Native American Genealogy

Researching Native American genealogy can be difficult for someone without direct tribal access. As a member of a tribe it is easier to trace one's genealogical record because of the oral traditions kept within families. Due to this oral tradition and the lack of early birth, death, and marriage records, it is much more difficult for someone who merely suspects a connection.

There are currently 562 Native American tribes recognized by the United States government. However, this does not include the numbers of tribes that no longer exist. Some people may have ancestors who were members of tribes that no longer have a formal presence, which can make research more difficult.

The state with the largest number of recognized Native Americans is Oklahoma. However, not all people with an indigenous heredity are currently considered Native Americans. The Akaka Bill proposes to change the status of native Hawaiians to recognize them as Native Americans which would give Hawaii the largest number of recognized Native Americans.

Indian tribal records can be a valuable source of information for someone research genealogy. Information on treaties and movements to reservations can give indications of places of birth or death. Adoption records can help locate biological parents.

For people with solid information such as place of residence or surname, the Census Bureau has a wealth of information.

When people have very little to go on, the services of a professional genealogist may be beneficial. Genealogists specialize in a number of areas, including Native Americans. These people have experience sifting through specific cultural history and may be able to more easily find helpful resources.

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