Researching American Indians and Alaska Natives

The Dawes Rolls
(Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory)

Step 3: Use the Index to the Final Rolls online

Did you know?

  • The Dawes Commission rejected nearly two-thirds of the applications for enrollment. Those who were rejected also have census cards and application jackets available for research. NARA's Fort Worth facility has indexes available on microfilm for those rejected as Cherokee or Choctaw. Fort Worth also has the applications of those who applied to the Dawes Commission in 1896, all of which were declared invalid.

Step 3: Use the Index to the Final Rolls online

There are two ways to navigate these pages.
You can:
  • Open up a second browser window and do your own search simultaneously while following along the steps in this example. Or,

  • You can print these pages out (see PDF link above), and do your own search later.
  • Before you begin, you should know which of the five tribes your ancestor was in since the index is organized by tribal name.
  • The Dawes Rolls only includes records of Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles, so if the person you are looking for was in another tribe, you will not find them in the Dawes Rolls.
  • If you do not yet have the name/tribe information for the person, the 1900 Census may be of assistance to you.
  • There are links to other online resources for Native American research on the Step 5: What You Can Do Next page.

Begin Searching in the Final Rolls Index
  1. To begin the search for your ancestor in the Final Rolls online index, you need the person's name and their tribe. The index of people accepted by the Dawes Commission has been digitized in NARA's Online Catalog (OPA).

    This is what you will see when you arrive at this page:

    Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes)

    Index to Final Rolls | Descriptive Information | More Native American links


    Page No. Title Image Size
    ACover page (174729 bytes)
    B Errata (210406 bytes)
    C Errata (223602 bytes)
    D Errata(213535 bytes)
    1 Choctaw by Blood(179663 bytes)
    2 Choctaw by Blood(230068 bytes)
    3 Choctaw by Blood(226025 bytes)

    Note that the tribes are listed, but are not in alphabetical order.

  2. Scroll down until you find your tribe.

    Tip: In most cases, the Dawes Rolls categorized people using a matriarchal system, i.e. it's based on the mother's race. For example, if one's mother was Cherokee and father was a Freedman, the person will be listed under Cherokee by Blood. If one's mother is a Freedman and one's father is Cherokee, the person will be listed under Cherokee Freedmen. Other categories include by Marriage, by Intermarriage, Minors, and Newborn. So you may want to look in several places.

  3. As an example for how to find someone in the index, let's look for Napoleon Ainsworth, who we believe was a member of the Choctaws. So scroll down until you see the Choctaw tribe listed. We find them at the very top.

  4. When you find the tribe you're looking for, start clicking on the pages until you find the person you are looking for. You will see that the names are alphabetical by first letter. You may have to click through several pages before you find the correct page. Use the alphabet as your guide.

    In this case, we start clicking on the Choctaw by Blood pages. We start on page 1, since his last name begins with the letter "A", and we find Napoleon Ainsworth on page 2. This is what we find:

    Page from Dawes Rolls Index

  5. Note that the pages in the index include a list of names, with Roll Numbers next to each name. Make note of the Roll Number next to the person you are looking for.

    Since Napoleon Ainsworth is the person we are looking for in this example, and he has Roll Number 8938 next to his name, this means he will be the 8938th name on the Final Rolls list in the section dealing with Choctaw. We write down Napoleon B. Ainsworth, Roll No. 8938.

    Next Step:

  6. If you found your person in the index, you are now ready to look up your person in the Final Rolls online. Go to Step 4: The Final Rolls
    If you did not find the person you are looking for, you can proceed to Step 5: What You Can Do Next.

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