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A Time for Sharing, 23 Mar 1998: Karen, Kate & Barb have come up with an idea to help every nation with looking for their Ancestors...starting with the 5 civilized Tribes. (Taken from an on-line message board. The source has been lost.)



Osiyo. Welcome to our first lecture that is being given in what we hope to become a way of educating us on how to go about learning more on all the Genealogy Forums on AOL. Originally Karen and I created this concept with the help of George and Chuck so that we can all exchange information within our fields of knowledge. As hosts, I know that we are too often far to busy to spend time in some of our other areas. Karen, Laurie, Kathye, Ed, Kevin and my expertise in genealogy is Native Americans. Since Native Americans cover all of North America we have decided to cover first the Five Civilized tribes. 70% of researchers in the Native American forum will be researching one or more of the Five Tribes.

Who are the Five Civilized tribes you ask? The Chickasaw, Seminole, Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw. Most of you have heard of the Trail of Tears, it was a movement to remove Indians from there lands into Indian territory so that white settlers could gain access to all thelands in the East. The Trail of Tears started about 1834 and finished with the Cherokees in 1939. The Cherokees were the last to be removed because they had won a Supreme Court decision saying that they would be able to stay on there lands that were guaranteed to them by Treaties. Yet Andrew Jackson said that the Supreme Court could enforce their ruling and remove the Cherokees anyhow. So now that you have a little bit of historic background ,if you are interested in learning more suggested reading is Trail of Tears by John Erle, The Trail of Tears by Gloria Jahoda, and The Cherokees by Grace Steele Woodward.

So you want to learn a little more about researching that Cherokee Princess. Well sorry there was no such thing as a Cherokee Princess. Gee, hate to blow myths in opening paragraph but the truth is that Princess is a European term that whites used to denominate the daughters of Chiefs. We, as researchers, find this somewhat insulting. And don't mention squaw - it is also an extreme insult. So, big hint, e-mail any of us with either of these terms we assume you do not care enough about your heritage to do any research at all and we will either correct you or delete the e-mail.

Another misconception is the full blood. As you all know, if you have Irish heritage you will go back to someone in Ireland. Therefore we, as Indians, will always go back to a full blood somewhere along the lines. So don't go "my great, great, great, great grandmother was a full blood". Okay, so I have given you our pet peeves so now, how do you finally find your family? This is the same basics all of you know. WHO, WHAT, WHEN and WHERE. This is where basic genealogy applies.


First Step: Pedigree Chart

Fill out a pedigree chart starts with you and goes back as far as you can. Even if you have no time a birth or death and estimated time will at least give you some idea. And don't forget where. This is especially important in doing Indian research.


Second Step: Family Information

Find out as much information as you can about every member of the family. Talk to parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles. Pay close attention to collateral lines. Most beginning research make the mistake of "That's not my direct line, so what do I care?" Indirect lines can give you valuable information. When it comes to Indian names they change at times due to inability to spell them so a collateral line can help you prove that this was or was not your family. Family groups tended to live close together before 1900's. You married within your area, and when families moved they tended to move together. As researchers, how many times have you looked on a census and been able to find a maiden name by looking at the neighboring families. This all applies to Indian genealogy as well.

Also keep in mind that you might have the incorrect tribe. Often, because the Cherokees were one of the largest tribes, everyone assumes that their heritage is Cherokee and they may be of some other tribe instead.


Third Step: Family Group Sheet

Fill out a family group sheet for each member on the pedigree chart.


Fourth Step: Native American Ancestry

Keep working back in time until you get to your ancestor or the year 1900. Why 1900? In 1900, the US did a census that was just for Native Americans. For the 5 tribes you will find this information after the state of Wyoming (the last state alphabetically). Cherokee Nation is on microfilms: #1241843, #1241844, #1241845, #1241846.

What the 1900 Indian Census Will Tell You:

All members of the family
English and Indian name of each person listed on the Census.
The relationship each family member has with the head-of-house.
Month, year of birth and age.
Number of marriages.
How long they have been married.
How many children she has had and how many are still alive.
Birth places, parents birth places.
Tribe, parents' tribe
What degree of white blood
Whether either spouse has plural spouses.
Whether they lived in a fixed or movable dwelling.
Whether they rented or owned the property.
Occupation or ration Indian (dependent upon federal support).
How long have they been unemployed.
Whether they can read, write or speak English.
Additional information available on Census.


