Back to top

Up a Tree?

Published on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:22am

Have you always heard that you have Native American ancestors in your family tree? Figuring out if that is true may be challenging since there are 573 federally recognized tribes―not including Alaska Native tribes. One of the first things you will need to do is determine what parts of your family stories are true. That is where genealogy research comes in. Although taking a DNA test may seem like a shortcut, it cannot replace research.

A DNA test can tell you if you have Native American heritage, but it will not tell you which tribe. You will need to begin like any other genealogist by gathering names, dates, and places and then finding your ancestors in census and vital records. Then you will need to examine your family tree to see if there are reasonable connections to a Native American tribe.

The Midwest Genealogy Center has some great resources to help with your Native American research. A new collection of Aaron Carapella’s Tribal Nations maps from the United States, the Caribbean, and Mexico can help you determine what tribes were living in the area where your ancestors lived. Fold3’s Native American collection contains records such as Indian Census Rolls and Dawes applications.

If one of your ancestors may have belonged to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, or Seminole tribes, sign up for the class Native American Research: The Five Civilized Tribes on Wednesday, April 24, at 2:00 p.m. You can also use MGC’s topical guide, Native American Research Guide for Five Civilized Tribes: Step-by-Step, or browse through our records on microfilm to help you with your research. With all these great resources, you will no longer be up a tree (or the wrong tree)!

Jolene C.
Midwest Genealogy Center

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Resources You May Also Like

Events You May Also Like

Using Interlibrary Loan for Genealogy

Tue, Jul 16 2019
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Registration Required
Use Interlibrary Loan to expand the walls of your library and encompass a world of information. Come learn how to order microfilmed newspapers from across the country and books from other libraries.

Introduction to Internet Genealogy

Thu, Jun 13 2019
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Registration Required
Discover the best genealogy websites for your research. This is a beginner-level class for adults. Basic computer literacy is needed to follow along.

German Research Discussion Group

Sat, Jul 20 2019
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Registration Required
The German Research Discussion Group presents and preserves genealogical information about the German regions, traces German ancestors, and fosters a better understanding of the lives they led.

Blogs You May Also Like


The Cherokee Freedmen: Slaves of the Tribe

If you have African American ancestors in your family tree, you may struggle to find genealo
Read More
Ladner grave

Veterans Salute

My great-grandfather, Charles Curnow Ladner, did not live to see Armistice Day in 1918.
Read More
retro phone

Good Call!

My kids remind me all the time that as a genealogist, I talk about some strange topics.
Read More
slovak calendar

Do You Celebrate Your Name Day?

Recently, someone showed me an old German postcard that gave best wishes for the recipient’s “name day.” A que
Read More
Was this page helpful?
Would you like an email response?