2 Replies Latest reply on Jun 16, 2020 3:46 PM by Harv Hilowitz

    Seeking Native American heritage of Harvey Bear


      Hi all, I'm attempting to gather information regarding my potential Native American heritage. My paternal grandfather has spoke of his maternal grandfather being a Native American that was (potentially adopted). My grandfather who is 82 and has health issues that affect his memory has given me the name of Harvey "little" Bear. I found a grave site web page with information on his birth and death dates along with a birth location of Indiana but have had no luck with finding any other information out. His legal name is Harvey William Bear. I am trying to confirm is Native American ties (if any). Any information would be greatly appreciated. I will attach the two links that I was able to find to assist. Thank You!



        • Re: Seeking Native American heritage of Harvey Bear
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Sloan,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          If Harvey was living with Native American relations on a reservation, he would be counted as part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) tribal censuses conducted from roughly 1885 to 1945. For more information about those censuses and other records detailing individuals, please review NARA’s Researching an Individual or Family web pages.


          Not knowing what tribe means having to search through all of the censuses, as they are organized by tribe first. While NARA has microfilmed these records, the staff is still in the process of digitizing them. The censuses may be searched online using Ancestry, as you already have been searching. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Archives has partnered with Ancestry to make the vast majority of their NARA-digitized holdings freely available to the public. Anyone with Internet access may create an account, access NARA records, and use other Ancestry resources, such as their educational offerings and family tree-maker application. For more information see Ancestry’s announcement -- “Free At-Home Education Resources From Ancestry® and Access to Nearly 500M National Archives Records”.


          Or censuses may be searched online using Access Genealogy for free.


          If you locate at least his name and roughly the correct birth year in a census, you would have some names and a tribe to check to see if you have the right person. Please note that any Native American not living on a reservation will not be captured in the census conducted by the BIA. Unfortunately, this includes adoptions. Recordkeeping of adoptions was extremely poor, usually non-existent, and often no trail exists.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!


          [Information provided by Cody White, Subject Matter Expert]

          2 people found this helpful
          • Re: Seeking Native American heritage of Harvey Bear

            Mr. Sloan, The next steps I would suggest, if you haven't already done them, are to take a DNA test from a reputable DNA testing company, to see if you have any Native DNA, and then to contact members of the BEAR family that still live in Indiana. I went onto the Link you put in your inquiry and saw quite a few names in Indiana that likely have offspring there, who may be your relatives. When searching for family, always try to find living members first!


            Best of luck,

            -Harv Hilowitz