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Native American Genealogy - Blood Quantum or Indian Rolls May Help You On Your Path

April 06, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 178

Many people want to know about gaining membership to a Native American tribe because they have determined or believe they have a Native American ancestor. Some people find a name on an Indian Roll that appears to be the same name of a family member. However, just having a Native American ancestor does not provide any guarantee of membership. There are at least 29 Indian Rolls and each of them was created for a specific purpose and use, regarding specific tribe(s). There are at least 564 Federally Recognized Tribes listed in the Tribal Leaders Directory published by the Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The Five Civilized Tribes are the five Native American Nations: the 1) Cherokee, 2) Chickasaw, 3) Choctaw, 4) Creek, and 5) Seminole. These tribes were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the Colonial and early Federal periods. The Dawes Rolls contains the names of the individual tribe members of the Western Band Indians from the Five Civilized Tribes.

Each tribe has various requirements for obtaining membership and inclusion on the appropriate Indian Roll for that tribe. Some are more restricted than others. The questions to ask yourself are: Do you have Native American lineage in your family? Can you prove the lineage, and if so, are you Native American by "Blood Quantum?" Blood Quantum refers to the degree of ancestry for an individual of a specific racial or ethnic group -- for instance, 1/16 Eastern Band Cherokee. Different tribes have different Blood Quantum requirements in order to become a member of the tribe. Even a person who can prove lineage and may have the required Blood Quantum, is not necessarily guaranteed membership. Some tribes have discontinued accepting new applications. Probably the best known Indian Rolls are those of Dawes, Baker and Guion Miller.

The Dawes Rolls Index is the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes) 1889-1914. The individuals on these rolls are specific to the Western Band Indians of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. These tribes originated from the Native Americans who were removed from the East (1831-1838) -- also known as the "Trail of Tears."

The Baker Rolls 1924 was supposed to be the final roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The land was to be allotted and all tribal members were to become regular citizens of the United States. The Eastern Band of Cherokee avoided the removal that occurred between 1831 and 1838 by either hiding or taking on the guise of another race. The Baker Rolls revised is the current membership roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.

Guion Miller Rolls 1909 is the history of Cherokee Indians of all Eastern Cherokee, not old Settlers, residing either east or west of the Mississippi. The Rolls were ordered by the Court of Claims as a result of a law suit won by the Eastern Cherokee for violations of certain treaties.

The Eastern Band website provides a search engine for a first and last name. It will provide some basic information if a name appears to include the Indian Roll where the person is recorded. This site does charge for research of the lineage and to obtain applications on file.

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provides information for the Federally Recognized Tribes (1930-1970). Most records are arranged by tribe. The site provides information on how to order applications of individuals on the rolls. Search "Native Americans on the website.

The website provides explanation and information on Index Rolls and a list of tribes.

The Oklahoma Historical Society provides a search engine for individuals on the Dawes Rolls for the Five Civilized Tribes. It provides the name, age, sex, blood, census card number, tribe and enrollment.

Another site, provides information on Native American tribes. It provides a map under "tribes" and lists tribes by state indicating state or federal status.

DNA testing is not sophisticated enough to prove Native American heritage. Federally recognized tribes do not enroll members based on DNA testing. Blood Quantum, if required, is determined by generation and proven/documented lineage. The federally recognized state tribes are more likely to require Blood Quantum than the Five Civilized Tribes.

Native American tribes have been known to be a matriarchal society. The female of Native American lines would actually be the family member that continues the true bloods lines. However, as previously stated, the Blood Quantum is based on generation, regardless of gender.

The Seminole explain clans within their tribe as follows: Clans are matrilineal as they are inherited through one's mother. For example, if an individual's mother is of the Wotkvlke or Raccoon Clan, and the father is of the Hvlpvtvlke or Alligator Clan, that individual would be of the Raccoon Clan. However, this person would also be related to the Alligator Clan, as a son or daughter. In turn, all other Raccoon Clan people and Alligator Clan people would be that persons relations, and would be referred to as aunts and uncles, if the age of a fellow clansman was relative to that of the mother and father; or brother and sister, if the age of the clansman was relative to that of the child him/herself. For more information access and select culture_history.

The Eastern Band Cherokee is a federally recognized tribe. Enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is governed by Cherokee Code, Chapter 49, Enrollment, and restricts enrollment to the following:

  1. A direct lineal ancestor must appear on the 1924 Baker Rolls of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
  2. You must possess at least 1/16 degree of Eastern Cherokee blood. Please note: Blood Quantum is calculated from your ancestor listed on the 1924 Baker Rolls. No DNA/blood testing is performed or acceptable for this calculation.
  3. You must be newborn to three (3) years of age or 18 to 19 years old.

The Chickasaw, which is one of the Five Civilized Tribes, has different requirements: They provide CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood), citizenship and information to Chickasaws who are direct descendants of enrollees on the Dawes Commission Rolls. An applicant must be able to trace his/her heritage through bloodlines to an original enrollee listed on the Dawes Commission Rolls, in order to obtain a CDIB. Required forms are available at the website below.

You Need to Provide

  • State-issued birth certificate with state registrar signature and state file number
  • Death certificates
  • Copies of court orders
  • Recent color photos for persons 12 years of age or older

Other Information

The CDIB application is for applicants who want to prove their Chickasaw Indian blood. The application is a family tree chart that must be submitted with birth certificates or death certificates, and supporting documents if needed. It can be found at

Once the application is received in the CDIB office, the research begins by looking up the enrolled ancestors on the Dawes Commission Rolls, which are the base rolls for the Five Civilized Tribes.

The CDIB does not establish citizenship with the Chickasaw Nation. Once applicants receive the CDIB, they are eligible for citizenship in the Chickasaw Nation. More information can be found on the main website can help you with your genealogical search by retrieving the records and documents you need in only two weeks. Record Click specializes in small-size genealogical projects, providing you with expert help from records retrieval specialists. And since Record Click is affordable, we can save you a costly research fee that other search firms may charge. Come visit us at or email us at and let us help you with your lineage research -- our services are fast, easy, and affordable.

Source: EzineArticles
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