Dawes Rolls

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1893 to 1907
Location: [unknown]
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So what are the Dawes Rolls, anyway?

Dawes Rolls Index

The Dawes Act, passed by Congress in 1887, called for the allotment of land for all Native peoples in the United States. The Dawes Rolls (or Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes, or Dawes Commission Final Rolls) were created by the United States Dawes Commission. The Commission was authorized by United States Congress in 1893 to execute the General Allotment Act of 1887. A further act of Congress on April 26, 1906, closed the rolls effective March 5, 1907. An additional 312 persons were enrolled under an act approved August 1, 1914. Wikipedia: Dawes Rolls

The Dawes Rolls are the lists of individuals who were accepted as eligible for a land allotment for the "Five Civilized Tribes": Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles. (The rolls do not include those whose applications were stricken, rejected or judged as doubtful.) Individuals had to live in their tribal nation in Indian Territory by 1896 and still be alive and living there in 1903 in order to be included on the Dawes. There was a special process for children born between 1896 and 1907 and birth affidavits were required. Those found eligible for the Final Rolls were entitled to an allotment of land, usually as a homestead.

Dawes Census Card

The Rolls contain more than 101,000 names from 1898-1914 (primarily from 1899-1906). Today these five tribes continue to use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining tribal membership. They usually require applicants to provide proof of descent from a person who is listed on these rolls.

For further study on the Dawes Act of 1887, please visit the Dawes Act WikiTree page.

To better understand the Dawes Census Cards, please visit the Dawes Census Card WikiTree page.

Is that my ancestor on the Dawes Rolls?

Only if you can answer YES to the following questions:

Did he or she live in Indian Territory between 1895 and 1905? To be on the Dawes you had to live in Indian Territory by 1896 and still be there (and alive) in 1903 or be listed as a Mississippi Choctaw who had moved to Indian Territory during the Dawes period and met certain other requirements. Children born between 1896 and 1907 were also eligible with proof of birth to qualifying parents.

Was he or she Cherokee (including some Adopted Delaware and Shawnee), Choctaw (including some Mississippi Choctaw), Creek(Muscogee), Chickasaw, or Seminole, the white spouse of a tribal member, or a person formerly enslaved by a tribal member (Freedman)? The Dawes only applied to those tribes, certain spouses, and certain Freedmen. Other tribes in Indian Territory or Oklahoma territory are not included. White spouses were only eligible if married before 1876.

Did he or she live in the area controlled by his her or tribe? Cherokee had to live in the Cherokee Nation, Choctaw in the Choctaw Nation, etc.

If you answered yes to all the questions, the next step is to search the index to the rolls for your ancestor.

Free indexes to the Final Rolls can be found on-line at the National Archives at https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/rolls/final-rolls.html, at Access genealogy https://accessgenealogy.com/native/final-rolls-index.htm, and at the Oklahoma Historical Society at https://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes. You can also search on Ancestry and Fold3. Digitized images of supporting documents can be found at Ancestry.com and Fold3.com ($); copies can be ordered from the National Archives.

The searchable index will give you the person’s tribe, status (by blood, intermarried white, freedman, minor), age, sex, roll number and sometimes the names of other family members. Each person has a census card number (each family unit has the same card number) and a roll number (unique to each person when combined with their status). Use this information to determine whether you have a “same-name” situation or you have found your ancestor.

Use Fold3 or Ancestry to find the actual census card and “jacket” for that card. Sometimes the only way to determine if the person on the roll is your ancestor is to look at the actual card and jacket.The census cards vary slightly by tribe, but also include the names of the person’s parents and whether they were tribal citizens or not. Many cards contain information on earlier census records and other notes. The jacket contains the original application and sometimes supporting documents like marriage records or birth affidavits.

Where Do I Find The Dawes Rolls Online?

Oklahoma Historical Society
What information do I need before I search?
You will need to trace your way back to a direct ancestor who was living in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) during the enrollment period, 1898–1906. If the individual was a married woman, you should look for her under her married name.
About the 1896 Applications for Enrollment
The census and enrollment of 1896 was disregarded and was not used as a basis for enrollment. This was due to some individuals and families being enrolled by the federal courts, which did not have the jurisdiction to determine who was a citizen and who was not. For years the 1896 enrollment of the members of the Five Tribes has created issues for genealogists, but now may provide clues that lead to other discoveries.
National Archives
The most requested Dawes Commission records are Census Cards, Enrollment Jackets, and Land Allotment Jackets. Researchers generally start with Census Cards and then continue with Enrollment Jackets and Land Allotment Jackets.
Download this flowchart from the NARA
Dawes Rolls Tutorial
Step 1: Introduction
Step 2: Check to see if the person's Census Card is described online
Step 3: Use the Index to the Final Rolls online
Step 4: Look up the Person in the Final Rolls online
Step 5: What You Can Do Next?
Accesses the Dawes Rolls at NARA
Access Genealogy
This is the index to the names of individuals entitled to enrollment on the rolls of the various tribes comprising the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). Each index entry gives an enrollee’s name and final roll number. After a person’s enrollment category and final roll number have been determined, the final rolls can be searched to discover the enrollee’s census card number. Not all roll numbers mentioned in this index, have a corresponding person mentioned in the Dawes Roll.
Ancestry.com (Requires Subscription)
Fold3.com (Requires Subscription)
See Also



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