Fifth step: Look on the Dawes Roll

Congress passed the Curtis Act in June, 1898 which provided that a new roll would supersede all previous rolls. Citizens of the Tribes were enrolled under the following categories:

Minors (born during the enrollment)
Freedmen (former slaves)
Delawares (adopted into the Cherokee Nation)

Some of the requirements for enrollment were:

1. The establishment of legal residence in the Nations of Oklahoma during the enrollment period of 1899-1906.

2. Applicants for final enrollment could not have died prior to 1 Sept. 1902; or, in the case of minor children, could not have been born after 4 March 1906, and could not have died prior to that date.

3. The Rolls of Freedmen (former slaves owned by the Nations prior to the Civil War) were limited to those persons and their descendants who were actual residents of one of the Nations on 11 August 1866, or who returned and established such residence on or before 11 Feb 1867.

By the final enrollment day 4 March 1907, 101,211 individuals were certified to share in the properties of the Five Civilized Tribes. The final number of individuals certified as Cherokee citizens were: Full Bloods: 6,601; Part Blood: 29,975 (included 197 Delawares); Intermarried: 286 (granted to whites married prior to 1877); Freedmen: 4,923; Total: 41,785

There is a census card which recorded the information provided by individual applicants from the same family group or household. The cards provide notation of the Dawes Committee action taken, rejected, approved, doubtful. They also give, for each applicant, name, enrollment number, age, sex, degree of Indian Blood, relationship to head of family, parent's names, references to enrollment on earlier Rolls (used by the commission for verification of eligibility). There are often references to enrollment cards of relatives, and notations about births, deaths, changes in marital status, and actions taken by the Commission and the Secretary of the Interior.

The card numbers DO NOT match the Roll numbers. There is an index to the final rolls which provides the Roll number for each person. The actual applications may contain information which is not on the Census card. You should examine both the Census Card and the Application. The Dawes enrollment cards and applications, are part of the U.S. Archives records of the Office of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. These records are housed at the National Archives - Southwest Region, Fort Worth, TX.

Copies of the enrollment cards and the applications may also be found at the National Archives - Washington, D.C. This information is also available through Mormon Church genealogical centers. Also the five tribes intermarried a lot into other tribes. Your great grandmother could have very well been part Cherokee but you might find her on the Chickasaw rolls (or one of the other five tribes). Why is this? Her father could have been Cherokee and her mother a Chickasaw, therefore she would be placed on the Chickasaw rolls. It is important to realize that Indian society was matrilineal not paternal as our European ancestors were. The other case scenario is that they were living in the Chickasaw Nation not the Cherokee Nation so they were put on the Chickasaw rolls as adopted citizens.


Sixth step: Check the 1906-08 Guion Miller Roll

In Special Agent Miller's report of May 28, 1909, he listed 45,847 applications listing approx. 90,000 individual claimants. Among these were 30,254 enrolled and eligible for a share of the funds. Most, 27,051 lived west of the Mississippi River, with another 3,203 living east of the Mississippi River. The Roll includes information on accepted members, and non-accepted members. The applications themselves contain a wealth of genealogical data even if your family was rejected on this roll.

Special Agent Miller used previous census lists and rolls of the Cherokees. These rolls included: the Hester, Chapman, and Drennen Rolls, and other materials from 1835 to 1884, but did not include Old Settler Cherokees.

These records are part of the U.S. National Archives, Record group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Other records relating to this enrollment, including the applications themselves, are in U.S. National Archives, Record Group 123. Copies of the Guion-Miller Roll and the Applications are held in the U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Major research libraries may own them.

This material is available from the Mormons, contact your local Mormon Genealogical Library or Stake. (Many book stores also carry them.)

The Guion Miller Roll "Plus" by Bob Blankenship is approx $30.00
Dawes Roll "Plus" by Bob Blankenship - approx $30.00

Contact your local bookstore for ordering; or Contact Mary O'Briens's Bookshop in Tulsa, OK. The book format is only for Cherokee. There is a CD coming out shortly that contains all of the Dawes rolls for all of the Five tribe and Freemen. Ancestory also has them up on line for a yearly fee.

You can also search by using Nail:

Points to keep in mind for researching information:

1. Always be aware that spellings of names are not always the same in historical records.

a. English/French surnames vary according to region. EX: Bryant, Briant, Brian, de Bruyant.

b. All Cherokee names are phonetic spellings of either French or British pronunciation. EX: Chota (the Cherokee capitol), French=Sautee, English=Chota, Cherokee=It-sati (Eet-saw-tee). Personal names also vary according to dialect or region.

c. The Cherokees had three dialects, and names vary accordingly. EX: YellowBird (a common name), Lower dialect=Cheesquatarone, Upper dialect=Cheesquatalone.

