Looking for Your Cherokee Ancestors

by Leuwanna "Laughing Water" Williams

Leuwanna works closely with an LDS Church Family History Center as a consultant in Native American genealogical research. Leuwanna is willing to receive e-mail regarding genealogical info at lawanna@cherokeesofcalifornia.com

First Step: Pedigree Chart
Starting with yourself, fill in a pedigree chart with names, dates and places. This will be your road map. It will let you see the information that you have so far collected and the information you still need to find.  Work backward until you have enough information to look at the 1900 Census which was also an Indian Census.

Other sources for Research: Regular records, such as census, court, newspapers, family histories, cemetery records, church and marriage records.

You will want to order a Social Security application for the individual you are researching if he/she died around or after 1938. A woman's surname will be listed under the name used at the time she applied for her Social Security card. On the Social Security application you will find the individual's date and place of birth, parents names (including mother's maiden name).

Second Step: Family Information
Find out as much information as you can about every member of the family. Talk to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Third Step: Family Group Sheet
Fill out a Family Group Sheet for every male on the pedigree chart. You may obtain pedigree charts and family group sheets from most Family History Centers of the LDS Church. Here are some sites where charts available on the web:


Fourth Step: Native American Ancestry
Keep working backward in time until you get to your ancestor or the year 1900. To determine whether to look in the Dawes Roll or Miller Roll, you need to know if your people were in the Cherokee Nation (of Oklahoma), or somewhere else around 1900. If in the Cherokee Nation, look at the Dawes Roll. If they were living elsewhere, look at the Miller Roll.

If your people were East of the Mississippi, and stayed there, also check the 1924 Baker Roll.

To assist in your research, here are a few sites which may be of help:

Archival Research Catalog
(This will take you to the page where you can insert a name for research on the Dawes or Miller rolls.)

Chapman Roll
Dawes Census Cards 
Cherokee by Blood
Siler Roll
Cyndi's List

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Marysville, California 95901