Let's begin with some questions you need to ask yourself:
Have you read any books on how to do
Native American genealogical
research? If your answer is no then may we suggest that you do so.
One of the things veteran Native American researchers often hear is that there
are no records to search....that they are non-existent. Nothing could be
further from the truth. Here is a link to
Cherokee Research Publications
Have you done any research on your family? Before you answer this question, let me outline what is meant:
You started with yourself, your parents and your grandparents -
you have all the vital statistics, (ie. birth, marriage, social security, death)
which are fully documented.
You have all four lines (paternal & maternal grandparents with maiden names) back to the earliest date possible, with all being well documented. The children of these couples should be known also. It is possible that oral history could be passed through one line but not another and every iota of evidence one can get often helps. Oral history is not documentation but it does sometimes help.
Have your DNA done. Reputable companies do exist.
Do your homework and learn the benefits, the disadvantages, and the proper usage
of this tool.
Why the Federal Census Records?
All census records will help you learn more about your family. You'll learn:
Where each family member was born
Where the father and mother of each person was born
How long the couple has been married
Whether it is a 1st or 2nd marriage for each spouse
How many children the mother has given birth to and how many of those children were still living at the time of the census.
You'll learn the month and year that each person was born in (1900 census).
Now, if you have completed all of the above and know as much as possible about your family back to 1900 you are ready to proceed.
The web site for the Western Band Cherokee Nation www.cherokeenationwest.com
The web site for the Eastern Band Cherokee Nation www.cherokee.org
The web site for the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians www.keetowahcherokee.com
Qualifications to become a member/citizen of any of these three federally recognized organizations should be on these official web sites for each band.
So What is a "Roll?"
A 'bare bones' explanation is that a Cherokee Roll is a 'census' record. Just like the Federal census records which have been taken every ten years since 1790. BUT, the Cherokee Rolls are only for Cherokees, while some of the later rolls do have Shawnees and Delawares listed because both tribes were associated with the Cherokee in Indian Territory.
The first "official" rolls were in 1817 and there were two of them - the Reservation Roll and the Emigration Roll.
These 'rolls' or census records are located in several
places on the internet but for the most complete records, aka original
microfilmed record images, one may have to visit local libraries or get the film
on interlibrary loan. Indices are available at several places like
course, there is always the two Volumes of Cherokee
By Blood by Bob Blankenship. These two books are a staple on the shelf of anyone who routinely research the Cherokee Indians.
Census Rolls of the Cherokee Nations
Reservation Roll 1817 - Those wishing to receive a land Reservation and wishing to remain in the east
(for more info on the Tennessee Reservationists please contact me)
EASTERN Census Rolls
Emigration Roll 1817 to 1835 ( a compilation of a miriad of emigrants, it is not complete)
Henderson Roll of 1835 - a listing of those remaining in the East
Mullay Roll 1848
Siler Roll of 1851
Congressional Roll of 1855
Chapman Roll of 1852
Swetland Roll 1869
Hester Roll 1883
Churchill Roll 1908
Guion Miller East 1909
Baker Roll 1924
WESTERN Census Rolls
Old Settlers Roll of 1855 ( these did not include those Old Settlers remaining in Arkansas)
Drennen Roll by Family surname of 1852
Combined Dawes and Guion Miller Roll 1898-1914
"RECOMMENDED READING CONCERNING THE CHEROKEE CULTURE AND ITS PEOPLE"
There are many book available for everyday reading but the best books for learning are usually the most popular and will be recommended by other readers. Always, ALWAYS remember that just because it is in print does not make it a fact. ONLY primary resources are ever considered ample documentation and it normally takes two resources to successfully prove anything.
The Brainerd (Mission) Journal by Phillips and Phillips
Moravian Springplace Mission Journals, Vols I & II by McClinton
Cherokee's and Their Chiefs by Stanley Hoig
Roadside History of Oklahoma by Fugate
The Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah, Images of America by Deborah L. Duvall
Indian Leaders of Oklahoma by Jones/Holm
Oklahoma Renegades by Ken Butler
The Houston's of Tahlequah by Sue Ann Emerson
Cherokee Footprints by Rev. Charles O. Walker
The Buffalo Ridge Cherokee by Horace Rice
The American Indian as Slaveholder and Seccessionist by Annie Heloise Abel
Voices from the Trail of Tears by Vicki Rozema
Cherokee Voices, Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East by Vicki Rozema
Cherokee, history/photos by Fitzgerald/Conley
Chief Bowles and the Texas Cherokees by Mary Whatley Clarke
History of the Cherokees by Starr
Footsteps of the Cherokees by Rozema
American Indian Research by Dorothy Mauldin
Mooney's History, Myths & Etc. by James Mooney
History of the Moravian Missions Among Southern Indian Tribes of the U.S. by Stauber/Fix Schwarze
The Dawes Commission by Kent Carter
Cherokee Removal, the Journal of Rev. D. Butrick
Cherokee Footprints, Vol. II by Charles O. Walker
Cherokee Trail Diaries Vol. I, II, III by Fletcher
Nancy Ward and Dragging Canoe by Pat Alderman
Beloved Mother Story of Nancy Ward by Charlotte Ellington
The Cherokee's and their Chiefs, by Stanley Hoig
Seuoyah, The Cherokee Genius by Stanley Hoig
Five Civilized Tribes by Grant Foreman
Genealogy of the Cherokee Starrs by Daisy Romans
The Cherokees by Grace Steele Woodward
Civil War in Indian Territory by Steve Cottrell
Cherokee Messenger , Story of Samuel A. Worcestor Missionary to the Cherokees by Althea Bass
Cherokees and Missionaries, 1789-1839 by William McLoughlin
Cherokee Cavaliers, Forty Years of Correspondence of the Ridge Watie Boudinot Family by Edward Dale & Gaston Litton
Ned Christie Biography by Roy Hamilton
Last of the Cherokee Warriors by Phillip Steele
We Ae Not Gathered Here Alone, Novel of the Creek Nation by Donna Hamilton
Will Rogers by Liz Sonneborn
The Fleetwood Chronicles by Jennifer Sparks
Cherokee Ancestry Resource Guide by Frankie Gilliam
Indian Territory Notes, Indexed by James Carselowey
My Journal, indexed by James Carselowey
Early Settlers, Indexed by James Carselowey
Cherokee Pioneers by James Carselowey
Cherokee Old Timers by James Carselowey
Cherokee Agency in Tennessee by Marybelle Chase
Where Are My Cherokees by Sandi Garrett
Only the Names Remain by Sandi Garrett
Unhallowed Intrusion, Cherokees in Georgia by Don Shadburn
Crimson and Sabres: A Confederate Record of Forsythe County Georgia by Don Shadburn
Blood Kin, The Chronicles of Upper Georgia by Don Shadburn
Pioneer History of Forsythe County, GA by Don Shadburn
The Journals of Cherokee Studies (approximately 29 copies available in print)
Villany Often Goes Unpunished, Indin Records From the North Carolina General Assembly 1675-1789 by William L. Byrd, III
The Trail of Tears by Gloria Jahoda
Now you have all of the relevent data and you've either found some family members on one of the rolls or you haven't been able to locate any of them. The next step is VERY IMPORTANT. It is laying our your RESEARCH STRATEGY. This is where you will lay out all of your known facts, what you have done as far as research is concerned, and what your NEXT STEP will be.
The next page will show you how you might put all of this together on one sheet of paper that you will be able to carry with you whenever you go to do research.
The names and data on the sheet are my particular elusive ancestor. I'm still working on this problem, so if you happen to recognize any of this family, be sure to let me know.
This Page updated created by Jerry Wright Jordan