Published on October 21, 2011 by Amy
For many Native Americans living in the United States today, their family history is something they want to learn more about. Finding out which tribe their families belonged to, its cultures and impact on their daily lives is something of extreme significance. For many, it is difficult to know exactly where to begin in order to trace their Native American genealogy. Fortunately there are some wonderful resources available to assist. 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. Information such as pay rolls, annual tribal census data, and information about Indians who lived on reservations from around 1830 to 1940 are contained within. The Bureau 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.
Today, there are 561 officially recognized Indian tribes in the United States. The purpose of the bureau is to keep records and provide Native Americans with vital information that will assist them in tracing their roots. In addition there are resources known as the National Archives. These archives do not assist people individually in tracing their roots, but they do provide a great resource for all who are willing to do their own research. This information contains family background such as blood types, sex, family names, residence, and even occupation. This kind of information can be absolutely invaluable for people looking to research their own Native American genealogy, or that of others.
Census records are another helpful method 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 almost 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 them up on it.
For the individual, it’s really up to them to use the resources that are available and do a little bit of their own legwork. There are vast amounts of information out there that can help lead you to your Indian roots. Perhaps the best way, however, is through 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.