Among the more than 10.6 million records
to be found in various RootsWeb's user-contributed databases are 285,307
pertaining to Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, Seminoles, and
Delawares. While RootsWeb does not have the actual records or any
additional information about them, a link is provided on the search
results pages to the National Archives where you might learn more about
those listed in these Dawes Commission (census) enrollment cards.

To do a search, go to:

A surname is required, but first name is optional, and for "Record Type"
choose "Enrollment Card." The tribe name is optional also. The search
results have four columns, showing name (first and surname), the tribe,
record type, and Notes/PostEms. The latter will say "View/Add Notes."
Click on that. Most search results will show the name, tribe, age, sex,
enrollment type, Blood (in a percentage), card and/or roll number and
sometimes the residence at the time of the enrollment.

The most common enrollment types are: BB (by blood), P (parent), D
(doubtful), A (adoption) and IW (intermarried white person). Children
born to recognized enrolled citizens after certain dates (mostly in the
early 1900s) of these various nations could be enrolled by their parents
and you'll find these on the P (parent) cards. During the enrollment
process, if there were any questions about a person's eligibility to be
enrolled, their information was recorded on a D (doubtful) card. Many
people stayed on the D cards for years while the Dawes Commission
gathered enough information to make a determination on their

On these cards the percentage of blood may or may not be accurate. For
the most part these tribes did not record "blood quantum" on their
earlier tribal rolls, or if they did, they only indicated if a person
was a "full-blood" or a "mixed-blood." If an applicant did not claim to
be a full-blood, then the Dawes Commission enrollment clerks simply
estimated the fraction, which they put in the "degree of blood" column
on the official card. These fractions were based on answers given about
parents and grandparents. In cases where an applicant's parents were
members of different tribes, the commission calculated the degree of
blood based strictly on the mother's tribe. In cases of mixed freedmen
(African American) and Indian parents, which was common among the Creeks
and Seminoles, the applicant was always enrolled as a "freedman" and not
given credit for having any Indian blood.

Persons who had been adopted by or married a tribal member faced other
legal enrollment problems as there were different laws on the subjects,
and they varied from tribe to tribe. Record types recorded as A
(adopted) or IW (intermarried white) reflect such situations. IW
(intermarried white) refers to white spouses who were married to tribal
members. Keep in mind that even though your ancestor might have been
Cherokee or Creek (or one of the other tribes), for example, just
having Indian ancestry was not enough -- blood alone did not constitute
a valid claim to citizenship in these Indian nations. There were other
qualifications for citizenship that were required, including rules
established by treaties, constitution, laws, and usages of the several
nations. These "other qualifications" varied from one tribe to another.

Jot down the information from your search results or print out a copy.
Follow the link provided to "NAIL search site" (NAIL stands for National
Archives' Archival Information Locator, as it was originally called). It
will take you to what is now the Archival Research Catalog (ARC). Click
on the yellow SEARCH button and type in the name of interest. Leave the
default settings for your initial search. If your search results there
show "Digital Copy Available" you will be able to view an online copy of
that particular record. Instructions for obtaining these and additional
Native American records from the National Archives at Fort Worth are
provided at the site, starting at the page where you click on SEARCH.
Any and all information provided in the Native American Dawes enrollment
databases (1898-1914) should be verified by obtaining copies of the
actual records.

To fully understand the background and information to be found these
records, consult Kent Carter's outstanding book, "The Dawes Commission
and the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914" -- available
from the publisher, ($19.95):

Neither the editor nor the HelpDesk has any additional information about
these records or any of the names listed therein. PLEASE DO NOT ASK. To
learn more about other material and researching your Native American
ancestors, see the RootsWeb Guide at:

{Permission to reprint articles from RootsWeb Review is granted unless
specifically stated otherwise, provided: (1) the reprint is used for
non-commercial, educational purposes; and (2) the following notice
appears at the end of the article: Previously published in RootsWeb
Review: Vol. 6, No. 6, 5 February 2003.}