Native American Research
Does your family have a tradition of having Native American ancestry? Would you like to find out if this is true, or not? Have you been having some difficulty with this quest? If so, ProGenealogists can help. We have experts who specialize in tracing and documenting Native American genealogies.
When tracing a Native American family, researchers at ProGenealogists use a wide variety of record sources and methodologies. The number of hours it will take for us to research and extend your Native American ancestry will depend on the tribe your ancestor may have belonged to, and the time period in which they lived.
Interestingly, many Americans have stories or traditions about a Native American ancestor somewhere in their family tree. With the rich cultural history of Native Americans, it is only natural for those interested in family history to explore this intriguing side of their heritage. Finding one's Native American roots can be quite a challenge.
Different tribes kept different records—some more than others—and most did not even begin keeping records until the early 20th century. In fact, early than the 20th century, many Native Americans did not have any records created about them at all—not by the Federal Government or by their tribe. They governed themselves separately and still do, today. Those Native Americans who left their tribe's reservations in the 19th and 20th centuries would work hard to integrate with the mainstream society. Sometimes they'd go so far as to refuse to declare their Native American race on official records (birth, marriage, and death) due to the prejudiced views and laws that were practiced at the time. Sometimes Native American children were wrested from their birth families and tribe to be placed with "white" families and lost touch with their Native American roots. Thus, researching your Native American ancestry can become quite frustrating and complicated. It is not unusual for individuals to seek professional genealogists for assistance.
There are two primary goals that our clients generally have when it comes to their Native American research:
- Documenting for tribal membership or scholarship purposes.
- Tracing a documented lineage further back in time.
Documenting Native American Ancestry
Many people with traditions of a Native American ancestor wish to document their lineage for a variety of purposes. Most wish to join a tribe, some seek possible minority business and educational opportunities and others simply have a curiosity to know their origins.
Before engaging a professional genealogist to document your Native American ancestry, it is important to remember that this type of research can be time consuming for reasons explained above. The majority of cases where Native American ancestry has been successfully documented have required at least 20 to 30 hours of in-depth research.
While many people have traditions of a Native American ancestor, most stories, after careful research and analysis, prove to be incorrect or unfounded. Sometimes it is recommended to try DNA testing. But currently, there are few DNA companies who have an ethnic DNA test to pinpoint percentage of Native American ancestry. When our client's family tree really does have Native American ancestry, we have been successful in proving and documenting it.
Once research has been undertaken and Native American ancestry proved, there is still the hurdle of application and acceptance into the tribe. It is important to bear in mind, when engaging any professional genealogist to help you, that there is no guarantee that once successful research is complete, that the tribe will accept you as a member. New member admittance is up to each individual tribal council. The councils are not obligated to grant tribal membership, regardless of how well a lineage may be documented. There have been cases where ProGenealogists was able to successfully document a tribal lineage, but the tribe's rolls were closed. The tribe's council would not even open the client's application.
Extending Native American Pedigrees
If you already have a documented tribal connection, great! You may already even have your CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood). But, you may now simply wish to extend your ancestry. There are several factors that can determine how far back a line can be traced. The biggest factor will be the tribe your ancestors belonged.
As a general rule, members of the Five Civilized Tribes
, including Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole, have the best chance of tracing their genealogies beyond the 1900s. This because there were better records created about these tribes—especially the Cherokee. Cherokee ancestry can sometimes be traced to the early 1800s.
Western and Plain States tribes are harder to trace much beyond the mid-to-late 1800s due to the fact that records were often not created until the early 1900s.
Extending a Native American ancestry can be time consuming, depending on which tribe your ancestor belonged. It can usually require 20-30 hours of in-depth research.
Get a Free Estimate
Let one of the professionals at ProGenealogists to provide you with an estimate to research your Native American ancestry. Every family is unique. By filling out our free estimate form, you can provide us basic information about your family. With that, we can determine how many hours it may take to reach your goal. We have decades of experience in Native American and United States records and we can make a skilled and trusted evaluation of feasibility and costs.