St. Clair County, Michigan
First Nations Research
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As with any genealogical research, the place to start when researching Indian ancestry is with what you know right now. Talk to family members and gather as much information as you can, including native names, places of birth and migration patterns. It's very important to view as many documents, such as letters, family bibles, civil records, church records, census rolls and photographs, as you can get your hands on. It's also important to know that many of the First Nations peoples of the USA were relocated by the US government far from their ancestral lands to remote places such as Oklahoma (Indian Territory) during the 1800s when European settlers began spreading across the land. Because of this relocation, you may have to research other places, such as Kansas and Oklahoma. Be sure to review the various rolls that were created. In Michigan, a primary source is the Durant roll, a census of Indians from 1870 and their known descendents living on March 4, 1907.
- Federally recognized tribes ~ It is important to note that this is only a list of tribes currently recognized by the US government. There are many additional tribes throughout the USA who have not attained Federal recognition. Some of these are currently working through the long, arduous process of gaining recognition, while others may not be. Through the years, many tribes were relocated from their aboriginal lands by the United States Government. Through relocation, many of the tribes then existing were merged with other tribes, sometimes resulting in a loss of their historical identity, while other tribes totally ceased to exist (notably in Pennsylvania, which has no Federally recognized tribes today). For these reasons it will be very important to research historical documents of an area once you learn of your subject's location in history. Just one example of tribal movement is that of the Shawnee of the Ohio River Valley. Read a brief history here. Another is the relocation of the "Five Civilized Tribes" from the south-eastern United States to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Read more about these peoples here.
- NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) ~ Native American Records
- Access Genealogy ~ This is an excellent web site. It contains a wealth of information on researching Indian ancestry, as well as many other resources.
- Michigan's Tribes of Today
- Federally NON-recognized tribes ~ I do not and cannot vouch for the accuracy of this information.
- Rootsweb - Native American Data
- Online Native American Indian Genealogy Records & Databases
- Native Genealogy ~ People of the Three Fires
- Cyndi's List ~ Native American
This is just a starting place; there are countless web sites with a wealth of information out there. I will add additional resources and information as I gather it and as time permits. In the meantime, if you have personal genealogical information or other materials regarding Native Nations genealogy and history for the St. Clair County area, and would like to share it with others, please email me.
This page was last updated Saturday, January 25, 2014