The Dawes Rolls, also known as the Final Rolls, are lists of more than 100,000 Native Americans who, between 1898 and 1914, proved they were members of one of the following tribes: Choctaws, Creeks, Chickasaws, Cherokees and Seminoles. Today, tribal leaders use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining tribal membership. The Dawes Rolls have been digitized in the National Archives Catalog so you can perform a roll number search online. Anyone can search the online index to discover an enrollee's name, gender, blood degree and roll number for that specific roll.
Find Your Tribe
To search the rolls, you'll need to know the enrollee's name and tribe. If you don't know the person's tribe, look for clues in the special Indian schedules in the 1900 census, or search the Indian Census Rolls by family name. The National Archives website has details. If census records do not identify your ancestor's tribe, try consulting "The Indian Tribes of North America," a book by John R. Swanton, which your local library might stock. This gives information on the tribes living in each state.
Search the Rolls Index
The Dawes Rolls have been digitized in the National Archives Catalog, so begin your search there. You'll first see a list of tribes. Scroll down until you find your tribe. Each link takes you to one page of the rolls, where the names are listed in alphabetical order. For example, there are 90 separate links to "Choctaws by Blood." The first link pulls up the names "Aaron" through "Ainsworth." The final link pulls up the names "Young" through "Zion." Use the alphabet to guide your search.
Look in Several Places
The Dawes Rolls categorize people based on the mother's race. For example, if the person you are looking for had a Chickasaw mother and a Freedman father, that person will be listed under "Chickasaw by Blood." However, if your ancestor's mother was a Freedman and her father was Chickasaw, she will be listed under "Chickasaw Freedman." Other searchable categories include "by marriage," "by intermarriage" and "newborn." Be patient, as you might have to click through various links until you find the correct page.
Discover the Roll Number
When you find the name you are looking for, make a note of the number next to it. This is the person's roll number. You can now search the Final Rolls by visiting the National Archives Catalog and entering "300321" into the search box; this is the National Archives identifier for "The Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory, 1907." Click on that document. Scroll through the pages until you find the tribe you are looking for. Find the person listed in numerical order, using the roll number you obtained from the index. This page gives more information, including the person's age in 1907, gender, blood degree and census card number.
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- National Archives: Dawes Rolls
- National Archives: 1900 Federal Population Census
- National Archives: Indian Census 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: Search the National Archives Catalog
- If you are unsure to which tribe you may be affiliated, search the rolls for all five by surname.
A former corporate real estate lawyer, Jayne Thompson writes about law, business and personal finance, drawing on 17 years’ experience in the legal sector. She holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Birmingham and a Masters in International Law from the University of East London. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts. Find her at www.whiterosecopywriting.com.