How to Find Native American Ancestors on the Dawes Rolls

Many genealogists researching their family history may get stumped when they come across a branch in the family that leads to Native American roots. The Dawes Rolls are a list of Native Americans from the 'Five Civilized Tribes' who enrolled as tribal members in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These tribes include, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole and Chickasaw.


    • 1

      Obtain a copy of the Dawes Rolls for your specific tribe or search through surnames online. The rolls can be found online at via the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the National Archives website. will email you lists through their website. Not all records are online but, you can purchase more in-depth hard or paper copies through either site.

    • 2

      Check the enrollment list to see if your ancestors applied for citizenship to your tribe. This is done using names. Much like older US census records, many of these tribal census applications were done by hand, so if you can't find an ancestor, try alternate spellings.

    • 3

      Investigate the Dawes Rolls applications via the National Archives website. Optimally you will know which tribe you are researching. As not all names are indexed, you might have to search pages of records to find who you are looking for. If you do find your ancestor on the Dawes Rolls, there will also be a roll number associated with that person.

    • 4

      Use the roll number and persons name to check the final Dawes Rolls. The information here will show age, sex and blood. Blood meaning what percentage of their heritage is Native American; full, half, 1/4 and so forth. You can often find relatives listed near your person on the rolls.

    • 5

      Keep in mind that many Native American applications were denied for the Dawes Rolls, but you can contact the National Archives for lists of denied applicants. A large majority of people didn't apply at all. If you were unable to find your ancestors on the Dawes Rolls, there are other lists and rolls available for different tribes available at

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