Guion Miller Rolls

The Guion Miller Roll accepted applications to determine membership in the Eastern Cherokee Nation. This source documents families not removed to Indian Territory in 1838. It is an excellent resource for mixed-blood families. As with all my blogs about the Cherokee, this by default usually also means Scots-Irish ancestry.

Between 1906 and 1909, some 45,940 applications were submitted from throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The Guion Miller Rolls lists an estimated 90,000 individual applicants each of whom had to trace lineage to someone in the 1835 Henderson Roll, prior to the removal. Most applications were rejected based on a lack of evidence. Unless clearly fraudulent, the rejected applications still preserve the genealogy back to the 1835 time period. They also provide insight into mixed-blood families long separated from the tribe.

Indexes to the Guion Miller Rolls can be found on the National Archives website: www.archives.gov/research/arc/native-americans-guion-miller.html ; “Access Genealogy”: www.accessgenealogy.com/native/guion.php ; and on “Fold3″: http://www.fold3.com/title_81/guion_miller_roll/ The applications are widely available on microfilm.

The Guion Miller Rolls is as a guide posts as to who may have considered themselves Cherokee. Remember, even if the government didn’t consider a claim valid, DNA may prove otherwise! Then again, there were fraudulent claims of people who were only seeking government money.

Two mistakes people make when using these rolls is: 1.) They are only for Cherokee families. This is incorrect as many mixed-bloods applied, who were not Cherokee. Other, then unorganized native groups applied because there was no place else for them to apply; 2.) If an ancestor was part of a denied claim that there is no native heritage. This is also incorrect as the denied claims not only include fraudulent claims, but also ones which could not be sufficiently documented. That was the reason for rejection, not fraud.

Concerning those who were fraudulent, an excellent blog on “Thoughts from Polly’s Granddaughter” provide some thought provoking insights on the Guion Miller Roll: www.pollysgranddaughter.com/2011/06/fortune-hunters-guion-miller-roll-and.html I would also like to direct you to my two part blogs “What Does Cherokee Mean?” which appeared on 27-28 August 2012.