Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Native American Research

This site is for United States Native American research or American Indian research.  For Canadian Native American research click here.

There is some debate as to whether it should be called Native American research or American Indian research.  In the official United States documents, both the terms Native American and American Indian are used in the titles of the documents.  This site will use both terms to mean research that is used to find ancestors for the race of peoples whose origins were here in the United States before the races of people whose origins were not on the American Continent.

Native Americans

In Native American Research, or American Indian Research, it is important to know that five tribes were considered as "civilized tribes" by the United States government. The following is a quote from wikipedia about the five civilized tribes:
The Five Civilized Tribes were the five Native American nations: the Cherokee,
Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole, which were considered civilized by
white settlers during that time period because they adopted many of the
colonists' customs and had generally good relations with their neighbors. The
process of cultural transformation was proposed by George Washington and Henry
Knox; the Cherokee and Choctaw were successful at integrating European-American
culture. The Five Civilized Tribes lived in the Southeastern United States
before their relocation to other parts of the country, especially the future
state of Oklahoma.
There are two important tools that you should use if you are researching Native Americans. The tools are known as the Dawes Rolls and the Guion Miller Rolls.

DAWES ROLLS - 1899-1906 - Five Tribes

The Dawes Rolls are very important for Native American Research for anyone who has native american ancestors who were from the five civilized tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole).  The Dawes Rolls were and still are used to determine if people were native american or not.

The following is a description of the Dawes Rolls from the following website:

The Dawes Rolls, also known as the "Final Rolls", are the lists of individuals who were accepted as eligible for tribal membership in the "Five Civilized Tribes": Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles.

The Rolls contain more than 101,000 names from 1898-1914 (primarily from 1899-1906). They can be searched to discover the enrollee's name, sex, blood degree, and census card number.
The census card may provide additional genealogical
information, and may also contain references to earlier rolls, such as the 1880 Cherokee census. A census card was generally accompanied by an "application jacket". The jackets then sometimes contain valuable supporting documentation,
such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, and correspondence.

Today these five tribes continue to use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining tribal membership. They usually require applicants to provide proof of descent from a person who is listed on these rolls.
The following site will give you a step-by-step example of what you can find using the Dawes Rolls at the Family History Library. In this example, the name of the person is George Guess and he is from the Cherokee tribe.

To go to this site, click on Dawes Roll.

GUION MILLER ROLLS - 1906 - 1909 - Cherokee Only

The Guion Miller Rolls are an important research tool for someone that has Cherokee native american ancestors, but NOT for the other four civilized tribes (Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole).  The Guion Miller Rolls are NOT used to determine if a person is of Native American descent.  Only the Dawes Rolls are used to determine if a person is of Native American descent.

However, the Guion Miller Rolls are an excellent source for family history and genealogy for Cherokee Indians. 

The following is a description of the Guion Miller Rolls from the following website:

The 1906/09 "Roll of the Eastern Cherokees" is better known as "The Guion Miller Roll". It was created as a result of a successful lawsuit filed by three groups of Cherokees who had not been paid all of the money due them as a result of the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. This is the ILLEGAL "treaty" that resulted in the forcible removal from their homes of those Cherokees who refused to give up their tribal citizenship, and the infamous "Trail of Tears" in 1838/39. Thousands were first herded into "pens" and for weeks/months were given food that was not fit for human consumption, contaminated drinking water, and most were forced to sleep in the open. This was done in order to "break their spirit" so they would agree to go to the western wilderness lands of Indian Territory! It worked-- by the time they were to be transported, they would have agreed to go ANYWHERE in order to get out of the pens!

The Guion Miller Roll is the most important source of Cherokee genealogical research of any of the rolls, because the application required extensive information to be supplied by the applicant. Between 27 Aug 1906 and 18 May 1909 there were 45,940 applications filed from the United States, Canada, Mexico and-- Syria! It listed an estimated 90,000 individual applicants. Each qualifying applicant received a warrant worth $133.33 for their share of the one-time payment due to them. In order for an application to be accepted on this roll, the applicant had to prove descent from a person who was shown on the 1835 roll of Eastern Cherokees (also known as The Henderson Roll), which listed the citizenship of the tribe at that time. In order for them to have been listed on that roll as "citizens", they had to have lived in the Eastern Cherokee Nation.

Finding and even verifying an ancestor who was accepted on this roll will N-O-T qualify you for tribal membership in the Cherokee Tribe today, only the 1902 Dawes Roll will do that (see "Requirements for Enrolling"- clickable from the main page). What it WILL do is give you at least two generations of information back from the applicant.
The following site will give you a step-by-step example of what you can find using the Guion Miller Rolls at the Family History Library. We will use an example that we used in Dawes Rolls.  In this example, the name of the person is George Guess and he is from the Cherokee tribe.  Not only did George Guess make an application in the Dawes Rolls, but he made an application, 10 years later in the Guion Miller Rolls.

