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There are several different types of records at the National Archives that could be valuable for your family research. Keep in mind that many of them are not digitized and may require some in person research at one of our facilities. Also, 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 interact with the United States Government as such, they will not be recorded in NARA’s records and tracing their genealogy may be difficult.
One series that might be a good place to start is the Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 (M595) in the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75). There is some great information about those here. There is also an index (that is incomplete at this point) on FamiySearch if you want to start here. FamilySearch is a free site, but you do need to create an account to view their content.
For more information about these records, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at email@example.com.
Another series that contains Cherokee records are the Applications for Enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898 - 1914 (also known as the Dawes Rolls) in the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75). Most of these records have been digitized and are available using the Catalog. For more information about the non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at Fort Worth (RM-FW) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We suggest that you review the NARA web page for Dawes Rolls as an overview of how to research that resource.
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 5 series in the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75) that include records pertaining to the Cherokee removal. For more information, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at email@example.com.
Other resources we have that might be of use are NARA’s Native American Heritage, NARA’s Resources for Genealogists, and the FamilySearch Research wiki for Indigenous Peoples of the United States Genealogy may be useful.
You may also want to check the Department of Interior Tribal Enrollment website for information on how to obtain tribal citizenship.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck on your research!
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