[APG Public List] Native American Research

eshown at comcast.net eshown at comcast.net
Thu Feb 18 22:01:32 MST 2010

Your heavy involvement in Oklahoma research, coupled with your statement
that you'd "like to build knowledge about searches of Native Americans in
Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Georgia and proofs of their
heritage," opens up dual issues.
Native American research can hinge upon both tribe and region. The Five
Civilized Tribes who ended up in Oklahoma present totally different research
situations depending (obviously) upon which of the five tribes you're
working with, but also (and not so obviously to most researchers) upon the
pre-Oklahoma area and time frame in which you are working. I think, from
what you've said, you understand this; but for those on the list who don't
work this region, I should explain: Research on, say, the Cherokee in
Alabama or North Carolina, before removal---or on the Seminole or the Creek
or the Choctaw before removal---requires significantly different resources
than research on any of these tribes after their relocation in Oklahoma or,
for some, the earlier Indian Territory in Arkansas.
Being an Oklahoma researcher, with experience in tracing various tribes of
that region, you undoubtedly know the records that exist at the various
tribal archives in Oklahoma, as well as the BIA post-removal records. 
Given your specific desire to build your research skills for the pre-removal
tribes in the Southeastern states, as well as the remnants of the tribes
that remained, the best guide for you would be Rachal Mills Lennon, Tracing
Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians Prior to
Removal (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002). 
This work, which originated as two lengthy articles in the NGS Quarterly,
provides historical and cultural perspective, research strategies, and the
most-comprehensive discussion of sources that is available for the topic.
The first major section of the book covers records created in the colonial
era and those created and maintained by the early state governments of the
South---all of which tend to be overlooked by most people in their search
for records on the Five Civilized Tribes. The second major section covers
records created by the federal government during the pre-removal period,
including materials of other federal agencies before the BIA existed.
There's also an extensive bibliography of published works, divided by tribe.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
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