Proving that you have Native American ancestors requires research and documentation. Numerous records kept by the federal government and various bureaus and agencies will aid in your research. The government didn’t always document Native Americans and records before the Indian Removal Act of the 1830s might prove difficult to find. Fortunately, knowing where to look for information will help you confirm your Native American descent.
Create a family tree chart. Enter all of the information you know about your ancestors. Include given names, surnames, nicknames, dates, location and relationships.
Ask family members for any information on your genealogy. Request copies of birth and death records and tribal membership cards from relatives. Ask for other information, such as family pictures, books, newspaper clippings, deeds and obituaries that will help you find your ancestors.
Locate tribes in the areas your ancestors lived. Knowing which tribe you might descend from will narrow what documents to research. Contact the tribes and ask if they keep surname lists or aid in genealogy research.
Contact state and local governments for copies of birth and death records. Use the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for contact information for each state. Sometimes local churches and schools will also have records to aid in your research.
Check Indian census rolls, land allotments and other Native American documents, such as the Dawes Rolls, for your ancestors. Access the documents through the National Archives website and regional branches. Regular census documents may also help, but census recorders did not always label Native Americans correctly.
Apply for a Certified Degree of Indian Blood, or CDIB, through the BIA. Fill out the application and make copies of all the forms of proof required.
Items you will need
- Birth certificates
- Death records
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