Eastern Cherokee or Guion Miller Roll
Definition, Value, Search Strategies, and Contents
Value. This set of records helps genealogists because each application usually has several generations of relatives with their names listed both in the Cherokee language, and as an English translation.
Name variations. Prior to 1900 only a few full-blooded Cherokees could speak or write English. Some Indian names are difficult to translate into English and could easily have several possible versions. And when lists of names in the Cherokee language were compiled an interpreter often had to help the stenographer figure out how to spell the Indian names. For example, the same Cherokee ancestor might have his name listed in the applications of different descendants as Ummerteskee, Ahmadeske and Askwater. Moreover, in Cherokee culture it was not unusual for Indians to use three or four different names over the course of their lifetimes (beyond a woman's maiden name). For all these reasons the Guion Miller Roll applications are an important research tool for learning family relationships, name variations, and name changes needed to understand a Cherokee family pedigree.
Search Strategy Suggestions. Cross reference English and Indian names, cross reference name variations, and compare all of a family's applications. Be flexible with spellings, especially in Cherokee. Also, the more children, spouses, brothers, sister, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts you can find, the more you are likely to learn about the main person you are researching. Investigating slight differences in the applications of siblings can result in treasures of information easily overlooked on just one application.
Record types. Four main kinds of records are associated with the Guion Miller Roll:
- Applications, affidavits and other papers used to show a person was eligible, or descended from an eligible Cherokee, including the English and Indian names of children, parents, grandparents and other relatives.
- Roll of Eastern Cherokees, a.k.a. Guion Miller Roll, a published list of admitted applicants for compensation, including names, residence, age, and Dawes number.
- Report, a typescript list of all applicants, including number, name, residence, whether admitted or rejected, and basis of the claim (usually a Cherokee relative).
- General Index of admitted and rejected applications, a typescript index of the Guion Miller Roll, including roll number, name, and residence. Some pages show handwritten supplemental names in the margin.
Claimants were asked to prove they were:
- Members of the Eastern Cherokee tribe at the time of the treaties, or
- Descended from members who had not been affiliated with any other tribe
Guion Miller, an agent of the Interior Department, was appointed as a commissioner of the Court of Claims to compile a list of claimants. He made an extensive enrollment of the Cherokees in 1907 and 1908.
Use the Guion Miller Roll various records if your ancestors were:
- Alive on 28 May 1906
- Members of the Eastern Cherokee tribe at the time of the treaties of 1835,1836, and 1845 between the United States and Eastern Cherokee
- Descendants of members of the Eastern Cherokee tribe during the years of the treaties
- Not affiliated with any Indian tribe other than the Cherokees
- Not an "Old Settler" who had moved west prior to 1835
Origin of the Guion Miller Roll. In 1902 the Eastern Cherokee sued the United States to get the funds due them under the treaties of 1835,1836, and 1845. To certify the eligibility in the Cherokee Tribe, Guion Miller used several earlier Cherokee census lists created between 1835 and 1884:
- Henderson 1835 list Cherokee just prior to forced removal
- Chapman 1851 list of Cherokees that remained in the East
- Drennen 1851 list of Cherokees that had moved West
- other records
Application contents. Each applicant was asked
- His or her full English and Cherokee name
- Place of birth
- Name of husband or wife (English and Cherokee)
- Names of children (English and Cherokee)
- Names (English and Cherokee), places of birth and date of death of parents and grandparents
- Names and ages of brothers and sisters (English and Cherokee)
- Names of uncles and aunts (English and Cherokee)
- The documentation includes application forms, correspondence, and affidavits necessary to prove eligibility for a claim.
Extent of the Rolls. Guion Miller stated there were 45,847 enrollment applications filed, representing some 90,000 individuals. After exceptions and adjustments were made, a total of 30,820 persons were eligible to share in the fund. The Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims 1906–1909 are found on both the Internet, as well as on 348 rolls of microfilm.
Rejected Claims. Claim documents were kept whether they were paid or rejected. Rejected applications fall into five groups:
- Those who left the Cherokee Nation in the East before 1835
- Those who filed after the final application date of 31 August 1907
- Illegitimate children rejected even when their brothers and sisters were admitted
- Those who had dual tribal ancestry
- Those who failed to prove the required relationship
Use Roll of Eastern Cherokees Records Online
Use the various editions of the roll, report, general index, and applications that are all searchable by applicant's name in their online versions:
- fold3 Roll of Eastern Cherokees eligible for a settlement payment as of 28 May 1906, (a.k.a. Guion Miller Roll), 115,567 entries, (a) east, and (b) west of the Mississippi River. Shows (Dawes) roll number, application number, F.C.T. Commission number, name, address, relation, and age in 1906. Digital book images. Also at various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 547137.
