Genealogy

 
 

"I have Cherokee blood in me. I have just enough white blood for you to question my honesty!"

Will Rogers

CD for sale

"The Dawes Application Rolls for the five civilized tribes". Indispensable tool for Eastern Native American genealogy !

Osiyo (Hello and Welcome)


My name is David Vann, great-great-great grandson of ‘Chief’ Rich Joe Vann of the Old Cherokee Nation.  I am a Charter Lifetime Member of the Cherokee National Historical Society’s, First Families of the Cherokee Nation and member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).  However, I am not a carded member of any Cherokee tribe nor I am affiliated with the Cherokee Nation or the Eastern Tribe. The purpose of this page is to help other people connect to their Cherokee roots.  To aid in this task, I have included Native American ancient and modern history, society, religion, folkloremedicine, and a large slice of VANN genealogy on this page. For pictures and information about my ancestors, please go to my pictures page.


This saga began in 1907, when my great grandmother Sarah Vann applied for admission to the Miller Roll.  In the 1930’s, my grandfather Joseph Daniel Vann wrote letters to the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, seeking his ancestry.  In the late 1950’s my father Joseph Harold Vann, hired professional genealogists to construct a family tree.  This project was a failure, so my father also wrote letters to the Cherokee Nation.  In the mid 1970’s I picked up the family "torch" and began my research where the others had left off.  On this Genealogy section you will see the fruits of nearly a century of loving labor.  Research your Vann ancestors here, I have nearly all of them from about 1600 to 1906. 


Thank you, great-grandmother, for leaving a ‘paper trail’

General information


  1. BulletPrimary sources for my research

  2. BulletThe myth of the Cherokee Princess


  1. BulletRequirements to join the Cherokee tribes

  2. BulletThe Dawes Rolls

Primary sources for my research (among many others)


  1. BulletMy elders, I wouldn't be here without them …. };-) 

  2. Bullet"History of the Cherokee Indians", by Dr. Emmit Starr, the Warden Co, Oklahoma City, 1921. If you have an ancestor in this book, you are eligible for membership in the Cherokee National Historical Society, First Families of the Cherokee Nation. The 'extract' I have posted on this site is a list of Vann's and their spouses with page numbers where their marriage is recorded. With this book, I was able to trace my ancestry from my great grandfather, John Vann, born in 1854, back to his great great great great grandfather born in the early 1700's. 

  3. BulletThe Final Dawes Rolls, enumeration of the five civilized tribes, 1900-1906, National Archives. If you have an ancestor on this list, you are eligible for tribal membership in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

  4. BulletThe Guion-Miller Roll, enrollment applications for the Eastern Cherokees, 1907-1909, National Archives. This list won't entitle you to anything, but if you find an ancestor here, you can find a gold-mine of family history, that can link you back to the History of the Cherokee Indians book, or back to the Final Dawes Roll. Your great grandparents had to list all the information on their parents and their grandparents. The link will take you to the NARA web page where they are listed.

  5. BulletThe Baker Roll, 1924, the Final Rolls of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina.

  6. BulletIs is specially difficult to trace the ancestry of Cherokee Freedmen. The book "Black Indian genealogy research, African-American Ancestors among the five civilized tribes" by Angela Walton-Raji is invaluable. There is a lot of information on her web site, The African-Native American History and genealogy web page, with listings of names. To learn more about the story of the Cherokee Freedmen, click here >>>>

  7. BulletMy Cherokee 'cousins' on the internet, I couldn't have done this project without them. One of them is Dick Fox, please visit his page for further genealogy information and resources: Dick Fox's webpage

  8. BulletMy favorite site, Google,  just type in your ancestors name (in quotes" "), and away you go.



 


The myth of the Cherokee Princess


“My Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother was a Cherokee Princess".  You should avoid this statement at all costs when joining a native american genealogical group, it is a big pet peeve and you will lose all your credibility. In 1730, Sir Alexander Cuming, an emissary of King George II, conferred the title of Emperor on Chief Moytoy at Tellico, Tennessee.  One of his wives was Gosaduisga who bore two daughters, Nannie and Elizabeth (Wai-Li).  According to English law, this made the two daughters Royal Princesses.  In 1750, John Vann, a Scotsman, entered the Cherokee nation, and Princess Elizabeth took him as her husband.  This was the beginning of the Vann Clan in the Cherokee Nation. 


