To get started in American Indian Research
|Regions with significant populations|
| Ancestral Homelands: Alabama to Virginia, northern Georgia, western North Carolina, and southern Tennessee|
Southern Appalachian Mountains
|Other Related Ethnic Groups|
One of what is often called the "Five Civilized Tribes" and
Leaders: Sequoyah, Elias Boudinot, Nancy Ward
- 1 Tribal Headquarters
- 2 History
- 3 Records
- 4 Important Web Sites
- 5 Bibliography
Cherokee Nation Tribal www.cherokee.org/Government/Default.aspx Government
P.O. Box 948
Tahlequah, OK 74465
- Official Web Site of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
The Spanish explorer De Soto was the first to encounter the Cherokee in the1540's.
During the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War the tribe supported the British.
By 1820 a group that had tired of the encroachment by settlers migrated to Indian Territory which is now Arkansas.
Sequoya (George Grist) a mixed blood, developed the Cherokee alphabet, helping to make the tribe a literate people.
In the 1830's gold was discovered in their Nation, this became a catalist for removal. With the signing of the Treaty of New Echota, December 29, 1835 the tribe sold their remaining land and agreed to move west of the Mississippi.
The removal to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) occured in the winter of 1838-1839, with a 800 mile journey, this became known as the "Trail of Tears", with a loss of one-fourth of their tribe. They joined an earlier group known as "old settlers" who had been in Arkansas. Another group that had been in Mexico (Texas) was forced by government troops to move, they went to the mountains of North Carolina where in 1842, they obtained permission to stay. The Texas group are now a part of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
The Cherokee were slave owners, and resided in areas encompassed by southern influence many of them enlisted in the Confederate Army. A Treaty signed in 1866 remitted them to the United States. They were required to release their slaves. Others had joined the Union Army.
There are three band of Cherokee recognized by the Federal government; Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee, and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee
- 1689-1763: French and Indian War, the Cherokee supported the English
- 1736: Jesuit Mission was founded
- 1738-1750: Smallpox epidemics
- 1775-83: During Revolutionary War supported the British
- 1800: "Moravians," Protestant missionaries of German origin, established the first mission at Spring Place.
- 1801-1823: An Indian agent, Return J. Meigs, lived among the Cherokee.
- 1819-1821: Sequoyah (George Gist) created the Cherokee alphabet.
- 1827: Tribal leaders recorded their constitution
- 1828: Cherokee Phoenix, a bilingual newspaper, contained columns in both English and Cherokee. Editor -- Elias Boudinot
- December 1835: Treaty of New Echota
- 1838: First Group; Start of Trail of Tears, 800-mile journey; 1838-39 - Second group; 4,000 Cherokees died
- 1865: Eastern Band lost many to a smallpox epidemic
- 1866: July 19, Treaty provided for the cession of the Cherokee "neutral lands" in Kansas. Indians living on the land could receive a patent to 320 acres but stipulated that they would no longer be members of the Cherokee nation.
Additional References to the History of the Tribe and/or Bands
Frederick Webb Hodge, in his Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, gave a more complete history of the Cherokee tribe, with estimations of the population of the tribe at various time periods. Additional details are given in John Swanton's The Indian Tribes of North America.
