Is it possible to have Native American Ancestry verified by an expert ?

+1 vote
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in The Tree House by Anonymous Roberts G2G Crew (820 points)

1 Answer

+2 votes
If the relationships are documented, yes.  Some tribes offer genealogy services, some will recommend professional genealogists with the correct expertise.  All Federally recognized tribes have a “base roll,”  a list of the people all citizens of that tribe must descend from.

There are very few records in the United States which include Native American familes prior to the 1850’s. The Moravians sent missionaries to several tribes in the late 1700’s.  Catholic church records in Canada, New Mexico, and California go back in some cases to the1500’s. All of these records were made by whites who rarely spoke the native language, sometimes attempted to transliterate native names, and sometimes used German, French, Spanish, Latin, or English names.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (362k points)
edited by Kathie Forbes
So I was to understand if you have the list of descending ancestors with their birth records....it was one method of proof...I understand the Rolls and know neither Chief Bratton or Chief Hagler are on them
All tribes require proof of direct descent from someone on their base roll for citizenship.  Many have additional requirements such as residency, minimum blood quantum, etc.  Many people have relatives who are (or were) tribal citizens, but who don’t qualify for tribal citizenship.  You still need to be able to document a biological connection to a person who was recognized as a tribal citizen to claim to be a descendant.   

If the people you refer to are not on a roll, how do you know they were members of a tribe?  Are they included in historical accounts of the tribe?

The first step to documenting a possible Native American ancestor is to trace and document your family back as far as possible until you connect with a person who lived in a place and at a time with Native Americans, and to then look in tribal and historical records for a connection. If you are finding your ancestors in United States records before 1840, odds are high that they were not Indians.  Read the history of the tribe you think your ancestor was from, research the places they lived and when they lived there. Many eastern tribes were wiped out in the 17th century, others were forced farther and farther west in the 18th.  Almost all southeastern Indians were forced west by the 1830's (the Cherokee were the last to leave, in 1838.)
“King” Heigler is a well-documented historical figure from the middle of the 18th century. He became head of the Catawba in 1749 after most of the tribe was killed by  an epidemic. So many died that South Carolina Governor Glen wrote, “I am afraid it must End in the Total destruction of that poor Nation... “ Letter to the Board of Trade, Colonial Office, Dec. 23, 1749.    He was killed by a Shawnee about 1763.  No records mention any family.

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