Sunday, May 18, 2008

Using the Dawes Rolls to find your Cherokee ancestor - 5 -

*Answer to a recent e-mail question on how to find "Grandfather" REAMS or REAMES on the Cherokee Rolls. This person had contacted the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina and had found ‘nothing useful’. *

The Cherokee Nation (Eastern Band) of North Carolina completed their registration Roll in 1924. This was called the Baker Roll, and it used several previous Rolls in North Carolina as a basis for admission. Not all Cherokee descendants registered. They may not have been living in that area at that time, they may not have wanted to identify themselves as Indians, or they may not have had enough money to pay the application fees. These application fees were approximately equal to two to three
months wages at the time.

This persons ancestors may have applied for the Miller Roll in 1906, which was voluntary and covered the whole US and its possessions. The application fee was a bit less expensive and there was a chance of receiving some money from the Miller Roll. This Roll listed the names ofthe Heads of House, Maiden names of spouses, Year and Place of birth, and their residence in 1906, town, county, and state.

To start any search, you need to know about what year your ancestor was born and about what year they died. You also need to know where they lived during their life. Especially important is where did they live during the dates of the various Rolls. If they lived in the right area at the right time, they have a good chance of them being on that Roll.

Going back in time, the Rolls were

1924 - Baker Roll - North Carolina and surrounding states

1908 - Churchill Roll - North Carolina and surrounding states

1906 - Miller Roll - anywhere in the US or its possessions

1900 - Dawes Roll - Oklahoma Territory and surrounding states

1883 - Hester Roll - North Carolina and surrounding states

1880 - Cherokee National Census - Oklahoma and surrounding areas

1869 - Swetland Roll - North Carolina and surrounding states

1852 - Chapman Roll - Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and surrounding states

1852 - Drennen Roll - Oklahoma and surrounding areas

1851 - Siler Roll - Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and surrounding states

1851 - Old Settlers Roll - Oklahoma and surrounding areas

1848 - Mullay Roll - North Carolina and surrounding states

1835 - Henderson Roll - Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina

1817 - Reservation Roll and the Emigration Roll - Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and surrounding areas

For instance, if your ancestor was living near North Carolina in 1900 to 1924, he/she may be listed on the Miller Roll, the Churchill Roll, or the Baker Roll.

In the case of a family named REAMS / REAMES on the Miller Roll of 1906. Quite often it is necessary to check alternative spelling, as most people in the US were illiterate during this period. Their names were recorded by the census takers based on the way the name sounded. REEMS was not a common Cherokee family name, however, REEVES was very common. Depending on your ancestors 'regional accent' and the phonetic ability of the census takers, Reeves and Reams can easily be confused. Just
think of your own experience of people misspelling your family name when you are speaking on the phone.

This list shows the Miller Roll Application Number, Family name in 1906, Given name, Maiden name, Year and State of birth, - Residence in 1906

21493 REAMES, Luvine Eve MELTON, born 1886 in AR - Booneville, Logan Co, AR

37829 REAMS, Bert, b 1879 MO - CENTRALIA, Boone Co, MO

37827 REAMS, Catherine CANNON, b 1843 MO - STURGEON, Boone Co, MO

37831 ROBERTS, Gertie REAMS, b 1879 MO - CENTRALIA, Boone Co, MO

37828 REAMS, John, b 1873 MO - STURGEON, Boone Co, MO

37832 FOUNTAIN, Maggie REAMS, b 1864 MO - STURGEON, Boone Co, MO

37830 DOWNEY, Minnie REAMS, b 1876 MO - SALINE, MERCER Co, MO

This list shows people with this family name that claimed Cherokee blood, and lived in or near Missouri which was part of New Indian Territories from 1804 to 1850. People with Cherokee or any other Indian blood, who lived in Missouri after 1850, kept their mouths shut in fear of 'discovery' by their neighbors. There were strong Anti-Indian laws in effect all over the US from 1840 to about 1935, that were designed and enforced by the federal and state governments to force Indians to live
on reservations.

In nearly every case, you should obtain a copy of your ancestor’s birth or death certificate to find out what their parents names were. Birth and Death certificates were 'uncommon' prior to 1920. If an ancestor was born prior to 1920, the best bet is to find a death certificate for this person or possibly a 'delayed birth certificate' that would have beenissued when the person was an adult.

If you find an ancestor or any relative on the Miller Roll, you should order a copy of their Application Jacket from the US National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo copies of the original paperwork will cost you an average of $10 per application number (includes all members of the family that were living in that household, including their siblings,children, parents and grandparents names and dates of birth). In many cases, all you can find is someone of the same family name who was
living in the same part of the country. Since families tended to live close together, it is possible that people with the same family name living in the same area, were related by blood or marriage.

If you need to order copies of these papers, be sure to list your ancestor’s name, that they were members of the Cherokee Tribe, they were listed on the Miller Roll, and their Miller Roll Application number. The National Archives office in Fort Worth (Southwest Division) also keeps records of all Indians who were in the New Indian Territories back to 1850, and in some cases, much earlier. The original "New Indian
Territory" covered everything west of the Mississippi and south of the Missouri River, down to the border of New Spain (Republic of Texas).