Thread: Native Research
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Old 11-17-2014, 11:45 AM   #4
Josiah
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Rolls not Roles

Lets dig into what most people are looking for in this site and that is to establish if they have a Cherokee in the past.

Today you are identified by your First Name, Middle Name and Last Name. Even with all three you may need to use a Birthdate or physical address just to establish your identity.

Actually, not much has changed when it comes to research. I also use siblings if known and any other tidbit of information to establish if the person I have found is direct kin or somebody of a similar name.
If I heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times when somebody comes to me asking for help after they found somebody listed on the Dawes Index with a name they believe is kin! I will ask them how did they establish that was there kin? What category are they? What is there age? Where did they live? Did their ancestor actually reside within the boundaries of the old nation in Indian Territory??
These are very important questions that need to be answered during the process of vetting the name you have found. And if not answered fully you will never know for sure this is your ancestor.

Did I say this is very hard to do??
Native Research is Hard to do.

It is Hard to research if you do not know WHY the roll was created. It is Hard to do if you don't know WHAT the Roll consists of and How it is organized. It is hard to do if you don't know WHERE it was accomplished.

A couple of very common myths that I hear just about everyday while chatting with folks about Cherokee Research is this:
1) My kinfolk left the Cherokee Reservation to avoid Dawes Commission. (Cherokees in Indian Territory were not on a Reservation but Sovereign Land Governed by the Government of the Cherokee Nation which included Laws, Law Enforcement and a Court system)
2) My Kinfolk Hid in the hills of the Cherokee Nation and thus avoided the sweep of the Dawes Commission. (The Dawes commission hired Cherokees to go into the nation to find those that did not want to enroll they used neighbors, kinfolk, to establish if the people they had listed on the census of 1896 and 1880 were still living then enrolled them!)

History lesson!!!
Dawes Act of 1896 was commissioned to allot 160 acres of land to the individual head of house or 80 acres to single Adult.
This list was established by using the Cherokee Nation's own Census of 1880 and 1896. It is fairly easy to compare those documents to those that were listed on the Final Roll of 1907. Looking for MISSING CHEROKEES... Hmm so the list was created from the TRIBE'S own listings of WHOM they RECOGNIZED as TRIBAL MEMBERS... AS a matter of fact those that the Tribal Lawyer fought to be excluded in the Dawes listing some 113 were in fact Wealthy Whites attempting to gain land... So why would somebody run away from Free Land? Why would thousands upon thousands Run to Indian Territory to get this land? In fact tried to establish that they were Cherokee only to be rejected due to the fact they were never recognized by the very tribe they were attempting to be.

Ok so you don't have an ancestor listed on the Dawes Roll for whatever reason. Well all is not lost, for there was another ROLL that was accomplished at the SAME TIME called the GUION MILLER Roll!! In this roll, money was owed to the any individual that could established that they were either listed or a descendant of two previous rolls called the Drennon Roll of 1851 or Chapman roll of 1850. Physical location did not exclude you from this roll it was only concerned with the fact that you were part of the Cherokee nation living in either the East or West. The only group excluded were Old Settler Cherokees, because they were covered by a different treaty in 1896. By the way this roll is one of the most important rolls for researching Cherokee Ancestry ever created! for on this roll I can look up and find the maiden name of the wife of the head of house, I can see the listings of all the siblings it in some cases list both the English and CHEROKEE names back several generations! A treasure trove of information!!

Do your research
Read up on history
Look at maps

Don't pay attention to myth and hearsay, establish for your self what is fact

One last thought

The earliest Roll that was done on the Cherokees was in 1817 and does not include the whole nation only those that wish to move to Arkansas. In fact if you find an ancestor on there they are probably Old Settler and a part of the UKB today.
Anything earlier than this is Very difficult to establish with any certainty unless you don't care for facts.
Then by all means...
Embrace the Myth!
But don't call it research
Call it
Fiction.
And please add a Disclaimer
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ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
Till I Die!

Last edited by Josiah; 11-17-2014 at 11:50 AM..
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