Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Native American Genealogy

Twice this week, and many times over the years I have been the genealogy librarian here, I've had people ask me "how do I trace my American Indian heritage?" The short answer is "the same way you trace your other heritage." That in itself is not a short or easy process. A longer answer involves several questions. Why do you think you have American Indian heritage? Why do you want to know? Have you started tracing any of your family tree? If you feel certain you had Amerian Indian ancestors do you know which tribe(s)? The answers tell you where to go to begin or continue your research. There are several sources in our collection that can guide you. A Research Guide to the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma by Vickie L. Herron-Luster (Windmill Publications, 1997). A Student's Guide to Native American Genealogy by Barrie E. Kavasch (Oryx Press, 1996). How to Research American Indian Bloodlines by Cecelia Svinth-Carpenter (Heritage Quest 2001). Tracing Ancestors Among the Five Civilized Tribes by Rachel Mills Lennon (Genealogical Publishing Co. 2002). Black Indian Genealogy Research by Angela Y Walton-Raji (Heritage Books 1993). Each tribe has its own requirements for admittance and most have a web site that will tell you what you must do. Whatever your reason for wanting to know, get started in your family tree research and even if you don't find American Indian heritage you'll probably find some interesting people all the same.

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