Genealogy Guides

A Native American family sits among teepees for a portrait at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Native American Genealogy

Beginning in the 1820s, through a series of treaties between individual Native American tribes and the federal government, Native Americans ceded their claim to territory in Missouri and settled in present-day Oklahoma and Kansas. After their removal, Native Americans were not permitted to live in the state, making it extremely difficult for genealogists to trace Native American ancestry in Missouri.

SHSMO Resources

The SHSMO reference library has a splendid Native American collection for the historian, but our published sources are incomplete for tracing Native American genealogy. SHSMO does not have lists of rolls of Native Americans in Missouri.

Other Resources

Some agencies you might find helpful in your research:

U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is responsible for the management and administration of Native American land held in trust by the federal government and for administering services to Native Americans. The BIA website features a useful Native American genealogy guide.

National Archives

Valuable records of federal government agencies, including records from various field offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, have been deposited throughout the United States. National Archives records, 1830-1940, deal chiefly with Native Americans who maintained their tribal status. These records include lists relating to Native American removal, annuity pay rolls, and annual tribal census rolls of Native Americans who were living on reservations. The Bureau of Indian Affairs census rolls are separate from and unrelated to the federal decennial census schedules.

Oklahoma Historical Society

The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) has a large collection of Native American records which pertain to the Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. In addition, the OHS has many printed census rolls and other secondary source materials on the 65 tribes which made their way to Oklahoma.