To go to this site, click on Guion Miller Roll.


The Iroquois Nation was a confederation of six Native American Tribes:



There are over 5000 tribes in the United States.  Of those tribes there are over 500 tribes that are officially recognized by the United States government.  To get a list of the tribes that are officially reconized by the United States government, go here.


The 1900 US Census is a special census for American Indian research.  On the search page under the heading RESIDENCE, there is a drop down menu for the States.  When you click on that drop down menu, you will see one of the States listed as Indian Territory.

For a step-by-step example of how to find Indians in the 1900 US Census, click here.

COLLECTIONS - All tribes

There is a large 86 volume collection called The Chronicles of Oklahoma, by the Oklahoma Historical Society, that has information on all tribes.  In the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, the set is located on the 3rd floor under the following call number:

976.6 B2c

There are three indexes for this set:

Index Volume 1 is for volumes 1-37 of the Chronicles
Index Volume 2 is for volumes 38-57 of the Chronicles
Index Volume 3 is for volumes 58-77 of the Chronicles

The 3 indexes are general indexes and you can look up individual names, tribal names, place names, etc.


If you know the State in the United States where your Native American ancestors lived, go to the following web site:


At this site you will see the following map:

Map of the United States

At the internet site above, the map is a clickable map.  As an example, suppose you know your Native American ancestors lived in Florida. If you click on Florida, you will get the following map:

This shows you the tribes that live in Florida.


If you know the name of the tribe you are researching, there is a great internet site that may help.  It references a tremendous research tool called "The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico" by Frederick Webb Hodge.  The internet site is:


Below is a quotation from the web site about the book

Tribal information extracted from the following manuscripts:

The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico was compiled by some of the best and well known Indian researchers of that time. Many of which wrote only about specific tribes. The work began in 1873 and was submitted to the Bureau of Ethnology for publication in 1905. There are approximately 2,500 tribes listed in the book.
As an example, if you are interested in Mohawks, Click on "Indian Tribal Histories Macapiras to Munsee" and you will get the following:

Click on the word Hodge and this will give you about five pages of information on the Mohawk tribe.

Indian Tribal Histories:

Black Dutch
Jackson Whites
Niantic (Eastern)
Niantic (Western)
Osage Native Americans
Otoe Native Americans
Paiute Native Americans
Pala Native Americans

Utes -
       Original 7 clans
            1. The Mouche
            2. The Capote
            3. the Weeminuche
            4. the Tabaguache
            5. The Grand River or Parianuche
            6. The Yampa or White River and
            7. the Uintah.
       Now there are the following:
            The Northern Utes in the Uintah-Ouray Reservation (representing the Tabeguache, The Grand
                 River, The Yampa and the Uintah Clans).
            The Southern Utes Reservation (representing the Mouche and Capote Clans).

            The Ute Mountain Utes (representing the Weeminuche Clan).

Wyandot or Wyandotte - Migration: Canada, Michigan, Upper Sandusky Ohio. In 1840
                                       moved to Kansas. By 1900's moved to extreme Northeastern
                                       Oklahoma along side the Seneca Tribe.


Black Hawk - Sauk
aka: Makataimeshekiakiak
Born: spring 1767, in Saukenuk, Illinois 
Was a war chief
Disputed the treaty of 1804
Fought with the British in the Revolution
Black Hawk War
Died: October 3, 1838

Chief Joseph – Nez Perce
Born: March 3, 1840, in Wallowa Valley, Oregon
Born as: Hinmuuttu-yalatlat
             or Hinmaton-Yalaktit
Became Chief in 1871
Led his tribe towards Canada
Was chased by General Howard
Surrendered in 1877.
Died: September 21, 1904

Cochise – Apache
aka: Cheis
Born: about 1805
Battle of Apache Pass in 1861
Died: June 8, 1874, in Arizona.

Cornstalk - Shawnee
Born: 1720 in Mason County, Virginia (now West Virginia)
Battle of Point Pleasant, 10 October 1774
Died: 1774, Point Pleasant, Virginia

Crazy Horse – Sioux
aka: Cha-O-Ha and Curly
Born: 1840 near the South Cheyenne River
Died: 5 September 1877

Joseph Brant - Mohawk
Born: 1743 in Ohio
Sided with the British in the Revolution
Wyoming Valley Massacre
Cherry Valley Massacre
Died: 24 November 1807 in Ontario, Canada
Geronimo – Apache
aka: Goyaałé, Goyathlay, and Goyahkla
Born: June 16, 1829
He was very fierce.
Died: February 17, 1909, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Ignacio - Ute
born: 1826, San Juan, Colorado
youth: Revenge
1870s: Skilled negotiator
1886: Gave testimony in the Senate
Died: 9 December 1913, Montezuma, Colorado