2. Do not assume the origin of your Cherokee blood, nor the degree of blood contained. Family tradition tells us that all our grandmothers were full blood Cherokees, yet by 1900, there were very few full blood Cherokees in existence.

a. The surname you started with may lead you to another surname. More than likely, your search will end with a significant trader.

b. Most of our ancestors intermarried during the 18th century, and on average, we possess about 1/128 to 1/256 Cherokee blood.

c. Do not assume anything, but be prepared to find conflicting information.

3. Search the regions around the Cherokee nation, and be aware of the fluctuating borders of both the Cherokees and the frontier. There were four settlement groups in the Cherokee Nation.

1. OVERHILLS- East Tennessee on the Little Tennessee River.
2. VALLEY- Lower East Tennessee, southwestern North Carolina, and north Georgia.
3. LOWER- western South Carolina, and northeastern Georgia.
4. MIDDLE- western North Carolina.

All regions around these areas are possible locations to find your ancestor. They were mobile, and moved from place to place within/without the Cherokee Nation. Check all colonial, state and local histories, frontier histories, Indian trade records.
Colonial Records to search:

Allan D. Candler, ed. THE COLONIAL RECORDS OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA, Atlanta: Charles P. Boyd Printer, 1914.

Walter Clark, ed. THE STATE RECORDS OF NORTH CAROLINA, New York: AMS Press, 1968.

Kenneth G. Davies, ed. DOCUMENTS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 1770-1783, Dublin: Irish University Press, 1976.

Wilmer L. Hall, ed. EXECUTIVE JOURNALS OF THE COUNCIL OF COLONIAL VIRGINIA, Richmond: Commonwealth of Virginia, 1945.

William P. Palmer, ed. VIRGINIA STATE PAPERS AND OTHER MANUSCRIPTS, 1652- 1781, New York: Kraus Reprint Co. 1968.

William L. Saunders, ed. THE COLONIAL RECORDS OF NORTH CAROLINA, New York: AMS Press, 1968.

Western North Carolina:
EX: John Preston Arthur, A HISTORY OF WATAUGA COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, Johnson City: The Overmountain Press, 1992.

Southwestern Virginia:
EX: Lewis Preston Summers, HISTORY OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA, Johnson City: The Overmountain Press, 1989.

North Georgia:
EX: Don L. Shadburn, UNHALLOWED INTRUSION: A HISTORY OF CHEROKEE FAMILIES IN FORSYTH COUNTY, GA. Cumming, GA.: Don Shadburn, P.O. Box 762, Cumming Ga. 30130.

East Tennessee. There are several examples of this region, which also give information on the frontiers and early Tennessee.

John Haywood, THE CIVIL AND POLITICAL HISTORY OF TENNESSEE, Knoxville: The Tenase Company, 1969.

J.G.M. Ramsey, THE ANNALS OF TENNESSEE, Knoxville: East Tenn. Hist. Soc. 1967.

Samuel Cole Williams, EARLY TRAVELS IN THE TENNESSEE COUNTRY, Johnson City: The Watauga Press, 1928.

________. WILLIAM TATHAM: WATAUGAN, Johnson City: The Watauga Press, 1947.

________. DAWN OF TENNESSEE VALLEY AND TENNESSEE HISTORY, Johnson City: The Watauga Press, 1937.

________. HISTORY OF THE LOST STATE OF FRANKLIN, Johnson City: The Overmountain Press, 1993.

________. TENNESSEE DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR, Knoxville: Univ. of Tenn. Press, 1974.


4. Do not restrict your search, but record anything you find on your surname. Your ancestor may be using an Indian name and an English/French name.

5. The Cherokee clans were based on a matrilineal system (traced thru the mother's line). In the 1750s, this system altered due to intermarriage with European Americans. While Cherokees kept traditional matrilineal oral records, mixed Cherokees often used both patrilineal and matrilineal notations. Many Cherokee traders also had two families: a Cherokee family, and another located in South Carolina or Virginia.

6. Do not quit because your ancestor disappears off the records, for there were no written records within the Cherokee Nation. You must rely on European-American records to locate your ancestor. Do not always accept everything at face value, and be totally objective. When your ancestor (surnames) can not be found on traditional records, this is usually a good sign: they can be found within the Cherokee Nation. Remember that most Upper Creek traders had Cherokee wives.

