Cherokee Research Available
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      Dear Researcher:
Unfortunately, there is not a simple way to check for Cherokee ancestry.   There have been approximately forty different Cherokee rolls taken in various areas of the country, and at various times, since 1817.   There is no single source for us to search for all Cherokee names.   Some of these forty rolls are not even indexed.
       "Genealogists must always keep in mind that the [ Indian ] agent was only keeping track of people who were recognized as tribal members (either by the federal government or the tribal government) and who resided with the bulk of the tribe (either on a reservation or within the recognized boundaries of the tribal domain).   For the most part, the agent did not maintain records on Indians who moved away and, in effect, ended their affiliation with the tribe..."
          from Kent Carter, "Wantabees & Outalucks: Searching for Indian Ancestors in Federal
                  Records," CHRONICLES OF OKLAHOMA, Spring 1988, p. 94-104.
The CONSTITUTION OF THE CHEROKEE NATION OF 1839 [ reunited Eastern and Western Cherokees living in Cherokee Naion of Indian Territory ] stated in ARTICLE 1:
" ... whenever any citizen shall remove with his effects out of the limits of this [ Cherokee ] Nation, and become a citizen of any other Government [ U.S. or other ], all his rights and privileges as a citizen of this Nation shall cease ... "
[ The National Council did retain the power to re-admit members if they returned to Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory - now northeastern Oklahoma. ]
Primary Rolls
        Dawes Roll
One of the two major Cherokee rolls was the Dawes Roll (Final Roll of the Five Civilized Tribes) of 1899-1906.   It was a citizenship roll used for distribution of land for which all Cherokees were not eligible.   Applicants were required to be living within the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory (now northeastern Oklahoma).   Cherokees living in other areas were not accepted.   It also required that the applicants had to have direct ancestors on either the 1880 or 1896 Cherokee roll taken in Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory.
Applications filed for the Dawes roll of 1899-1906 may be found at:
Oklahoma Historical Society, Research Archives
   2100 N. Lincoln Blvd.
   Oklahoma City, OK 73105 
or Muskogee Public Library
   801 W. Okmulgee
   Muskogee, OK
     (918) 682-6657 
        Eastern Cherokee Roll
The second major Cherokee roll was the 1906 Eastern Cherokee Roll, also known as the Miller Roll of 1906.   Appearance on this roll depended upon being directly descended from people on three Cherokee rolls of 1851.   There was no restriction as to where the 1906 applicant was living.   This was the only Cherokee roll which allowed Cherokees to enroll who were living in areas other than Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory; and specific sections of Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and a small corner of South Carolina.
      [ Other Cherokee rolls required residency in one of these areas. ]
The applications for the 1906 Eastern Cherokee Roll, can also be found at the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Muskogee Public Library.   Addressess found above.
      Unfortunately, we are not sufficiently staffed to conduct this research.
        Federal Census
One may also wish to check for ancestors on the 1900 Indian Territory Federal Census and the 1910 Oklahoma Federal Census.   These schedules asked people claiming to be Indian specifically what was the tribe of the person, and the tribe of his father and/or his mother.   It also listed a blood quantum.
      Again; unfortunately, we are not sufficiently staffed to conduct this research.
The federal census materials can be found/loaned through many public libraries.   The Researcher may check with one nearest his/her location.
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Our Society's Holdings
We hold microfilm of the one-page Dawes census cards for all six Cherokee sections.
These census cards were a one-page summary for each family living in the same household.
We also hold the microfilm of the over 45,000 applications for the Miller Roll.
Most applications for this roll (1906) were in the area of 5-15 pages.
A few applications, however, ran as high as 165 pages.
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Our fee for searching the six Cherokee sections of the Dawes Roll is $4.00 per first/last name searched.   (Married and maiden name for a woman results in two searches or $8.00; therefore, be sure to give us the exact name she would have registered under between 1899 and 1906.   Maiden names were usually irrelevant unless she were divorced.)   The $4.00 search fee also includes copying fee and postage if a census card is located for the name listed.
      DO NOT SEND CASH.   Please read further to see how to contact us.
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To Help Us Help the Researcher
When requesting a search of the Dawes Roll, give us as much information as possible.   We need the name(s) of the specific person(s) to be searched.   Also include names of that person's father, mother, brothers, and sisters, ages, birth place (state and town) and other places of residency so that we can verify that it is from the right family.   It is not unusual to find many people with the same name!   There were ninteen men named Will Rogers on the Cherokee Dawes Roll.   Again, 508 men named William Smith appeared in Indian Territory in 1900 on the Federal Census index.

This is a volunteer organization, so please be patient.   Hopefully, the volunteer who answers the mail requests can get to each request within two-three weeks after receiving it.   One month, we answered 105 mail requests, and that was with two volunteers!   Our staff can only search the Cherokee Dawes Roll.   Please do not ask a question that could involve a lengthy search, such as:   "Who were the parents of John Smith?"   Please ask us specific questions which we can get to quickly, such as:   "Are John Smith (born 1873-Tahlequah, Indian Territory, died 1903) and/or his wife Mary (nee Jones, born 1877 in Sequoyah District, Indian Territory, married 1898-Tahlequah, died 1911) on the Dawes Roll?   His parents were Joseph and Melinda (nee Carmichael) Smith, and the names of her parents were unknown."
         The search fee for this example would include $4.00 to search for John Smith in the Cherokee sections of the Dawes Roll.   The search for Mary Smith (not Mary Jones since she had married by 1900) would also be $4.00.   The total for both of them would be $8.00.
DO NOT SEND CASH.   Please write your check for search fees to:
Indian Territory Genealogical & Historical Society.
         Then send it with all needed information to the address found below.
The source of information which we hold in our library offers the most valuable genealogical information to our researchers.
         Good luck with your family search!
IMPORTANT NOTE:   The Dawes Roll required the people enrolled to be LIVING.   If the person was born in 1788, s/he would not be found on the Dawes or the Miller roll.   Many researchers send us names of people to search who could not possibly be living at the time of these enrollments.   It is not likely that the previously mentioned person would still be living to the age of 118 - not absolutely impossible, but very likely.
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Tips for Creating a Good Query
Include as much information as possible:
  • Include the county in the message subject line.
  • If possible, include the full name of the person, with the surname in CAPITAL LETTERS,
          and the given name in lower case.
  • Include known dates of birth, death, and marriage, for the person and family members.
  • Include the most specific location known on this person.
          Again, mention the county by name.
  • Include the full name of the person's spouse(s).
  • Include the full name of the person's parents.
  • Include the full name of the person's children.
  • Include any specific question about this person.
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Remember:          DO NOT SEND CASH.          For search fees, please make the check out to:
Indian Territory Genealogical & Historical Society.
       Mail requests and all information to:
Indian Territory Genealogical/Historical Society
University Archives/John Vaughan Library
Northeastern State University
Tahlequah  OK  74464

Note:   Remember, when requesting genealogical information,
                   always include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for reply.
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C.D.I.B. Card
In order for one to obtain a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (C.D.I.B.) card indicating eligibility to apply for membership in the Cherokee Nation, one must prove direct relationship to a Cherokee listed on the Cherokee sections of the Dawes Roll with a blood quantum stated.
One may obtain an application for a C.D.I.B. card from:
      Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Registration
      P.O. Box 948
      Tahlequah   OK   74465-0948
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      Sincerely yours,
      The Indian Territory and Genealogical Society Ballenger Room Research Staff

Updated: 24 September 2005