Were your Scots-Irish ancestors part Native American? This can be difficult to determine for mixed-blood families who were not removed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma). These families merged into the white, black or tri-racial communities where memory of the native line may have become sketchy. However, if you look at the mixed-blood families who were removed you might find some clues.
An ancestor’s surname may be found among the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek) or Seminole tribes as documented by the Dawes Commission (1894-1914). These are applications compiled to determine who qualified for tribal membership.
The Purpose of the Dawes Commission
The Dawes Commission began the U.S. Government process of breaking up tribal nations and allotting the lands to individuals. Its purpose was to change how the tribes owned land and abolish tribal governments. It was expanded by 1896 to authorize an official membership roll for the tribes. Even today, membership in the Oklahoma tribes, are based upon documenting descent from an ancestor enrolled through the Dawes Commission. An excellent guide to the history and use of the records is Kent Carter’s The Dawes Commission: And the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914 (1999).
This source is important in mixed-blood research because it provides access to the surnames documented within the tribes. A Scots-Irish connection into the tribes was usually prior to the final 1838 Removal. The Dawes Commission records can help identify who stayed with the tribe or if the surname crossed into another tribe.
Indexes to the Dawes Commission Records
Enrollments in 1896 were considered invalid and the process began again in 1898. The majority of people enrolled 1898-1907; with a few added in 1914. The final rolls consist of 101,000 names. Only one-third of those who applied were accepted. The records also list the black Freedmen who were adopted into the tribes being descendants of their slaves (many were mixed-blood themselves).
An index to the Dawes Commission records can be found on Ancestry and the National Archives with microfilm of the applications themselves widely available.
Click Here if you would like to learn more about your Native American ancestry and their Scots-Irish connections.
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