One of the "five civilized tribes," the Choctaw nation can trace its heritage back to modern-date Mississippi. Members of the tribe were compulsorily registered by the Dawes Commission at the turn of the 20th century. Anyone who is interested in discovering whether they have Native American ancestry, and those wishing to apply for a Certificate of Indian Blood, can search the Dawes Rolls to prove their tribal ancestry. The National Archives holds the Dawes Rolls, which are searchable online.
Identify the approximate age of your ancestor during the time period 1898 to 1906. This was the enrollment period for the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory. Choctaws listed on those rolls must have been living in the Indian Territory during that time period and registered.
Log on to the index to the Dawes Rolls. The page is titled “Digitized Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes)." You must have the tribe and the person's name. In this case, you are looking for records on the Choctaw tribe.
Scroll down to the Choctaw entries and select your category. For example, you might search the "Choctaw By Blood" category if you know that your ancestor had a Choctaw mother. Or, you might search "Minor Choctaws" if the person was a child at the time the Dawes Rolls were compiled. The pages are listed in alphabetical order by surname. If you are searching for a Choctaw by the name of Evelina Amos, for example, search through the entries of surnames beginning with "A" to locate Amos, Evelina. You might have to search several pages to find your ancestor. The roll number will be listed next to her name.
Log on to the Final Roll listing by entering the identifier "300321" into the National Archives catalog. Click the link "The Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory." Scroll through until you locate the entries related to Choctaws, then scroll through these pages until you locate your ancestor. She will be listed numerically by Roll Number.
View the final listing which states the individual's name, age, sex, blood – for example, full blood or some variation of Choctaw – and census card number. Visit the National Archives website to learn how you can use this information to discover more about your ancestor.
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- National Archives: Dawes Rolls
- National Archives: Use the Index to the Final Rolls Online
- National Archives: Digitized Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes)
- National Archives: Look up the Person in the Final Rolls Online
- National Archives Catalog
Jennifer Holik, a professional genealogist, has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes for Chicago-area genealogy society publications. Holik has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the Missouri University of Science and Technology.