Native American Heritage

Dawes Rolls

Step 3: Use the Index to the Final Rolls online

Begin Searching in the Final Rolls Index

  1. To begin the search for your ancestor in the Final Rolls online index, you need the person's name and their tribe. The index of people accepted by the Dawes Commission has been digitized in the National Archives Catalog.

    This is what you will see when you arrive at this page:
    Index to the Final Rolls of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory (Dawes)

    Index to Final Rolls | Descriptive Information | More Native American links


    Page No. Title Image Size
    A Cover page (174729 bytes)
    B Errata (210406 bytes)
    C Errata (223602 bytes)
    D Errata (213535 bytes)
    1 Choctaw by Blood (179663 bytes)
    2 Choctaw by Blood (230068 bytes)
    3 Choctaw by Blood (226025 bytes)

    Note that the tribes are listed, but are not in alphabetical order.

  2. Scroll down until you find your tribe.

    Tip: In most cases, the Dawes Rolls categorized people using a matriarchal system, i.e. it's based on the mother's race. For example, if one's mother was Cherokee and father was a Freedman, the person will be listed under Cherokee by Blood. If one's mother is a Freedman and one's father is Cherokee, the person will be listed under Cherokee Freedmen. Other categories include by Marriage, by Intermarriage, Minors, and Newborn. So you may want to look in several places.

  3. As an example for how to find someone in the index, let's look for Napoleon Ainsworth, who we believe was a member of the Choctaws. So scroll down until you see the Choctaw tribe listed. We find them at the very top.
  4. When you find the tribe you're looking for, start clicking on the pages until you find the person you are looking for. You will see that the names are alphabetical by first letter. You may have to click through several pages before you find the correct page. Use the alphabet as your guide.

    In this case, we start clicking on the Choctaw by Blood pages. We start on page 1, since his last name begins with the letter "A", and we find Napoleon Ainsworth on page 2. This is what we find:

    Page from Dawes Rolls Index
  5. Note that the pages in the index include a list of names, with Roll Numbers next to each name. Make note of the Roll Number next to the person you are looking for.

    Since Napoleon Ainsworth is the person we are looking for in this example, and he has Roll Number 8938 next to his name, this means he will be the 8938th name on the Final Rolls list in the section dealing with Choctaw. We write down Napoleon B. Ainsworth, Roll No. 8938.

    Next Step:
  6. If you found your person in the index, you are now ready to look up your person in the Final Rolls online. Go to Step 4: The Final Rolls.

    If you did not find the person you are looking for, you can proceed to Step 5: What You Can Do Next.