Friday, February 5, 2016

Interesting information on Indian and Blended Families - notes taken from Rootstech 2016

How do I start?  Who can help me?

Get the book "American Indians" from the National Archives to help you understand which census data to search.

Bob Blankenship - Cherokee Roots - Volume 1 and Volume II
Check Ebay for a copy.

Know that there can be limitations to what can be found
Now all communities were documented in the same way
Tribal rolls are not that common.  Tribal rolls are often creations of the Federal government thought many are in the public domain
Some communities dramatically changed over the years
Some individuals enerumerated differently

Some enumerators did not follow the rules.  Some only documented what they heard and did not

Mulatto was a standard way of describing people who were Native Americans.  It was also used for Mixed races of Black and another.

One must review the task at hand
document the family history and tell the f am ily story.  Start with what you know.
Understanding the Basic methods of Research Documenting Oral History
Explore the Family Archives
Vital Records
Census Records (1840-1790) also State Census
Military records & Federal Records and Local Histories
Earliest Presence in America Immigrants of Indigenous.
Birth Certificates
Death Certificates
Probate, Wills, Land Ownership
Slave Ownership
Military Records - Draft Cards - their own handwriting and description.

Gather all of these things in a shoe box then start with Pedigree charts, naming yourself as person #1

Check the History to see what was happening at that point in time in the region and document it in your story.

For African Ancestry
Oral History
Tracing Family history 1940 to 1870 - hit a wall at Civil War?
Identifying the last known Slave Owner
Tracing the Slave Owners History
Document the earliest landing in America

Blended Families
Indian & White/Indian and Black
Study the land - google maps as much as you can
Early maps - document the borders and county border changes
Follow the family

Ask the right questions
Who was the oldest person in the family that you remember?
Who was the specific ancestory that is said to have been of Native American Ancestry?
Did you know him or her?
Why was he said to have been of Native Andestry
What nation or tribe was he/she part of?
Was the community of Indians from that tribe in the area?
Did he/she visit that community ?  Did others visit too? Who?
Did your ancestor speak a language besides English?
What kind of religion did she/he practice?
Did she/he ever speak about her elders?

Study the community - using Google, History Channel,


Document the family and individuals in the census.  Explore all possibilities. Know what was asked on the census forms. 
1860 Before 1860 they didn't always tell who was an indian or native
1870 did not tell the relationship of household members
column 6 was racial - column 7 was place of birth.  Sometimes it said they all were born in the village when they weren't. 
Sometimes the Enumerator decided on his own where they were living.  "North of the Bayou, near Thompson's Bluff, around the large river".

Learn the local history and Geography. Document if oral history is in contrast to local history.
Cherokee, Choctaw and others own slaves - check Freedman Records.

Many were taken to Jamaica.  Many died because of illness. 

Not all persona are not always accurate
Sometimes history conflicts
Some elders are repeating that they heard as a child that could have been misinterpreted.
Some are spoken of as Indian to avoid association with another racial groups. 
Some begin the process of basing their ancestors on racial features.

90,000 people applied for money, and or land.

Not all Indian communities had tribal rolls.  US Government is who started the rolls.
Not all records are available to outsiders to easily research.

Some census records did not enumerate Indian communities in a thorough manner.
Some said they were from a "town" instead of a "clan" or "Nation"

Special Indian Census

Guion Miller Rolls, multiple states, 90,000 files  - National Archives

Dawes Rolls (Oklahoma only) 14,000 files
1907 Statehood.  During the process in the 5 nations, land was owned by all the nations.  Change the concept prove that you are part of the tribe and you will get a land parcel.  You had to prove that you had been there continuously 1866 - because you returned from the Civil War.

19th Century Cherokee Rolls
Reservation Roll 1817
come back to this later


1) Indian - some census were everyone was called an Indian.

1870 Suffold County New York in Long Island
"Ind" indian or Farm Laborer and "Indians"

Knowing your local history will help you zoom in on your data and what is relative to your family

Mixed Community

Some Enumerators didn't know what to write - Sometimes they said "1 maile Indian....counted as colored".

If they said "black eyes, black hair", they were probably counted as Indian.

Standard Indian Census Record
50 people on a page for normal census.  Indian census had 25 people on a page and 15 on the bottom for extra people - some were very tribe specific.

Check for blank census forms. Inappropriate questions - Married? Living in Polygamy? Were the wives Sisters?  What % blood each race?

Choctaw Nation in 1900 - Enumerated as a black family - in 1910 Indian Census it says they are Indian.  (Cherokee/ Negro 1/2 each)   1/8 then 3/8  - math did not add up.  Sometimes it said 11/16 - how did they figure that???

Shinnecock Indians in Suffolk County - mostly Indian and Black.
Upstate Seneca - most Indian
Virginia - Charles City - most were tri racial
1910  - Chicasaw - mathematical calculations were often grossly mis tallied.

Indians - New Jersey, Ok, PA, VA, Nc SC
Census' were first done in these states.

Missouri 1910 - St Louis Fillmore family first showed them as black, then later shows Minnehaha as mother.  Robert B Fillmore as Head - White
Powhatan if in Virginia - Osecola from Florida, Juanita, Robert Jur, Pocahontas was the baby girl.
Interesting naming convention.


Dawes Freedman Card will have the name of the slaveholder on it.

pick Tribe

Article 14 - TheTreaty of Dancing Rabbit - allowed many Choctaws to remain in Mississippi ifthey wished to become citizens.  They did not lose the Choctaw status - IDENTIFIED.  Some were revoked. - REJECTED

Something amazing is that they have multiple pedigree sheets an d the actual interview sheets with questions and answers.  This was for the Choctaws only.

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