The Cherokee Tribe was under the following jurisdictions
- Qualla Reservation for Eastern Cherokees, in Swain and Jackson counties, North Carolina
- Cheowah Reservation in Graham county, North Carolina
Genealogy; Cherokee Notes by James Manford Carselowey. 1980. FHL Book: 970.3 C424cay
Forgotten Oklahoma Records ( Allotment) by Fredrea Marlyn Hermann Cook. 1981. FHL Film: 1035512 item 4 or book: 970.3 C424co
Township Plats, Cherokee Nation. Ttahlequah, Oklahoma. FHL film: 989209
Cherokee emigration rolls, 1817-1835. FHL book: 970.3 C424be
- 1835 Cherokee Nation http://hometown.aol.com
- 1835,1837,1838 Cherokee Muster Rolls (Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee) FHL film: 908999 Item 2
- 1851 Chapman Roll www.tngennet.org
- 1851 Drennen Roll (Eastern Cherokees who came west after 1835) FHL film: 924606 item 5
- 1851 Old Settler Roll www.accessgenealogy.com (A list of Cherokee still living in1851 who lived in Indian Territory before 1839)
- 1852 Siler Roll http://members.aol.com FHL Book: 970.3 C424sd
- 1854 Roll Cherokee Indians prepared by Mallay www.accessgenealogy.com
- 1880 Cherokee Census www.accessgenealogy.com FHL film: 989204
- 1890 Wallace Roll - Cherokee Freedmen (African Americans - Cherokee citizenship) www.afregeneas.com
- 1890 Eastern Band of Cherokees FHL film: 1009060 item 5
- 1896 Tahlequah District FHL film: 989203 item 2
- 1896-1897 Kern - Clifton Roll www.accessgenealogy.com (contains 4523 individules missed on the Wallace Roll.)
- 1924 Baker Roll www.easternband.com also on FHL film: 847744 and 847745
Additional Records Available through the Family History Library
- Mullary Roll 1848, Siler Roll 1851, 1852, Chapman Roll 1852, Swetland Roll 1869 and Hester Roll 1883 FHL film: 847743 Item 2
- Revised Roll 1924-1970 FHL films: 847746-847748
- Historical Roll 1908, Churchill Roll 1908, Baker Roll 1924, Miller Roll 1909, Baker-revised Roll 1967 FHL film: 847749
- The Cherokee Phoenix, 1828-1835. FHL film: 825726
- Cherokee Advocate, October 1844-September 1846, FHL film: 989202 item 7
- Cherokee One Feather, 1969-1973. FHL film: 965784 item 4 and 979257 item 8
- Probate Records 1892-1908, Northern District Cherokee Nation by Orpha Jewell Wever FHL book: 976.6 P2w
- Saline District, Cherokee Nation, School records 1900 FHL film: 989202 item 6
- Delaware District, Cherokee Nation. Beatties Prairie School FHL film: 989203 item 1
- Cherokee National Seminary, male and female seminary records, 1881-1882. FHL film: 1025299 item 1
- Cherokee National Female Seminary 1876-1909. FHL film: 989203 items 3, 6
- Cherokee National Male Seminary 1876-1909. FHL film: 989202 item 5 and 989203 item 5
The Bureau of Indian Affairs compiled annual Indian Census rolls on many of the reservations from 1885-1940. They list the names of individuals, their age, and other details aboaut each person enumerated. For moare infoormation about these records click here.
|Tribe||Agency||Location of Original records||
Post - 1885 Census
M595 RG 75 Rolls 693
Cherokee Indian Agency,
|1930-1932 * also Birth and Death records||-||-||-||573871|
|1933-1939 * also Birth and Death records||-||-||-||573872|
|Tribe||Agency||Location of Original Records||
Pre-1880 Correspondence M234
RG 75 Rolls 962
|FHL Film Number|
|Washington D.C.||Rolls 71-118||-|
|Cherokee||Union Agency, 1875-1914||Washington D.C. and Fort Worth||Rolls 865-77||-|
|Cherokee||Five Civilized Tribes Agency Muskogee, 1914-60||Fort Worth||-||-|
|Cherokee, North Carolina||Cherokee Indian Agency, 1886-1952||Atlanta||-||-|
|Cherokee Eastern||Cherokee Indian Agency, 1886-1952||Atlanta||-||-|
> Find out if you are a Cherokee by having your ancestor's name checked to the 1924 Baker Roll.
1835 Trail of Tears www.accessgenealogy
During the latter part of the 18th Century and most of the 19th Century, treaties were negotiated between the federal government and individual Indian tribes. The treaties provide helpful information about the history of the tribe, but usually only include the names of those persons who signed the treaty. For more information about treaties, click here.