Keokuk - Sac or Sauk
Born: 1767
Treaty: 1804 - Ceded all lans east of the Mississippi to the US
Lead to the Black Hawk War
Final treaty - Ceded 6 million acres in Iowa to the US
Died: 1848 in Kansas

Osceola – Seminole
aka: Billy Powell
Born: 1832
Treaty of Payne's Landing
Council at Fort Gibson
Osceola stabs the treaty
Fort Payton: Captured
Died: January 20, 1838

Ouray - Ute
Born: Nov. 13, 1833
1859: Married Chipeta
1868: Treaty with Kit Carson
1873: BrunotTreaty
Died: August 24, 1880

Quanna Parker – Comanche
Born: between 1850 and 1852 in West Texas
Mother: Cynthia Ann Parker
Father: Peter Nocona
Formed the Quahadi Band
Battle of Palo Duro Canyon
Settled in Oklahoma
Became a very wealthy businessman
Died: February 23, 1911
Red Cloud – Sioux
aka: Maȟpíya Lúta
Born: 1822, Nebraska
Red Cloud's War - 1866-1868
Died: 10 Dec 1909, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

Red Fox - Sioux
aka: Tokalu Luta
Born: 11 June 1870 in Thunder Butte, South Dakota
Battle of Little Big Horn
Buffalo Bill Stage Shows
Over 100 Movies
Died: March 1, 1976, in Corpus Christi, Texas
(almost 106 years old)

Running Bull - Yankton Sioux
aka - TaTankakinyanke
Born: 1825 in South Dakota
Son of Struck By The Ree
Wife: Medicine Woman

Sitting Bull – Sioux
Born: 1837 near the Grand River in South Dakota
aka: Tatanka Iyotaka and Slon-He
Chier Red Cloud's War
The Battle of Little Big Horn
Wild West Show
Died: December 15, 1890, in South Dakota

Struck By The Ree - Yankton Sioux
Born: 1804 in South Dakota
Protected Whites from Indians
Fahter of Running Bull
Died: 1888 in South Dakota

Tecumseh – Shawnee Chief
born: March, 1768
also known as (aka) Tecumtha or Tekamthi
Brother: Tenskwatawa aka the prophet
United Native American tribes into one
Died: October 5, 1813 in the Battle of the Thames

Walker - Ute
Birth: 1808
Youth: Learned Spanish and English
1850: Becomes a Mormon
1853: Walker War
Death: 28 January 1855

White Cloud - Iowa Chief
a.k.a Masakah and Mahaskah
His father, Mauhawgaw, was killed by the Sioux
White Cloud avenged his father's death
Fought 18 battles with other tribes
Married 10 women
Killed in 1834 by a fellow tribesman.

Mona Darkfeather - Blackfoot
aka: Josephine M. Workman
Born: January 13, 1883, in in Boyle Heights, California
Actress: Appeared in 102 silent movies
Died: September 3, 1977, Los Angeles, California

Nancy Ward - Cherokee
Born: 1738
aka: Nanye-hi
Wolf Clan
Married: Kingfisher
Battle of Taliwa 1755
Title: Ghigua
Pocahontas - Powhatan
Born about 1595, near Jamestown, Virginia
Met English Colonist John Smith
Married Englishman John Rolfe
Son - Thomas Rolfe
Was baptized and given name of Rebecca
Visited England with John Rolfe
Died and buried in 1617, in England.
Sacajawea - Shoshone
Born: 1788, near Salmon, Lemhi, Idaho
Kidnapped by the Hidatsa Tribe
Accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition
Died: December 20, 1812


This is a summary of the Native American Research internet site. The major information repository for this site will be the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. The goal of this site is to find information about Native Americans families in several ways:

For Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes (Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Creek), a section of the site will show what the Dawes Rolls are and how they can help find Native Americans in those tribes.

For Cherokee Native Americans, a section of the site shows what the Guion Miller Rolls are and how they can help find Cherokees.

There is a section on an 82 Volume set called the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

There is a section to help find information about a tribe.

There is a section to help find information on Native American Chiefs.

There is a section to help find information on Famous Native Americans.

Other sites to help find information on Native Americah Chiefs click on the name of the following Native American Chiefs:

Black Hawk, Chief Joseph, Cochise, Cornstalk, Crazy Horse, Geronimo, IgnacioJoseph Brant, Keokuk, Osceola, OurayQuanah Parker, Red Cloud, Red Fox, Sitting Bull, Tecumseh, Walker and White Cloud.

Click on the name of the following Famous Native Americans:

Mona Darkfeather, Nancy Ward, Pocahontas, Sacajawea.