There are 574 federally recognized tribes (as of Nov, 2020) in the U.S. 229 of these tribes are in Alaska, the rest are in 33 states. There are over 175 languages spoken, only 20 are widely known.

When researching Native American ancestors, it is important to learn the history of the Indian tribe

It is also important to look for family groups. A lot of people had the same name. Often you won’t be able to tell if that was your ancestor unless you can connect him with another member of the family

1900 and 1910 census included separate Indian schedules

The Dawes Commission Rolls lists members of the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole) between 1898 and 1914

  • The Dawes Commission rejected 2/3rds of the applications for tribal membership
  • Earlier 1896 applications have been declared invalid – NARA’s Fort Worth regional facility has microfilm indexes for those rejected as Cherokee or Choctaw

Note: For autosomal DNA tests, it is unlikely that American Indian roots will show up if your Indian ancestors is farther than five or so generations

Tribal Information



  • Original homelands were in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana; and moved to the SE area originally from Mexico
  • The Choctaw are matriarchal
  • Key Records include: Dawes Rolls, Indian Census Rolls




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