Family tradition said you are descended from one of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Seminoles. The Dawes Commission was responsible for negotiating land with these tribes starting in 1893. The U.S. Government created census lists or rolls, of all registered Native Americans descending from one of the tribes. Each individual was given a roll number. Those rolls are called the Dawes Rolls and are searchable to locate new information about your ancestors.
Visit the National Archives Dawes Index page (archives.gov/research/arc/native-americans-final-rolls.html) to begin the search for a Roll Number. The Rolls are organized by tribe, so it is helpful to know with which tribe you are, or may be affiliated.
Locate the tribe on the index list. There are several lists for each tribe. The files are arranged alphabetically, so a little trial and error to locate the correct list may be required. The first list begins with A -- so if your ancestor's surname began with A, start there. Click the first tribe listing to search.
Locate the surname of your ancestor on the tribal roll. Following the surname is their given name. After that is the Dawes Roll number. Copy that number to locate further records.
- If you are unsure to which tribe you may be affiliated, search the rolls for all five by surname.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images