Genealogy Friday: 9 Sources for Native American genealogy



Do you have Native Americans in your family history?

Searching for Native American genealogy can be very difficult.

Native Americans were looked down on and not acknowledged by the U.S. government, especially in the 18th-19th Centuries.  At one time, slaves were more valuable to the U.S. Government in documents than Native Americans.

This leads to a lack of documentation on many Native Americans.

Native American Indian Village
Native American Indian Village

Then there was the Trail of Tears and other movements to move the Native Americans west.

For those that remained in the East, they had to re-identify themselves.  In researching backwards on these lines I’ve found that they have often identified themselves on the census records as white and occasionally as mulatto.

In order to survive in society, they had to adapt and live the way white men live.

I had one ancestor in the 1830s that married a Cherokee Indian.  He practically disappeared as he lived on Indian Territory.  We have been able to find one or two resources where he staked a claim for his tribe.

So if you are researching Native Americans:

  1. Check with the tribe
  2. Don’t forget to search under the white man on census recordsfile000583972534
  3. Research the history of the tribe to discover what records may be available
  4. Research the area {county/state} where the tribe lived for records
  5. Check the U.S. Indian Census Rolls {1885-1940}
  6. Recognize the farther back into the 19th Century you go the harder records are to find
  7. Research the culture of the tribe
  8. Search Indian Treaties and Agreements
  9. Does that tribe have an annual census?

What other sources have you discovered when researching Native American genealogy?

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