11 Places to Search for Native American Ancestors
It's a struggle to know where to start when trying to find Native American ancestors. Here are 10 places to begin your search.
1880 U.S. Census
In 1880, enumerator instructions directed census takers to include Native Americans who were “not in tribal relations” and living among white residents on the general population schedules. They were not to record “Indians not taxed”—that is, Native Americans who were nomadic or lived on government Indian reservations. These individuals were enumerated in a separate census that year. This database contains images of 1880 census schedules.
The census can be found for free at Ancestry.com. Not all services mentioned here on Ancestry.com are free—some may require a subscription to the site. Check your local library to see if they have one for patrons to utilize.
Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940
In 1884, the U.S. Congress authorized an Indian census be taken annually. In 1885, many of the tribes started taking it and continued to do so until 1940. Not all tribes complied. These rolls record the name of the Indian and other information, as well as deaths in previous years—giving date of death. Indian censuses are important because these contain both the Indian and given name of an individual. The later rolls contain more pertinent genealogical data.
Also available online free, but not indexed, most of the rolls done after 1900 are in alphabetical order and were typewritten, making searches easier. Visit AccessGenealogy.com to find them.
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