Published on November 28, 2011 by Amy
For many Native Americans in the United States today, family history is something they want to explore. Finding out which tribe their families belonged to, its traditions and the impact on their daily lives is important and there are resources available to assist you in your search. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is perhaps the largest database of records and histories of Native American tribes in the country.
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These archives contain a great deal of information, especially for Indians who retained their tribal status. Contained within is information such as pay rolls, annual tribal census data, and information about Indians who lived on reservations circa 1830 to 1940. The Bureau keeps records and provides Native Americans with information to assist them in tracing their roots. It also helps to maintain and keep track of over 50 million acres of land within the United States that has been designated as official Native American reservations. There is also the National Archives. These archives do not assist people individually in tracing their roots, but they do provide a resource for those willing to do their own research. You’ll find family background information such as blood types, sex, family names, residence, and even occupation. This kind of information can be invaluable for people looking to research their own Native American genealogy, or that of others.
Today, there are 561 officially recognized Indian tribes in the United States. Census records are another helpful means of researching Native American genealogy. The US census has been existence for many years, and many old census records help us to better understand what the Native American population was like and where it was located in earlier times. Since there were so many different tribes, and because many of the tribes moved about the country, tracking their beginnings and whereabouts is difficult. Many organizations will not assist people looking to trace their heritage specifically, but rather will offer up a large amount of information that the person can sift through themselves. This is because the process of tracing Native American genealogy can be extremely time consuming, and sometimes near impossible. If everyone could simply contact an organization and get someone to research their family genes and history for free, millions of people would take advantage of it.
It’s really up to the individual to use the resources that are available and do your own legwork. There are vast amounts of information out there that can help lead you to your Indian roots. Try networking with family members and other Native Americans. A person’s history and bloodline is very important, and tracing Native American genealogy is a very significant method of finding one’s beginnings.