The Catawba are a small tribe centered in Rock Hill, York County, South Carolina: www.catawbaindian.net From about 1760 whites encroached on Catawba lands, and intermarriage occurred, largely with Scots-Irish. Their descendants have spread nationwide. The fact the Catawba were allowed to stay is somewhat unique in southern history. The Catawba Reservation is recognized by both South Carolina and the Federal Government.
The Catawba granted leases to incoming whites for 99 years. These are an important genealogical source. This lease arrangement was unique. Louise Pettus’ work Leasing Away a Nation: The Legacy of Catawba Indian Land Leases (2005) details families who leased land as found in the surviving lease books 1785-1840. When white settlement was complete, the lease system lost its original meaning, and the land was ceded to South Carolina.
In 1884, the tribe began converting to Mormonism. The congregation is located in Rock Hill. Records (1885-1943) are on microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL). The membership registers are extracted in Pat Smith (White Buffalo Woman) and Dwight A. Radford’s article “The Scots-Irish as Catawba,” in The Irish At Home and Abroad 6, #3 (1999): 112-119.
Catawba records can be found in the South Carolina Department of Archives & History: http://scdah.sc.gov with many on microfilm at the FHL: www.familysearch.org The York County part of the South Carolina GenWeb: www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~scyork/ has useful information. Published material includes Thomas J. Blumer’s Bibliography of the Catawba (1987); Ian M. Watson’s Catawba Indian Genealogy: A Report to the National Endowment for the Humanities (1986); Robert H. MacKintosh’s Sources for Researching Catawba Indian Ancestry and History at the South Carolina Department of Archives (1993), and Ian Watson’s Catawba Indian Genealogy(1995):
There has been so much interest in Catawba Indian genealogy that there is no shortage of resources available.
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