Cherokee Ancestry

I am new to History Hub. How do I navigate through the website to find what I am looking for. My grandfather said either is grandpa or great grandma was 50% Cherokee. However, I'm not completely confident on the last name of that relative. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

    When embarking on Native American genealogy, please note that the records in the custody of NARA often only detail those living on the reservations or being administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If an ancestor was Native American and left the reservation or did not have interaction with the United States Government as such, they will not be recorded in NARA’s records and tracing their genealogy may be difficult.

    Some good places to start:

    • If your ancestors were documented members of a Native American tribe they may be listed in the series titled Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 (M595) in the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75). For more information about these non-digitized records, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at
    • They may also appear in the series Applications for Enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898 - 1914 (also known as the Dawes Rolls) in Record Group 75. Most of these records have been digitized and are available using the National Archives Catalog. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate a file unit regarding William East among the digitized records. For more information about the non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at Fort Worth (RM-FW) at We suggest that you review the NARA web page for Dawes Rolls as an overview of how to research that resource.
    • There is also the Eastern Cherokee Applications (NARA Microfilm Publication M1104, Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1909). We have recently uploaded digitized versions of these records on our online catalog that researchers can view on our online catalog: Enrollment Cards, 1898–1914 & Eastern Cherokee Applications, August 29, 1906–May 26, 1909)

    For more information on individual families found within our Native American records or for tips on genealogical research, please visit our website: Researching an Individual or Family | National Archives or Start Your Genealogy Research | National Archives.

    To learn more about similar posting from the History Hub community or to share things you learn you can look at the bottom right section of this post under the heading "Related". There should be a list of posts that relate similarly to your topic. You can also go to the search bar and type in keywords such as "Cherokee" to view other related inquiries.

    We hope this assists you with your research!


    Archives 1 Reference Branch (RR1R)

  • Thank you so much for all of the helpful information. I wasn't exactly sure where to start or how to go about researching. Thank you again!

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