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Native American Genealogy Searches

Native American genealogy can be very challenging, but as with all genealogy projects, begin constructing your family tree by starting with yourself and working backwards. Talk to relatives and record their stories paying special attention to names, dates, places, and relationships.

Don't limit yourself to researching only Indian records, but also look in other records for your ancestors.

Know and understand your family's tribe and its history. Know where the tribe was during the time periods you are researching.



Native American Genealogy Search

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Custom Search of Indian Rolls and Census by Ancestor Search



Trace your Native-American genealogy through the U.S. census:

Follow your family in the U. S. census beginning with the 1940 census (the last census released to the public) and following the family backwards through the census every 10 years.

  • 1940 Census
    Native Americans are enumerated with the general population and listed as Indians under "color or race" (abbreviated IN).

  • 1930 Census
    For Native Americans, enumerated as Indians under "color or race" (abbreviated IN), the father's place of birth in column 19 instead will list whether "full blood" or "mixed blood" or sometimes the fraction of Indian blood, and the mother's place of birth in column 20 lists the name of the tribe.

  • 1920 Census
    Inhabitants of reservations were enumerated in the general population schedules. Name of reservation, if any, is noted on top of census page under "division of county".

  • 1910 Census
    The 1910 census has a section called "Special Inquiries Related to Indians" asking tribe of this Indian, tribe of his father, tribe of his mother, percent of Indian and other blood. Also asks education, land allotment, and marriage information.

  • 1900 Census
    The 1900 census includes a separate Indian Population Schedule by county. The 1900 census included the individual's Indian and English name, asking tribe of this Indian, tribe of his father, and tribe of his mother, percent of Indian blood in the individual and the parents, education, and land allotment information.1930 census added columns to indicate tribe and degree of Indian blood.

  • 1880 Census
    Lists "Indian" abbreviated as "I" as a choice in the column heading for "Color".

  • 1870 Census
    The first census to list "Indian" abbreviated as "I" as a choice in the column heading for "Color".

  • Indian Census Collection, 1885 - 1940
    Indian census rolls from 1885-1940 include name (Indian and/or English, gender, age, birth date, tribe name and reservation name. These were submitted each year by agents in charge of Indian reservations, from Ancestry.com





Fold3 Database (from the National Archives):

Trace your Native-American genealogy through digitized records from the National Archives:
  • Native American Records
    Trace your Native American heritage with these images of original records from the National Archives. Over 1.5 million images available.

  • Native American Tribes
    Native American Tribe pages on Fold3 are an easy way to preserve and share the stories and events for any tribe. These pages feature facts, photos, a time line of events, a map, and stories. Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Chippewa, Choctaw, Creek, Iroquois, Lumbee, Mohawk, Mohican, Navajo, Pueblo, Seminole, Sioux, Ute.

  • Dawes Enrollment Cards
    Enrollment cards were created by the Dawes Commission in the late 1890s to record information about family groups within the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations. The Dawes Enrollment Cards list family relationships, degree of native blood, age, tribal enrollment, and other data useful to establishing family connections and Native American ancestry.

  • Dawes Packets
    This Dawes Packets series contains the original applications for tribal enrollments under the act of June 28, 1898, as well as supporting documents such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, transcripts of testimony taken by the Commission, correspondence relating to the status of the application, and decisions and orders of the Dawes Commission

  • Eastern Cherokee Applications
    Applications submitted for shares of the money that was appropriated for the Eastern Cherokee Indians by Congress on 30 June 1906. The applications are part of the Guion Miller Enrollment Records.

  • Guion Miller Roll
    The Guion Miller Roll includes 90,000 individual applicants from throughout North America under the treaties of 1835-36 and 1845 include names of siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and great grandparents establishing family relationships vital to affirming tribal connections.

  • Indian Agency - Cherokee
    The Cherokee Indian Agency records are the records of the agent of Indian Affairs in Tennessee whose duties included preserving or restoring peace, and inducing Indians to cede their lands.

  • Indian Census Rolls
    Most Indian Census Rolls include the English and/or Indian name of the person, roll number, age or date of birth, sex, and relationship to head of family.

  • Photos of Native Americans
    Photographs taken at the 1898 Indian Congress, part of the Trans-Mississippi International Exposition. More than five hundred Native Americans from thirty-five tribes attended the conference, providing a stunning visual document of Native American life and culture at the dawn of the 20th century. These portraits are compelling in their detail and dignity.

  • Ratified Indian Treaties This series of Indian treaties and related papers is arranged chronologically by date of signing of the treaty.





Ancestry.com databases:


  • Indian Census Collection, 1885 - 1940
    An index to the Indian census rolls from 1885-1940

  • 1900 Indian Territory Census
    Choose "Indian Territory" in the drop down box.

  • Dawes Commission Index, 1896
    An index to over 14,000 records of individuals in the Five Civilized Tribes that applied for citizenship under the Act of 1896. The Five Civilized Tribes include the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chicasaw, Creek and the Seminole

  • Dawes Commission Index, 1898-1914
    Indexes the original applications for tribal enrollments under the act of June 28, 1898. It also indexes documents such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, and decisions and orders of the Commission