Final Rolls of the Five Civilized TribesThe Dawes Rolls, also known as the "Final Rolls," are lists of individuals who were accepted as eligible for tribal membership in the Five Civilized Tribes - Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole. Those tribe members whose applications were accepted were entitled to an allotment of land, usually as a homestead, in return for abolishing their tribal governments and recognizing Federal laws.
Proving descent from the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw or Seminole tribes.
What are the Dawes Rolls?:
In 1893, President Grover Cleveland appointed a commission, chaired by Henry L. Dawes, to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes. As a result of the negotiations, tribe members were entitled to an allotment of land, in return for abolishing their tribal governments and recognizing Federal laws. In order to receive this land, each tribe member had to apply within the application period and meet certain eligibility requirements.
What You Can Learn From the Dawes Rolls:
The Dawes Rolls include the enrollee's name, sex, blood degree and census card number. The census card may include additional genealogical information, including the names of all members living in their household, their tribal enrollment their parent's names and tribal affilation, and reference to earlier rolls such as the 1880 Cherokee census. Original application jackets can sometimes contain supporting documentation such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses and correspondence.
Where Can I Acess the Dawes Rolls?:
The original Dawes Rolls census cards and applications are in the custody of the National Archives at Fort Worth, Texas. They are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, local Family History Centers, the National Archives and its Regional Archive centers. The National Archives has digitized the Index to the Final Rolls and made it freely available on their Web site (see below).
How to Search the Dawes Rolls:
To effectively search for an individual in the Dawes Rolls, you'll need to know at least the individual's name and the name of the tribe. One of the best places to look for this information is the 1900 census, where special schedules identify the tribe of individuals living in predominantly Indian areas. If your ancestor was living among the general population, then do some research to learn which tribes were in the area.
Once you know your ancestor's name and tribe, you can search the Index to the Final Rolls on the National Archives Web site. If you find your ancestor in the index, then you can access their entry in the Final Rolls through NARA's Archival Research Catalog (ARC). Click the yellow search button and enter "Final Rolls" (without the quotes) into the keyword box. Also check the box for "Descriptions of Archival Materials linked to digital copies."
While in the Archival Research Catalog, be sure to check the census cards available online. Only a portion of the Census Cards are described on the NARA Web site, however, and none for the Choctaw. These can be searched by entering the person's name in the ARC search box.