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Myra Gormley’s Cherokee Genealogy Research attempts gives you as much useful information as you’ll ever need to get started in your research. It provides an overview of the facts you need to know in order to begin and proceed successfully with your research: it covers Cherokee history, surnames, migrations, and basic genealogical resources, describing original documents as well as the latest online resources.
The largest Native-American tribe, the Cherokees are associated primarily with the state of Oklahoma, which was formed in 1907 by a merger of Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory, though smaller groups of Cherokees are found in North Carolina and elsewhere. Not all groups are federally recognized, and while a great many Americans claim some degree of Cherokee blood, there are only three Cherokee groups that have official status: The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, and The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (North Carolina).
The most useful records in Cherokee research are membership rolls, which were designed to allocate reservation lands, provide annuities, and pay compensation. Not all Cherokees are named in these rolls, because certain individuals did not meet the specific requirements for enrollment, but starting with the 1817 Reservation Roll, membership rolls are the best documentary sources available, and this handy research guide identifies the twenty most important rolls, including the 1835 Henderson Roll (called the Trail of Tears Roll), the 1848 Mullay Roll, which was the first census of the Eastern Band of Cherokees, the 1852 Drennen Roll, which was the first census of Cherokees living in northeastern Oklahoma, and the 1898-1906 Dawes Roll, which established official tribal enrollment of the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles.
Like all publications in the Genealogy at a Glance series, Cherokee Genealogy Research provides all the instruction you need to get you started in your research, including research tips, references to key publications, and an indispensable list of online resources.