to the Indian Territory (Eastern Oklahoma) starting in 1820.

Grass Money: A per capita payment to Cherokees ($15.50) made in 1883 arising from leased lands in the Cherokee Outlet (in the Indian Territory). In 1883 a census was required for the payment.  In 1886 another “grass” payment was made with a census roll.

Indian: A Native American. Any person of Indian blood who is on the tribal rolls of an Indian agency, a member of the tribe, usually 1/4 blood.  (Definition from the Census Bureau) “A person having Indian blood to such a degree as to be recognized in his community as an Indian.”

Indian Claims: Indians received money if they had proved that they were descendants of Indians living at the time a tribe was wronged.

Indian Trust and Accounting Division (ITAD): An agency of the federal government that may request the transfer of records from one Federal Archive Record Center to another.

Individual History Card: To assist in determining relationships for allotments and Heirship for estates.

Individual Money Ledgers (IIM): Allotment ledger sheets.

Non-paper Indians: Are those who did not conform to the government ruling of being listed on all the forms that they had for keeping track of the Indians and their movements.  To find those who are not listed on such forms you will need to look in the following types of records: church records, agency records, and census records. If they are not listed on those types of records then you will need to look on the following types: allotment records, heirship records, family registers, enrollment records.  These records will contain listings of all the members of the family, such as brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and various other relatives to prove that the person receiving the allotment or enrolling has Indian blood lines.

Non-reservation Indian: An Indian living off a federal reservation.

Office of Indian Trade: Established in 1806 with capital to provide goods to Indians for manufacturing and resale of goods. This agency continued until the year 1822.

Paper Indians: Indians affiliated with a tribe and who stayed on the reservation. Those who lived under government supervision for whom records were created and kept. Those who accepted reservation, treaty, or annuities coming from the federal government.

Payrolls: A list of those entitled to pay and amounts due to each.

Pony Payments: BIA entry 559-560--Indians received money for ponies seized by the military in 1876.

Records of Employees (1833-1930):Contain names, age, sex, marital status, birthplace, and tribal affiliation. Many agencies hired Native American policeman, farmers, and those who could repair equipment to serve at the agency.  Employment records can be found at the National Archives field branches and the Indian agencies.

Scout Records: Record Group 94 for Indian Scouts who served in the regular army, 1866-1914.

Six Nations: A confederacy of Eastern North Native American Tribes. League of Iroquois: Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Seneca, Onondaga, and Tuscarora.

Spoilation Claims: (1838-1839) a BIA record of affidavits of claimants and witnesses in support of losses by spoilation or damages suffered by Indians arranged by claim number in chronological order.

Unrecognized Tribes: Tribes not recognized by the United States Federal Government.

Winter Count: A record kept by the medicine man or tribal leader designated to keep a history of the happenings of the tribe during that year.  Some of the winter counts go back to the 1780s.