But there is no such thing as a Cherokee princess. It may have been a title given by the whites to the daughter of a chief, a term of endearment, or even a description of an African American ancestor. Never mind what the family stories say, forget about the term. Here you will find a very good article on the so called “Cherokee princesses”

Requirements to join federally recognized Cherokee groups


There are three federally recognized Cherokee groups: The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. (see here the complete list of federally recognized tribes). The Echota Cherokee are recognized only by the state of Alabama.


BEWARE OF SCAMS: there are false gurus around there offering memberships in false tribes for a high price.

 

Today, individuals of Cherokee ancestry fall into the following categories:

(1) Living persons who were listed on the final rolls of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (Dawes Commission Rolls) that were approved and descendants of these persons. These final rolls were closed in 1907.

(2) Individuals enrolled as members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina and their descendants who are eligible for enrollment with the Band.

(3) Persons on the list of members identified by are solution dated April 19, 1949, and certified by the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency and their descendants who are eligible for enrollment with the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indian of Oklahoma.

(4) All other persons of Cherokee Indian ancestry.

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma


To be eligible for Tribal Membership with the Cherokee Nation, you must apply and be able to present a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB), issued by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. To insure that your application for Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) is processed in a timely basis, certain steps must be followed.


Complete the application for a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB)/Membership.

List the name(s) of your ancestor(s) and the correct roll number (s) from the FINAL ROLLS OF CITIZENS AND FREEDMEN OF THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES. Cherokee Nation (Dawes Commission Roll book) for the ancestor(s) to whom you are tracing. CDIB APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED "WITHOUT" ROLL NUMBER INFORMATION WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU.


Complete the application in INK.


Attach your STATE CERTIFIED, FULL IMAGE/PHOTOCOPY OF THE ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD. This document must be the record which was issued to you from the State Vital Statistics Office signed by the State Registrar, embossed with the State Seal, and bearing a State file number, Or, attach your state certified, full image/photocopy of the DELAYED CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH. NO XEROX COPIES.


CAUTION: Some birth records are issued by the hospital, city and county and may be computer generated, abstracted or transcribed. These records are NOT acceptable. You will need to order the record directly from the State Vital Statistics Office and specifically request a STATE CERTIFIED, FULL IMAGE OF THE ORIGINAL BIRTH RECORD.


If attached a Delayed Certificate of Birth, as Affidavit of Personal Knowledge and Memory is required. Anyone, but the person whose name appears on the Delayed Certificate of Birth, who is 18 years old or older and who knows the facts to be true, may sign the affidavit before a Notary Public.


Submit State certificates, full image/photocopy of the original birth and/or death record(s) of your Non-enrolled ancestor(s) through whom you are tracing. NO XEROX COPIES.


Probate records, signed by a probate judge and showing the Final Determination of Heirs can be used in place of a state certified, full image/photocopy of the original birth record. This document must clearly define relationships. As additional document, showing the date of birth of the individual who does not have a birth record, must be submitted with the probate record. If your enrolled ancestor died After 1962, the STATE CERTIFIED FULL IMAGE/PHOTOCOPY OF THE ORIGINAL DEATH RECORD must be submitted. NO XEROX COPIES.


If your enrolled ancestor is living, he/she must sign the attached Affidavit of Personal Knowledge, attesting to the fact that he/she is the natural parent of your non-enrolled ancestor. Submit State certificates, full image/photocopy of the original birth and/or death record(s) of your Non-enrolled ancestor(s) through whom you are tracing. NO XEROX COPIES. Probate records, signed by a probate judge and showing the Final Determination of Heirs can be used in place of a state certified, full image/photocopy of the original birth record. This document must clearly define relationships. As additional document, showing the date of birth of the individual who does not have a birth record, must be submitted with the probate record. If your enrolled ancestor died After 1962, the STATE CERTIFIED FULL IMAGE/PHOTOCOPY OF THE ORIGINAL DEATH RECORD must be submitted. NO XEROX COPIES.


Send the completed application, along with the required documents to: Cherokee Nation, Registration Department, P. O. Box 948, Tahlequah, OK 74465. Incomplete applications will be returned.

Processing your application may take four to eight weeks. Upon the issuance of your CDIB card, your tribal membership application (if completed correctly), will be placed on file for processing. Please enclose the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS with your application at this time. Unless specified, your original documents will be returned to you at the completion of the processing. Please go to the web page of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma to get the forms and further information.


