How can I find information on adopted children or children placed in foster care from a cherokee indian tribe?

Hello, I have an unusual background which has made it almost impossible to find any real information about my heritage.  My birth mom was placed in foster care, her mother was a caucasian woman and her father was full blooded Cherokee Indian.  Which would make me one quarter Cherokee but I do not know the name of her father and I am trying to find her birth certificate although I do know her name.  Problem is she has taken on the last name of her step father who I believe adopted her.  She is the oldest of 7 children and she is the only one with different DNA on her father's side than the other children.  This tells me that her mother possibly had an unplanned pregnancy with a man who was Cherokee and once married to the father of the remaining children, he adopted my mom.  

My mother gave birth to me when she was 16 and ended up allowing my paternal grandparents to adopt me.  As you can see, there are so many obstacles to try and get through to find any history of heritage.  I desperately need help and hope someone has some tips.


    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the repository of the historical, non-current records of the U.S. Government. We provide information about our records, make them available in our research rooms, and provide copies of records for a fee. We are not staffed to provide general research or genealogical services.

    Moreover, we do not have a simple way to help you research your Native American ancestry. There is no single list of everyone of Native American heritage that we can consult.

    Consequently, tracing Native American ancestry can be very difficult. While NARA has custody of historical Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) records in Record Group 75, the BIA has only been responsible for managing the government’s relationship with Native Americans living on a federally recognized reservation or who maintained a formal affiliation with a federally recognized tribe. There was not the same level of federal oversight of Native American adoptions historically as there is today. Currently, the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) sets federal requirements for child custody proceedings involving Native American children from federally recognized tribes. However, the ICWA was not passed until 1978.

    Moreover, the federal government does not ordinarily create or maintain birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption, or burial records. Such records are made and kept by state and local governments rather than the National Archives. For information on these records, please contact the appropriate state, territory, or local bureau of vital statistics. To locate the state or territory office to contact regarding vital records, please visit:

    We invite you to continue the conversation with community members on History Hub, but should you have follow-up questions for the staff at Archives 1, please email us at so that we can assist you further.

    We hope this assists you with your research!

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