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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in November 2013. It is an excerpt from their course US Court Records  by C. Ann Staley, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

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Eastern Cherokee Applications to the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909

On 18 May 1905, the U.S. Court of Claims decided in favor of the Eastern Cherokees and instructed the Secretary of the Interior to ascertain and identify the persons entitled to participate in the distribution of more than $1 million appropriated by Congress on 30 June 1906, for use in payment of these claims. Guion Miller was appointed as special commissioner of the Court of Claims to oversee the claims procedure.

Commonly referred to as the Guion Miller Rolls, the Eastern Cherokee applications are full of genealogical information. Individuals making the application hoped to gain financial benefits and, in order to do so, needed to be diligent in completing the required form. Frequently attorneys would assist in the process.

When the applications were turned in to the claims committee, staff members would search various Indian census rolls to determine if the claimant’s ancestor was on one of the rolls. In order to certify eligibility of the Cherokees, Guion Miller and his staff used earlier census lists and rolls that had been made of the Cherokees by Hester, Chapman, Drennen, and others between 1835 and 1884.

Three sample Eastern Cherokee applications (one accepted and two rejected) may be viewed as PDF files at the Woodward-Geiger.com website.

  • Jack Woodard of Tahlequah, Cherokee, Nation, Indian Territory (application accepted)
  • Mary S. Davis, resident of Postelle, Tennessee, claiming her mother, Sarah Bozeman, was of Cherokee Indian Blood. (application rejected)
  • Margarie C. Huggins, resident of Jockey, Georgia, claiming her mother, Sarah (Darby) Bozeman was of Cherokee blood. (application rejected)

An index to the Guion Miller Rolls can be found at the National Archives website.

Other records of the United States Court of Claims

  • Case Files for General Jurisdiction Cases 1855-1966 Ÿ
  • District of Columbia Case Records 1880-87 Ÿ
  • Departmental Jurisdiction Case Records 1883-1949 Ÿ
  • Congressional Jurisdiction Case Records 1884-1952 Ÿ
  • French Spoliation Case Records 1885-1908 Ÿ
  • Indian Depredation Case Records 1891-1918

Microfilm Resources

M1104 Eastern Cherokee applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909. RG 123. 348 reels.
M1104 Eastern Cherokee applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909. RG 123. 348 reels.
M685 Records Relating to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910. RG 75. 12 reels.

Selected Finding Aids

  • Blankenship, Bob. Guion Miller Roll “Plus” of Eastern Cherokee East and West of Mississippi, “1909.” Cherokee N.C.: Cherokee Roots Publications, 1994.
  • Gaiselle Kerner, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the Records of the United States Court of Claims, PI 58 (1953).
  • Jordan, Jerry Wright. Cherokee by Blood: Records of Eastern Cherokee Ancestry in the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1910. 9 volumes. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1987-1997.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the U.S. Court of Claims in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Court Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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