Cherokee by Blood, Part 2
Many of the tools used for searching your Cherokee ancestors will also apply for any readers whose ancestry is from another tribe. Naturally the rolls would be different, but many tips found in the following article should prove useful.
As with many tribes, the Cherokee did not always use EuroAmerican names or may have been known by various names during their lifetime. Even a life-altering event could lead to the change or a name or an addition. The Cherokee are a matrilinial society, meaning that direct descent came through the mother. In addition, the close-knit family culture designated any child -- even an orphan -- as a member of that clan or family. A positive attribute for children was that each was accepted and treated as a full family member. There was no discrimination or inequality in that acceptance. In genealogical research, however, that acceptance can be a hinderance. For example, family stories of a brother or sister could actually refer to a cousin.
If you are researching your Cherokee ancesty, see "Cherokee by Blood, Part 1" of this article series for information on the books of the same name which are a translation of the Guion Miller rolls and applications. I also recommend:
"Exploring Your Cherokee ancestry : A Basic Genealogical Research guide" Author: Thomas G. Mooney. Published by the Cherokee National Historical Society, 1987, Tahlequah, Okla.
If your library does not have the book, or cannot obtain it through an inter-library loan, it should be available for purchase from the Cherokee Museum, Tahlequah, OK 74464.
A review of my article outlining the records available through the National Archives and Records Administration will explain how to get to the site and to order copies of roll records. When you make your request, particluarly with the Dawes Commission rolls, be sure to ask for copies of all information in the Dawes packets. This will include transcripts of interviews and in many cases documentation on births, deaths and marriages.
Remember that geographically you will be searching for your Cherokee ancestors in two major areas: In Indian Territory, (Oklahoma) and in North Carolina. However, there were also Cherokee tribes in Alabama, Arkansa, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas as well as Mexico. That doesn't count those members of the Cherokee nation, or any other nation for that matter, that chose to live apart from the rest of the tribes.
Please check my Native Links section for more Cherokee resources on the world-wide web.
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