- fold3 Report Submitted by Guion Miller, Special Commissioner, May 28, 1909, 10 volumes. Entries are in order by application number. Shows all applicants including their number, name, residence, whether admitted or rejected, and basis of the claim (usually a Cherokee relative). Digital typescript images. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Films 378595-98.
- fold3 Eastern Cherokee Applications 427,900 entries includes (1) Applications 1906-1909, (2) General Index (duplicate of the General Index below) 2 vols, and (3) Roll of Eastern Cherokees (duplicate of Roll of Eastern Cherokees above). Application forms may include name, residence, age, marital status, spouse, tribe, children, parents including mother's maiden name, parents' birthplaces, parents' residences in 1851, parents' death dates, siblings and their ages and residence, grandparents and their residences, uncles/aunts and their residences, and Cherokee ancestors back to 1835. Digital manuscript, typescript and book images.
- National Archives General Index to the applications submitted for the Eastern Cherokee Roll of 1909 (Guion Miller Roll ) shows number (roll number), name, and state (of residence). Alphabetical by name. Digital typescript images.
- Access Genealogy General Index shows number (roll number), name, and state (of residence). Computerized typescript extractions.
- OKGenWeb selected Applications alphabetically, and selected Applications nummerically. Applications 1906-1909 may include name, residence, age, marital status, spouse, tribe, children, parents including mother's maiden name, parents' birthplaces, parents' residences in 1851, parents' death dates, siblings and their ages and residence, grandparents and their residences, uncles/aunts and their residences, and Cherokee ancestors back to 1835. Computerized manuscript extractions.
| If the first search fails do not give up too easily. Be persistent. Try:
If you find an ancestor in the Guion Miller Roll records on the Internet, be sure you find and copy all three parts of the records: (1) General Index, (2) Roll of Eastern Cherokees (or Report if the application was rejected), and (3) application papers.
- It is also important to search for all the relatives of the ancestor to help corroborate what you found.
If you do not find an ancestor on the Internet, consider searching for him in the book or microfilm versions of these records described below.
- Another approach would be to return to the Internet version and search for close relatives who are likely to mention the main person you seek in their applications.
Book or Microfilm Options
Other than on the Internet, you could also search for an ancestor in book or microfilm versions of these records.
If you choose to use this option, start by searching the General Index which identifies the number of a person's application.
Use FHL Film 378594 to find the General Index which starts at Target 2 and appears 172 pages after the Roll of Eastern Cherokees (Target 1) starts. Do not confuse the Roll (printed book) with the typescript General Index.
- Search for an ancestor’s name in the General Index. The words “General Index” appear at the top of each page. The General Index is alphabetical by surname. If you cannot find your direct ancestor, look for his or her relatives. Some handwritten entries are found scattered among the typed names. The image below shows part of a sample page.
- In the General Index the Guion Miller application numbers are on the left side.
- In the General Index the Guion Miller application numbers are on the left side.
- Copy all the information in the index for your ancestor.
- Can’t Find a Name in the Guion Miller Roll? see the yellow box above.
Find the Film Number for the Application Papers
Once you know the application number you can find an ancestor's application papers on microfilm.
Look in the Family History Library Catalog for the following entry. To open this catalog entry, click here
- United States. Court of Claims. Eastern Cherokee Applications, August 29, 1906–May 26, 1909. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1104. (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1981. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 378594.
- Scroll down the catalog entry until you find the application number you seek, and make a note of the corresponding FHL film number.
Obtain and Copy the Application Papers
- Obtain the microfilm of applications and load it on a microfilm reader.
- Find the application packet in numerical order on the microfilm. Short slips of paper are used to show the start of each application packet.
- Copy the application papers and update your Research Log and you family history records with the new information you find. Repeat the search and look for relatives.
Obtain and Copy the Report and Roll
Guion Miller's Report is a 10 volume typescript summary of all the applications both admitted or rejected. His Roll of Eastern Cherokees . . . is a printed summary of the admitted applications only. Compare these summaries with the original applications for possible differences and additional clues.
Copy the summaries and compare them with the application papers looking for new clues. Update you Research Log and family history information.
