Researching American Indians and Alaska Natives

Didnít find your individual or family in the Dawes Rolls? Try these additional sources:

  • Check the microfilm publication T529, Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory for individuals or families who were rejected, stricken, or judged doubtful for enrollment. This microfilm is not online as of May 2014.
  • Check the 1896 Applications to determine if an earlier application had been submitted.
  • Check earlier tribal rolls. Select publications are available online.
  • Consider if the individual or family were part of the Eastern Cherokee Tribe. Check the Guion Miller Rolls on microfilm roll M1104, Eastern Cherokee Applications of the U.S. Court of Claims.
Dawes Records
Census Cards Pertaining to Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole Tribes in Oklahoma

Census Cards (Enrollment Cards)

The Dawes Commission prepared Census Cards for each "family group" to record information about the applicants and actions taken by the Commission and the Secretary of Interior.

Many researchers begin by examining Dawes Census Cards before searching Enrollment Jackets and Land Allotment Jackets. From the Census Cards, note following:

  • Tribe and enrollment category - Click here for a listing.
  • Census Card Number - Located in the cardís upper right hand corner.
  • Enrollment Number - Found on the cardís left side, only found for approved applicants.

These details can be found throughout the various records created by the Dawes Commission. They will help to verify that you are tracking the same individual or family.

Locating the Index and Census Cards

  • A digitized copy of the original Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes) is available online for free through the National Archives. This index provides the enrollment and Census Card number.
  • The individual Census Cards are indexed, digitized, and available online at Ancestry.com (database titled Native American Enrollment Cards) and Fold3.com (database titled Dawes Enrollment Cards).
  • Prior to digitization, these records were accessible via microfilm publication M1186, Enrollment Cards of the Five Civilized Tribes.
  • Visit our Online Catalog for the full archival records description: National Archives Identifier 251747.
  • The National Archives at Fort Worth can provide a copy of census cards for a fee.
    Request copies through email: ftworth.archives@nara.gov. Please include the:
    • Indvidual's or family's name
    • Tribe
    • Enrollment number
    • Card number

Deciphering the Census Cards

Each sample includes both an original and an annotated copy.

Approved Dawes Census Card Sample
This PDF includes a sample of an original document followed by an annotated copy.

Rejected Dawes Census Card Sample
This PDF includes a sample of an original document followed by an annotated copy.

Denied Freedmen Dawes Census Card Sample
This PDF includes both sides of an original document followed by an annotated copy.

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Researching American Indians and Alaska Natives >

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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