Native American Heritage

Numerical Index to the Central Classified Files, 1907–1942

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives 1), houses headquarters records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Record Group 75.  These records include the Central Classified Files (CCF), which serve as the main correspondence series for BIA headquarters during the twentieth century.

Archives 1 also houses a numerical index to the CCF that dates from 1907 to 1942 (National Archives Identifier 2108754). This index provides the four elements needed to request a CCF file: the letter number, year, decimal classification, and BIA agency/jurisdiction.

The CCF index is currently being digitized and added to the National Archives Catalog.


The CCF index is arranged by year and thereunder by letter number. Each index card refers to a different piece of correspondence. Index cards include the following information:

  • Name of the correspondent
  • Date of the correspondence
  • Date that the correspondence was received by BIA headquarters
  • Brief summary
  • BIA agency/jurisdiction
  • Subject-decimal classification number
  • Letter number

Note: The CCF numerical index is more complete than the actual CCF series. Some index cards might refer to files that are no longer extant.

Anatomy of a CCF Index Card

An example of a generic CCF index card is shown below. The four elements needed to request the actual file—letter number, year, decimal classification, and BIA agency/jurisdiction—are circled in red.


refer to caption

CCF Index Card for File 135408-1914-410-Tongue River

(National Archives Identifier 2108754)


  • 135408 is the letter number.
    • Letter numbers range from the single digits to six digits.
    • More recent correspondence within the file might be stamped with other numbers. However, 135408 represents the number of the first letter (base letter) of the consolidated file.

  • 14 is the year (1914).
    • Two dates are given on the index card: 12-16-14 (December 16, 1914) and 12-21 (December 21, 1914). The earlier date represents the date of the letter itself. The more recent date represents the date that BIA headquarters received the letter.
    • Only the year is needed to request the CCF file. If the years differ (e.g., December 31, 1914, and January 1, 1915), use the more recent year.
    • As this example demonstrates, the year is often abbreviated to the last two digits. However, all CCF files should date to the 1900s.

  • 410 is the CCF decimal number.
    • Decimal 410 describes files related to "Buildings - Insurance on Buildings."
    • For more information about the BIA's decimal classification scheme, see Central Classified Files Arrangement.

  • Tongue River is the BIA agency/jurisdiction.
    • A stamp in the shape of a pointing finger is often included on the CCF index card and indicates the BIA agency/jurisdiction.
    • The Archives 1 Consultation Room has lists of the BIA agencies and jurisdictions for which there are records in each CCF series.


Consolidated (Filed With) Index Card

Often, a CCF index card will include a handwritten note indicating that correspondence has been consolidated with another file. The note usually gives the full citation of the consolidated correspondence. Researchers should use the four-part consolidated file number (not the original file number) to request the documents.

An example is given below. The first index card describes a 1912 letter from the President to James Thorpe congratulating Thorpe on his success at the most recent Olympic Games. The handwritten "filed with" note indicates that the letter has been consolidated with File 71916-1912-047-Carlisle.

The second index card documents another letter about Thorpe's Olympic achievements. However, because the index card does not include a "filed with" note, the file should be requested in the normal way—i.e., using the letter number, year, decimal number, and BIA agency/jurisdiction indicated. When these components are put together, the correct file number is also File 71916-1912-047-Carlisle, meaning that this letter is the base letter of the consolidated file.

See the media gallery below for select documents from File 71916-1912-047-Carlisle.


refer to caption

CCF "Filed With" Index Card (National Archives Identifier 2108754)

refer to caption

CCF Index Card for File 71916-1912-047-Carlisle (National Archives Identifier 2108754)


General Services Index Card

CCF index cards that do not include a BIA agency or jurisdiction often refer to correspondence filed in the General Services category. The General Services category typically includes files related to more than one BIA agency or jurisdiction and files related to overall BIA policy.

An example is given below. In this case, the letter number (45365), year (1928), and decimal classification (810) are all given, but there is no indication on the card of the BIA agency or jurisdiction.

However, the summary of the letter references a reading outline for teachers in Indian schools. This summary suggests that the file does not relate to a single teacher or school, but to multiple ones. Researchers should look in the General Services category for the file.

See the media gallery below for select documents from File 45365-1928-810-General Services.


refer to caption

CCF Index Card for File 45365-1928-810-General Services

(National Archives Identifier 2108754)

Note: If the card does not include the BIA agency/jurisdiction, but is stamped with another note (e.g., "Special"), then the file might have been removed from the CCF and included in another series. See the Exceptions section below for a select list of these series.



Occasionally, additional notes or stamps will appear on the CCF index cards to indicate that BIA officials removed the correspondence from the CCF series and filed it with another series instead. Several examples are given below. Each of the series listed are housed at Archives 1, with the exception of civilian personnel files (which are housed at the National Archives at St. Louis).


Series to Check for the Record


"Inspection Reports, 1908–1940"

(Entry PI-163 953 in Record Group 75; National Archives Identifier 2034460)


Note: Depending on the date of the correspondence, it may be necessary to check more than one of the following series:

  • Microfilm Publication M574, Special Files of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1807–1904 (National Archives Identifier 300341)
  • "Special Cases, 1821–1907" (Entry PI-163 102 in Record Group 75; National Archives Identifier 596499)
  • "Special Series A, ca. 1859–1934" (Entry PI-163 126 in Record Group 75; National Archives Identifier 2123822)
Special Agent File

"Special Agent Files, 1907–1948"

(Entry PI-163 949 in Record Group 75; National Archives Identifier 2015398)


The status stamp usually indicates that the document was filed with the individual's personnel file. To request a copy of a personnel file, see Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings and Access.


Microfilm Publication M1121, Procedural Issuances of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: Orders and Circulars, 1854–1960 (National Archives Identifier 1116812

Unable to Locate This stamp indicates that the BIA clerk was unable to locate the file at the time. Unfortunately without a complete citation, it will not be possible to find the relevant record.

For questions about these series, please email the Archives 1 Reference Branch at