(above) Roll of Eastern Cherokees . . . (Guion Miller Roll), upper part of page 84 online (that is, printed page 80).
|Record||Internet||Rec Grp||NARA #||WorldCat||FHL Film #||Rolls|
|General Index|| National Archives
|Eastern Cherokee Applications, August 29, 1906-May 26, 1909|| fold3
|Report Submitted by Guion Miller, Special Commissioner, May 28, 1909, 10 volumes in "Records relating to enrollment of Eastern Cherokee, 1908-1910 by Guion Miller." With applications, exceptions, testimony, old rolls||fold3||123.8||M0685||10976814|| 830435 to
|Roll of Eastern Cherokees entitled to participate in the fund arising from the judgement of the court of claims of May 28,1906 (Guion Miller Roll)||fold3||123.8||10976778||547137||1|
|Selected letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs relating to the Cherokees of North Carolina 1851-1907||75.19.26||M1059||20389231||1605557+||7|
|See also: Bob Blankenship, Guion Miller Roll "Plus" of Eastern Cherokee, East and West of Mississippi "1909" ([Cherokee, NC]: Cherokee Roots, 1994). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424gmr. Divided into sections: Accepted and Rejected for court settlement.|
|For more about Cherokee records see Anne Bruner Eales, and Robert M. Kvasnicka, Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC: NARA, 2000) 218-20. Digital version; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Ref Book 973 J53e.|
Additional records relating to the enrollment of Easter Cherokee 1908-1910 (National Archives microfilm publications: M685)
- Report on exceptions with supplemental a roll 1909-1910 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Film 830439 to 830445
- Miscellaneous testimony token before special commissioners volume 1-10, FHL Films: 830440-830444
- Sizemore, Poindexter and Creek Testimonies FHL Film: 830444
- Combined index of Eastern Cherokee Rolls A-Z 1851 FHL Film 830445
- Chapman (1851), Drennen (1851), Siler (1854), Old Settler (1851), Hester (1851 and 1884), and Miscellaneous notes and drafts 1851. FHL Film: 830445
- Bob Blankenship, Guion Miller Roll "Plus" of Eastern Cherokee, East and West of Mississippi "1909" ([Cherokee, NC]: Cherokee Roots, 1994). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424gmr. Shows 62,769 names in two alphabetical lists (accepted, and rejected for court settlement). Each entry lists the Miller and Dawes numbers, relationship, age, blood degree, and town.
- Jeff Bowen, Cherokee Descendants: An Index to the Guion Miller Applications, 4 vols. (Signal Mountain, Tenn.: Mountain Press, 1996). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424bj ) The east, east supplemental, west, and west supplemental rolls are indexed separately. The names are listed alphabetically and show the Miller Roll application number. The children’s names are grouped with the parent, with ages indicated for each family member.
- Billy Dubois Edgington, and Carol Anne Buswell, Vital Information from the Guion Miller Roll: Eastern Cherokee Court of Claims, 1906–1909. ([Bountiful, Utah]: Heritage Books, 1999). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Compact disc no. 195; Book 970.3 C424eb. This index shows each person’s name, Miller application number, sex, and often spouse, maiden name, birth year, birth state, residence, and Soundex code. An appendix lists the surnames in order by Soundex code.
- Jerry Wright Jordan, Cherokee By Blood: Records of Eastern Cherokee Ancestry in the U. S. Court of Claims, 1906-1910, 9 vols. (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Press, 1987). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424j Each volume is indexed. This combines genealogical information abstracted from both the applications and the rolls.
- Jerry Wright Jordan, Index to the Applications to the Guion Miller Roll of Eastern Cherokees in USGenNet [website] (accessed 28 May 2012).
- Shirley Hoskins, Cherokee Blood (Tsa-la-gi-yi Gi-gv) (Chattanooga, Tenn.: [n.p.], 1983). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424hs v. 3 Indexed descendants lists compiled from the Miller rolls. Shows application number, descendants, birthplace, birth date, notes.
- Jo Ann Curls Page, Extract of the Rejected Applications of the Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Cherokee, 3 vols. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, c1999-2003). At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 970.3 C424pjc. Abstracts of nearly 60,000 rejected applications taken from microfilms of the National Archives Microfilm Publication M1104, rolls 1-348. Shows application number, name, state, birth year, spouse, father, mother, paternal grantparents, and maternal grandparents.
- Dawes Commission Enrollment Records
- Dawes Commission Enrollment Records for Five U.S. Indian Tribes
- The U.S. Eastern Cherokee or Guion Miller Roll
- American Indian Enrollment Records
- Josiah Hair, Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Cherokee: 27.Aug.1906 – 18.May.1909 in PowWows.com (accessed 9 May 2014).