(Originally created by Jerri Wright Jordan & updated by Joyce Gaston Reece, Special Projects Coordinator(2016).



Let's begin with some questions you need to ask yourself:

Why the Federal Census Records?

All census records will help you learn more about your family. You'll learn:

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

The web site for the Eastern Band Cherokee Nation

The web site for the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians

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  Of 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







    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.


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This Page updated created by Jerry Wright Jordan