Dawes Commission Enrollment Records

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Dawes Commission Enrollment Records

Use these records if your ancestor was:

  • A member of either the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, or Seminole Indian tribe in the southeastern United States.
  • Applicants were required to be living in Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to qualify for tribal enrollment. (The 1900 Federal census will help you determine if they were living and where).
  • Alive during the enrollment period between 1896 and 1905.
  • If your ancestor died prior to 1893, you could search for surviving children or grandchildren in the Dawes Commission records.
Origin of the Records. In 1893 Congress established a commission to exchange Indian tribal lands in the southeastern United States for new land allotments to Indian individuals, and open the remainder of land in Oklahoma for settlement by non-Indians. The Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes was also called the Dawes Commission after its chairman, Senator Dawes. More than 250,000 people applied to this commission for enrollment and land. Just over 100,000 were approved.

Content of the Records.

  • Enrollment cards (also called census cards) include residence, roll numbers, names of family members, relationships, ages, sex, degree of Indian blood, enrollment date, place and number, parents and their enrollment date or place, spouses, divorces, children or grandchildren.
  • Applications for enrollment include affidavits, vital records, letters, questionnaires, and decisions mentioning relatives, dates, and places.
  • Letter logs include name, address, date of letter, file number, date received, subject, and action taken. Letters are with the applications.

1. Use the Index to Find an Ancestor’s Roll Number

Find the index online, or in a book, microfilm, or microfiche format:

NARA http://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/dawes/intro.html

Oklahoma Historical Society http://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes


  • Dawes Packets 883,771 entries
  • Dawes Enrollment Records 88,720 entries


  • Dawes Commission Index (Overturned) 1896 13,980 entries


  • Dawes Commission Index 1898-1914 52,631 entries

Images of this book are on the Internet at www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalrolls/. The book edition is in the Family History Library reference area. The film and fiche are in cabinets on the 2nd floor. The fiche is clearer.

Search for an ancestor’s name in the index. The index is arranged in tribal groups. You may need to search for the name in roughly alphabetical order by each tribe and all tribal groups listed (By Blood, Newborn, Minor, By Marriage,Freedmen and .....) in the table of contents:

Index Tribal Group Page Index Tribal Group Page


  • By Blood 1
  • New Born Choctaws by Blood 91
  • Minor Choctaws by Blood 101
  • Choctaws by Marriage 107
  • Choctaw Freedmen 117
  • Minor Choctaw Freedmen 151
  • Mississippi Choctaws 155
  • New Born Miss. Choctaws 164
  • Minor Mississippi Choctaws 165


  • By Blood 167
  • New Born Chickasaws by Blood 197
  • Minor Chickasaws by Blood 201
  • Chickasaws by Marriage 204
  • Chickasaw Freedmen 209


  • By Blood 238
  • Minor Cherokees by Blood 428
  • Delaware Cherokees 460
  • Cherokees by Marriage 462
  • Cherokee Freedmen 464
  • Minor Cherokee Freedmen 492


  • By Blood 497
  • New Born Creeks by Blood 559
  • Minor Creeks by Blood 568
  • Creek Freedmen 572
  • New Born Creek Freedmen 607
  • Minor Creek Freedmen 613


  • By Blood and Freedmen 616
  • New Born Seminoles by Blood 633
  • New Born Seminole Freedmen 635
  • By Blood were people who were born members of the tribe.
  • New Borns were children born after 1902.
  • Minors were children who were added to the rolls in 1906.
  • By Marriage were non-citizens or whites who married into the tribe.
  • Freedmen, Freedmen Minors, and Freedmen New Borns were former slaves of tribal members, or descendants of former slaves.
Copy the tribal group roll number from Index to Final Rolls.

When you find your ancestor’s name, look at the age. Does it match (with in 2-3 years) copy the age your ancestor was in 1902?(1) the name of his or her tribal group, and (2) the roll number in the right column of the index.

Tribal group: ____________________________________

Roll number: ____________________________________

Can’t Find a Name in the Dawes Commission Index?