7. Ask your older relatives, and those connected to the suspected line, where they think your Cherokee ancestry came from. Anything they tell you may help, even it it appears as simple trivia. Remember that you were the chosen one to carry this lineage forward, and it is your duty. Make genealogical connections and queries to get help from others. Get your relatives with the same surname to assist.

8. Research information about your tribe. It is very important to understand what was going within the tribe at that time period as well as what was going on in the United States. Such as you have several children that died during 1838. Why, did they die during the removal? Several of your Great Uncles die about 1865. Where they old enough to fight in the Civil War? Remember the 5 tribes fought on both sides. Though mostly in the Confederacy, there were several Union regiments of Indians as well.

9. Search all abstracts, journals, and memoirs available on Cherokee families.
Read the JOURNAL OF CHEROKEE STUDIES, 16 volumes. This series can be purchased through CHEROKEE PUBLICATIONS, Cherokee, North Carolina. It contains many genealogical abstracts and articles about prominent Cherokees. As most traders chose to marry prominent Cherokees, be aware that you may be kin to any of the prominent chieftains. Be aware that one Cherokee may possess many titles or names. EX: Ostenaco can be found as Mankiller, Ootacite, Tacite, or Outacite. All four of these terms are the same word.

10. Every text that you search includes a bibliography. Make sure to search the bibliographies for sources that might help you. I suggest searching every available text.

11. There are several publishers that sell texts about the Cherokees. Attempt to purchase texts that may help you in your search.

a. CHEROKEE PUBLICATIONS, Cherokee, North Carolina.
d. OVERMOUNTAIN PRESS, Johnson City, Tennessee.
f.  Many others offer genealogical publications, yet these are examples to start with.
g. Purchase: Thomas G. Mooney, EXPLORING YOUR CHEROKEE ANCESTRY: A BASIC GENEALOGICAL     RESEARCH GUIDE, Tahlequah, OK.: Cherokee National Historical Society, 1992.


AMERICAN STATE PAPERS, Washington, D.C.: Gales and Seaton, 1832.

Bob Blankenship, CHEROKEE ROOTS, MEMBERS OF THE EASTERN BAND OF CHEROKEE INDIANS, Cherokee, N.C.: Bob Blankenship, 1978.

Bob Blankenship, CHEROKEE ROOTS: WESTERN CHEROKEE ROLLS, Cherokee, N.C.: Bob Blankenship, 1992.

James Manford Carselowey, CHEROKEE OLD TIMERS, Tulsa: Oklahoma Yesterday Publications, 1980.

________. CHEROKEE PIONEERS, Tulsa: Oklahoma Yesterday Publications, 1980.

Jerry Wright Jordan, CHEROKEE BY BLOOD: RECORDS OF THE EASTERN CHEROKEE ANCESTRY IN THE U.S. COURT OF CLAIMS, 1906-1910, Bowie, MD.: Heritage Books, Inc. 1987.


David Ramsey, THE HISTORY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, Charleston: David Longworth, 1809.

Emett Starr, OLD CHEROKEE FAMILIES: NOTES OF DR. EMMET STARR, Oklahoma City: Baker Publishing, 1988.

Emmet Starr, STARR'S HISTORY OF THE CHEROKEE INDIANS, Fayetteville: Indian Heritage Assoc. 1967.

Here is a list of all the Five tribes (They can be found on microfilm through the National Archives and Family History Centers)
Cherokee Rolls