Treaties to which the Cherokee Indians were a part were:
- 1785 November 28, at Hopewell
- November 28, 1785, referred to
- 1791 July 2, on Holston River
- 1794 June 26, at Philadelphia
- 1798 October 2, at Tellico
- 1804 October 24, at Tellico
- 1805 October 25, at Tellico
- 1805 October 27, at Tellico
- 1806 January 7, at Washington
- September 11, 1807,
- August 9, 1814, referred to
- 1816 March 22, at Washington
- 1816 September 14, at Chickasaw Council House
- 1817 July 8, at Cherokee Agency
- 1819 February 27, at Washington
- 1828 May 6, at Washington, Western Cherokee
- 1833 February 14, at Fort Gibson
- 1835 March 14, unratified
- 1835 August 24, at Camp Holmes
- 1835 December 29, at New Echota
- March 1, 1836, supplementary
- 1846 August 6, at Washington, with Western Cherokee
- September 13, 1865, at Fort Smith-unratified
- 1866 July 19, at Washington
- 1868 April 27, Western Band Treaties
- May 6, 1828, at Washington
- February 14, 1833,
Prior to the Indian Reorganization Act, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, through their agencies, may have recorded some vital events. Some were recorded on health forms, such as the "Sanitary Recordof Sick, Injured, Births, Deaths, etc." Others were recorded as supplements to the "Indian Census Rolls." Some were included in the unindexed reports and other correspondence of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Some vital records for the Cherokee Indians include:
- Cherokee Agency, M 595, births and deaths 1924-1932, FHL Film: 573871; 1926-1939, FHL Film: 573872
Indian Pioneer Papers
In 1936, the Oklahoma Historical Society and University of Oklahoma requested a writer's project grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in which interviews would be conducted with early settlers in Oklahoma who had lived on Indian land. More than 100 writers conducted over 11,000 interviews and were asked to "call upon early settlers and (record) the story of the migration to Oklahoma and their early life here."  The University of Oklahoma Western History Collection has digitized the Indian Pioneer Papers which consists of approximately 80,000 indexed entries arranged alphabetically by personal name, place name, or subject.  An index to the Indian Pioneer Papers may also be found at OkGenWeb Oklahoma Genealogy. A separate index of Indians interviewed, including the Cherokee, may be viewed at: “Indians in the Indian Pioneer Papers” Some of the surnames from the Cherokee tribe found in the collection are: Adair (Rider), Anderson, Beaver, Brewer, Bohanan, Burch (Choate), Campbell, Candy, Chambers (Ketcher), Coodey, Crutchfield (Lane), Daniels (Cummins), Daughtery (Morris), Drew, Dugan, Duncan, Harlan (James), Keys (Porter), Ketcher (Langley), Langley, Lynch, Marcham, McClure (Keith), Miller (Watts), Morris, Phillips (Keith), Rider (Howland), Ross, Rutherford (Rider), Starr, Vann, West (Spring).
- Blackburn, Bob L. "Battle Cry for History: The First Century of the Oklahoma Historical Society." n.d. Oklahoma Historical Society. 5 Oct. 1998.
- The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections http://digital.libraries.ou.edu/whc/pioneer/
Important Web Sites
- Constitution of the Cherokee Nation
- Official Web Site of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
- All Things Cherokee website-- a largely commercial website with a free message board and some free information about Cherokee research and records.
- Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
- Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; Family History Library book 970.1 R259e.
- Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; Family History Library book 970.1 G131g.
- Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
- Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
- Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
- Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
- Schultz, Janice. Cherokee Genealogy (32 minute online video) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, and Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center, 2010.
- Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
- Volume 1 -- Not yet published
- Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
- Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
- Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.4.
- Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.5.
- Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.6.
- Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
- Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.8.
- Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.9.
- Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.10.
- Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.11.
- Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.12.
- Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
- Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
- Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; Family History Library book 970.1 H191h v.15.
- Volume 16 -- Not yet published
- Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
- Volume 18 -- Not yet published
- Volume 19 -- Not yet published
- Volume 20 -- Not yet published
- Swanton John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin #145 Available online.
- Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. New York, New York: Facts on File, 2006. 3rd ed. WorldCat 14718193; Family History Library book 970.1 W146e 2006.