Native American Probate RecordsEdit This Page

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If your ancestors had land in trust or went through probate, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) field offices in selected areas throughout the United States may have some records concerning Indian ancestry. However, the BIA field offices do not maintain current or historic records of all individuals who possess some degree of Indian blood. The records the BIA holds are current rather than historic tribal membership enrollment lists. These lists (commonly called "rolls") do not have supporting documentation (such as birth certificates) for each tribal member listed. The BIA created these rolls while the BIA maintained tribal membership rolls.

When you contact a BIA field office, be prepared to give the name of the tribe, the name(s) and birth dates of ancestor(s), and relationships. You must provide specific information otherwise field offices (and other institutions) probably cannot provide much useful information.

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. §552(a) protects the current tribal membership rolls and lists that the BIA maintains. Submitting a request for genealogical information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552, is not necessary for records compiled and published by private institutions or available in census records declassified by the National Archives.

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