* 1817 Reservation Roll (Those Requesting a Reservation) microfilm Group 75. A21 Cherokee Reservees by            David Keith Hampton
* 1817 Emigration Roll (1817-1835 Old Settlers) microfilm A21 Cherokee Emigration Rolls 1817-1835 by Jack            Baker
* 1835 Henderson Roll (also called the Trail of Tears roll) microfilm T496 Those Who Cried by James W Tyner
* 1835 Henderson Roll
* 1848 Mullay Roll (resided in North Carolina) microfilm 7RA6
* 1851 Drennen Roll (Emigrant Cherokees in Indian Territory) microfilm M-685, Reel 12 The Drennen Roll by            Marybelle W Chase
* 1851 Old Settlers Roll microfilm M-685, Reel 12 The Old Settlers Roll by Marybelle W Chase Old Settlers            Payment by David Keith Hampton
* 1851 Siler Roll (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm 7RA6 on line  
* 1852 Chapman Roll (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm M-685, Reel 12 on line  
* 1854 Act of Congress Roll (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm 7RA6 on line  
* 1860 Census of whites in Cherokee nation microfilm
  1860 List of White's in The Cherokee Nation on line at:
* 1867 Tompkin Roll microfilm 7RA4
* 1867 Census of Cherokees East of the Mississippi microfilm 7A29
* 1869 Sweatland Roll (resided in North Carolina ) microfilm Available through the National Archives
* 1880 Cherokee census microfilm 7RA7
* 1880 Lipe Roll microfilm 7RA33
* 1883 Cherokee Census microfilm 7RA29 Reel 1 & 2
* 1883 Cherokee Roll microfilm 7RA56
* 1883 Hester Roll (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm M685
  1884 Hester Rolls by Barbara Crumpton
* 1886 Cherokee Census microfilm 7RA58
* 1890 Cherokee Census microfilm 7RA60
* 1890 Cherokee Payment Roll (The Receipt Roll) microfilm 7RA59
* 1893 Cherokee census microfilm 7RA54
* 1894 Starrs Roll microfilm 7RA38
* 1896 Old Settlers Payment ( for Descendants of Old Settlers) microfilm 7RA34 Old Settlers Payment by            David Keith Hampton
* 1896 Cherokee census microfilm 7RA19
* 1902-1906 Dawes Rolls (see above for more information on this roll)
* 1906-1908 Guion Miller Rolls (see above for more information on this roll)
* 1908 Churchill Roll (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm Available through the National Archives
* 1924 Baker Rolls (Cherokees East of the Mississippi) microfilm A35

I would like to credit some of the research to John Berry and Yonausdi as some of this information is from their files that helped me to create this lecture.




Delaware Archives: Stuck?

Read this exchange of emails between Trish Saunders and Ned Heite, December 2002:

Trish writes:

I have a general question. I am trying to verify some information in my husband's tree and have run into the block of there being no records available.  I went to the Delaware Archives to verify birth and death records but since they are before 1913, there is very sporadic records, and nothing there on the individuals I was looking for. Any suggestions?

Additionally - the census records point to a specific family as being the next generation of ancestors in the tree, without the original records. How can I verify this?   E.g., we have my husband's great-grandfather being Charles Sanders b. 1870 in Kent Co. Delaware. I have a 1900 census that the dates match for Charles' birth and a son Elmer of the correct age and the correct wife's name. Backing up to the 1880 census I have a Charles Sanders of the correct birth year with father George (word of mouth the correct name and age) with wife Deborah - which is the name listed for the mother living with him in the 1900 census. How close can I count on this being the correct family? Additionally I found a death record for George Sanders - correct age in 1895. I think I am on the right track, but I am not sure.

I hate the lack of records in the 1800's!!!!! --- Trish

Ned replies:

Trish has landed in one of those little voids that happen quite often when dealing with the records. Unfortunately, the recorders were people.

Aside from a family Bible, there are no real vital statistics for the earlier periods. So, most of the evidence is circumstantial. It seems on the surface that you have your ancestor nailed down, but there is the lingering doubt, which is understandable. Here are some possibilities:

First, there is George's probate file. If he left any money or personal property, there will be a settlement account among the heirs. Of course the widow would be entitled to a third, and in many cases she just got everything by consensus. So you can't really depend upon a probate file of the spouse who died first, in spite of the law.

So the assessment lists will show some changes in real property, such as descent to "heirs" of a property. The reason I put quotes around "heirs" is that intestate succession was not always recorded. John Jones dies and leaves a widow and five children to divide a five-acre parcel. The widow survives for another twenty years and dies a great-grandmother. You can imagine how many "heirs" there will be to pay the taxes and settle an estate in which no share is worth the postage necessary to file the claim. Eventually the property is sold for taxes or one of the heirs simply pays the taxes and moves in. Suppose the heir who takes possession is a grandson with a different surname. It seems like a rat's nest of unanswered questions, but following the assessment past a death can sometimes tell you a lot about a family.

Tombstones are another good source, together with church records, if they survive. But one aspect of tombstones that is too frequently neglected is placement. In some cemeteries, you can find a hint to relationships just by looking at the groupings within family plots or clusters of plots. Two days ago I was working through a Sussex County cemetery where there were several groups of people with the same surnames buried together. Interestingly enough, within these clusters there were several different spellings of the same family names! Of course, you can also look for an unusual given name that runs down a family, like Greenbury.

Are we having fun yet?

Additional comment:

One of the main reasons for establishing the Mitsawokett web site was to publicize the need we have for early records, such as family Bibles, which will be found in the hands of descendant families.

If the reader knows of the existence of family records pertinent to any of our families, please let us know the details.









"The History and Genealogy of the
Native American Isolate Communities
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Surrounding Areas on the Delmarva Peninsula
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