United States, Indian Census Rolls (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of an index and images of census and other records created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The records are from the National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. Census rolls were usually submitted annually by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations as required by an 1884 act of Congress. In some years, agents only compiled a summary of additions and deductions from the populations. In some years separate lists of births and deaths are included. The collection covers the years 1885 to 1940. Not all years are available for all tribes.

You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.

Collection Content

The following images are a representation of various tribes, agencies, years, format and type of records found in this collection.

The record content varies by year, but the census records generally contain the following:

  • Indian name
  • English name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Relationship
  • Tribe
  • Reservation.
  • Current year's roll number
  • Previous year's roll number
  • A few of the censuses show the names of persons who were born or died during the year, along with date of birth and death.

Beginning in 1929, the following was added:

  • An annuity or allotment number is included if the tribe receives an annuity or allotment

Beginning in 1930, the following was added:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Degree of blood
  • Jurisdiction where enrolled
  • Name of the post office, county, and state
  • May list how many live or still births a woman had

Birth records list:

  • Census roll number (if born before the census was taken)
  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • If born live
  • Sex
  • Tribe
  • Degree of Indian blood
  • Parents degree of Indian blood
  • If living at jurisdiction where enrolled
  • If living at another jurisdiction and where
  • If living off reservation and where

Death records list:

  • Census roll year and number
  • Full name
  • Death date
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Tribe
  • Degree of Indian blood
  • Cause of death
  • If living at jurisdiction where enrolled
  • If living at another jurisdiction and where

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know the following:

  • Full name
  • Tribe and reservation

Search the Collection

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "__________"
⇒ Select the "__________"
⇒ Select the "__________"
⇒ Select the "__________" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, download a copy or transcribe the information. Carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records.

For example, use the last year's census number to locate the individual on the the previous year's census. This is especially helpful as their name may have changed.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Start with the most recent census during your ancestor's life. Search every census year going backward until you reach 1885.
  • Some nations have gaps between the years when a census was taken.
  • Be aware that errors may have occurred as the agents did not usually know the individuals personally.
  • Lists of births and deaths may have been recorded in between census years.
  • When men had plural wives, the oldest wife was often listed first, with her unmarried children. The other wives and their children are listed in order of their ages.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection citation:

“United States, Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940.” Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication 595. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Image citation:

The image citation will be available once the collection is published.