Before concluding your ancestor’s name is not in the index,consider:

  • The name may be spelled differently, for example, Anne instead of Ann, or Thos. instead of Thomas. Search for variant spellings.
  • Look for your ancestor by his or her English name, Indian name, middle name, nickname, initials, married name, or maiden name.
  • Maybe he or she was listed under a different tribe or category than you expected. Look in each of the 29 sections of the index.
  • Look for your ancestor’s relatives. Relatives may refer to your family.
  • If your ancestor was a Cherokee by Blood you could also search:

Blankenship, Bob. Dawes Roll “Plus” of Cherokee Nation 1898. [Np]: Cherokee Roots Pub., [19--].(FHL Q book 970.1 B611d. FHL book 970.1 B611d) Lists name, census card no., Miller roll application no., age, and sex.

Rejected Applications. Your ancestor’s application may have been rejected. The Commission eventually rejected 60% of the applications. Only a few rejected applications are in the indexes you just searched.

Most applications (except Choctaw) are indexed on the Internet at: www.archives.gov/research_room/arc/ .

  • Press the yellow search button to go to the Basic search.
  • Enter the term Enrollment and an ancestor’s name in theKeywords box, for example, Enrollment and Annie Abbott. Press Search. If the "hit(s) retrieved" is one or more, print the hit(s) you want and use the underlined Census Card Number to find the application for enrollment in Step 4 below.
  • Some card numbers have letters in front such as D=doubtful, F=Freedman, IW=intermarried white, M=minor, NB=newborn, or R=rejected.

If your ancestor does not seem to be on the Internet, you could write for help from: National Archives, PO Box 6216, Fort Worth, TX 76115.

2. Use the Rolls to Find Copy the Census Card Number

Find the final rolls in book or microfilm format.

United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory. 1907. Reprint, Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 2007. (FHL book 970.1 Un3c; film 908371 item 2.) FHL book and film 908371 Book 970.1 Un3c This book is in the reference area. The film is in the 2nd floor cabinets.

Search the final rolls and copy the census card number.

  • Look for the tribal group and roll number you copied during Step 1.
  • When you find the roll number and your ancestor’s name, write the

Census card number: _______________________________

3. Find the Census Card on Film and Copy It

Find the microfilm number of the census card.

Find the following entry in the Family History Library Catalog:

United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1186. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1981. (FHL film 1490262–1490353. FHL film 1490262-1490353 )

Look up the tribal group and census card number to find which of the 93 films has the census card (also known as the enrollment card).

Write the film number of the census card below and on the research log.

Film number: ___________________________________

Retrieve the film, search for the census card in numerical order, and photocopy the card.

Can’t Find a Card on the Film?

There are three groups of cards:

  • “Straight” for applications approved for enrollment;
  • “R” for rejected applications
  • “D” for doubtful applications.

Your ancestor’s card may have a “D” or an “R” number. The catalog lists the “D” and “R” numbers after the “straight” numbers.

4. Find the Application for Enrollment on Film and Copy It

Find the film number of the application for enrollment.

Look again at the catalog to find the following entry:

United States. Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1301. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1981. (On 468 FHL films starting with. FHL first film 1439798)

  • Scroll through until you find the film number of the application papers for your ancestor’s tribal group and census card number.
  • Write the film number of the application papers below and on your research log.

Film number: ___________________________________

Retrieve the film, find, and copy the application papers.

5. Look for Your Ancestor’s Name in the Letter Logs

Look for and copy your ancestor’s name in letter logs.

There are 21 letter logs which are in order alphabetically by the first two letters of the surname. Look for spill-over names at the end of each letter of the alphabet. Your ancestor’s name probably appears in only a few of them, but take a few minutes to search each log anyway. Logs list name, address, date of letter, file no., date received, subject, and action taken:

United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Index to Letters Received by Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1897–1913. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1314. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1983. (FHL film 1694814–36. FHL first film 1694814)

For other Indian records look in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under [STATE]—NATIVE RACES. Also look in the Subject Search under the name of the tribe.