HomeCultureSearching for Indian Ancestors – Part One

If you’re interested in doing some genealogical research for any native Indian relations here’s some tips to get you started.  

First of all whatever anyone tells you – you do need a computer.  The days of long pointless visits to organizations who turn out to have no information are gone.  If there’s information out there you’ll either find it online or if not it can be digitized in a few minutes and emailed to you.  Enquiries about research are much more easiliy managed by email as remember most organiszations that can help you are staffed by volunteers.

It’s important to start yoru research with yourself, don’t dash off and investigate old family rumours and dive straight into Indian records.  Work methodically back looking for links, you might save yourself a load of time. Only move into Indian records after you’ve identified a specific ancestor and their tribe or location.  It will be much easier to hone in on the correct information with this background – especially all the stuff held by the State and local government.

The first place to look is at home.  Start by gathering all the information you can about your relatives. This includes things like certificates, newspaper clippings, family bibles, baby books and anything similar.  If you have elderly relatives – write to them and ask them their thoughts.  The most important information you can get is vital statistics – stuff like dates of births, deaths and marriages.  

These first steps sound simple but it is surprising how often people skip these.  The more information you get quickly and easily, the better your chances when the going gets a little tougher.  There are many places to find specific information on Native American genealogy but these places will serve you much better when you have lots of background information.

If you need some basic background on genealogy the important thing is gather what you can close to home at first.  Further research will inevitably end up with some travel but using the internet can focus your efforts.  When you do travel make sure you can still get access to the internet to check your findings.  Also if you travel abroad you might find this post interesting – how to watch Hulu outside the US , it’s another great reason to stay online even if you have to travel internationally.

Anyway before you leave on your travels do the obvious stuff and follow my next post for more help.