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HMCPL Special Collections: Native American Genealogy

HMCPL Special Collections is the community's archive. We empower individuals to seek their past, explore Huntsville and Madison County, and connect with history.

Native American Genealogy

Native American genealogy is a fascinating topic, but it can be hard to know where to find records. This guide will give an overview of resources to get you started on tracing your family lineage.

Library Resources

Sampling of Books that may aid in genealogical research:

  • Native American Wills and Probate Records, 1911-1921 (H970.1 BOW)
  • Index to the 1851 Cherokee Old Settler Roll (H976.7 HIN)
  • Those Who Cried: the 16,000: a Record of Individual Cherokees listed in the U.S. Official Census of the Cherokee Nation... (H970.1 TYN)
  • The Cherokee Land Lottery: Containing a Numerical List of the Names of the Fortunate Drawers in Said Lottery…(H975.8 SMI)
  • Published Rolls indexes (see reference desk; also available online)
  • Various Native American census books (H970.3)
  • Many other works that contextualize tribal history and culture in the Southeast, treaties, U.S. federal policies, land, removal, etc.

Microfilm - Genealogical and newspaper resources (many available online), including:

  • Enrollment cards & applications
  • Census & “By Blood” materials
  • Cherokee Indian Agency Records (Tennessee)
  • Cherokee Phoenix & Indian Advocate newspaper
  • Telhlequah Cherokee Advocate newspaper

 

Maps - Can include trails, territories, land ownership, and emigration. Available in the Archives and online.

Other Places to Research

Madison County Records Center - Local government records like wills, deeds, birth/marriage/death records, and court records. These are usually more modern records, though many date back to the 1800s.


National Archives - This free website contains in-depth explanation of and extensive details regarding American Indian records. It offers resources for genealogists and educators.


Ancestry.com - The library offers patrons access to Ancestry.com library edition for free. Use your library card number and PIN to access this database on our computers or bring your device to access it over the library Wi-Fi. Records available through Ancestry include census records, family trees compiled by other users, immigration records and more. This database is not available to at home users.

BIA "Rolls"

What are "Rolls"?

Rolls refers to the Bureau of Indian Affairs Records. The BIA gathered, collected, and created numerous rolls involving American Indians to identify members of various tribes and bands, including Freedmen. Rolls were created as a result of allotments, legislation, removals, treaties, and other activities. The BIA then used the rolls to created additional documentation - often using the same rolls for multiple purposes.


This list covers just some of the rolls that exist. Many are accessible online through Ancestry.com and the National Archives. Some are accessible in print format through the library.

Note that because the purpose of rolls vary, the information contained therein also varies. BIA rolls can contain names, enrollment numbers, ages, family relations, locations, and more.

  • Baker (Eastern Cherokee)
  • Dawes (Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole)
  • Guion Miller (“Eastern Cherokee Couth of  Claims”)
  • Indian Census, 1885-1940 (connected to federally recognized tribes)
  • Kern-Clifton (Cherokee Freedmen; omissions/corrections to Wallace)
  • Roblin (Non-reservation Indians in Western Washington)
  • Wallace (Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory, c. 1890-c.1896)
  • Cherokee Emigration, 1817-1838
  • Eastern Cherokee Census
  • 1830 Armstrong (also known as Choctaw Removal Census)
  • Muster Roll concerning Indian Removal, 1832-1846 (also known as Miscellaneous Muster Rolls, Entry 301)
  • Osage Annuity Rolls
  • Grazing Payment Rolls (Yakama Indian Nation)


All of the above, as well as employment, military, and school records can be found online through the National Archives.

Have Questions?

The Special Collections Department is always available to answer questions and offer suggestions on furthering your research.  Local genealogy groups and online forums are also a great way to meet fellow researchers and learn more about the wonderful world of genealogy.