Eastern band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina


Enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is governed by tribal ordinance #284 dated June 24, 1996 and restricts enrollment to the following:


1. Direct lineal ancestor must appear on the 1924 Baker Roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. (Note: The Baker Roll is the base roll of the Eastern Cherokee and contains the name, birth date, Eastern Cherokee Blood quantum and roll number of the base enrollees.


2. Blood Quantum: must possess at least 1/16th degree of Eastern Cherokee blood

All criteria must be met in order to be eligible with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Enrollment is CLOSED to all people who cannot meet the above requirements.

 

United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma


By the Act of August 10, 1946, 60 Stat. 976, Congress recognized the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) for the purposes of organizing under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act. In 1950, the UKB organized under a Constitution and Bylaws approved by the Secretary of the Interior.


Members of the UKB consist of all persons whose names appear on the list of members identified by a resolution dated April 19, 1949, and certified by the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes Agency on November 26, 1949, with the governing body of the UKB having the power to prescribe rules and regulations governing future membership. The supreme governing body (UKB Council) consist of 9 members, elected to represent the nine districts of the old Cherokee Nation and four officers, elected at large. Information may be obtained by writing


United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians

P.O. Box 746 Tahlequah Oklahoma,

74465-9432 (918) 456-5491 Fax (918) 456-9601.


The Keetoowah Band requires 1/4 degree of “Old Settler”/Keetoowah Cherokee blood. “Old Settlers”: there is a legal definition of who was an “old settler.” This group was composed of those Cherokee who removed to what is now Arkansas under the treaties of 1817 and 1819. They settled between the Arkansas and White Rivers, west of a line from current Batesville to a spot about midway between today’s Conway and Morrilton. There was no western boundary established. Since “Old Settlers” implies a certain identifiable group, one is able to look at two census rolls to determine whether an ancestor was a member: the Emigration Roll of 1817, and the Old Settler Roll of 1851. The first lists those Cherokee chose to emigrate to Arkansas Territory under the two treaties above. The second includes those among this group who were still living in 1851, and who were residing in what is now Oklahoma when the main body of Cherokee arrived there in 1839. Those on the 1851 census who enrolled under the Dawes Commission retained their citizenship. Others did not. Only those on the 1817 Emigration roll and 1851 Old Settler roll are actually “old settlers,” all of whom resided in what is now Arkansas between 1817 and about 1840.

These Rolls were taken on the Cherokee reservation in 1900.  The only ‘official’ documents that exist are the records taken by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, from the people that were born on the reservation.  The Cherokee Constitution also states that “ any adult male that leaves the Cherokee Nation will be stripped of his citizenship, with no rights to return except by petition...”  Less than half of the Cherokees living on or near the reservation had their names on the Dawes Rolls.  Click here to see an example of the rolls.


There were many reasons for this. The United States Government has been trying unsuccessfully to register Native American Indians for over a hundred years. The infamous Dawes Act of 1887 was the first such effort on a large-scale. The purported aim of the Act was to protect Indian property rights during the Oklahoma Land Rush. By registering, Indians were told, they would be allotted 160 acres of land per family in advance of the Land Rush and thus be restituted for 100 years of genocide against them. (on the picture, Dawes workers, 1902

Picture from the Cherokee National Archives)


The purpose of the Dawes Act, ostensibly to protect Indian welfare, was viewed with suspicion by many Indians hurt by government's clumsy relocation efforts of the past. Indians who had refused to submit to previous relocations refused to register on the Dawes Rolls for fear that they would be caught and punished.


The Dawes Act abolished tribal claims to land provided in the Treaty of 1850 (138 million acres).  The Act reallocated all of the Indian land into ¼ of a ‘section’ (150 acres) per ‘qualified’ family; to very person over 18, 1/8 of a section (75 acres), to all orphans under 18, 1/8 of a section.

The Dawes Act also required all persons over ½ blood quantum, to be ‘assigned’ a white overseer to manage the land and all legal affairs, as a person of ½ blood quantum was ‘incapable’ of managing his own affairs. Greed and corruption often led to the overseer obtaining title to the land in a few brutal years.


To get on the Dawes Rolls, Native Americans had to "anglicize" their names. ‘Rolling Thunder’ thus became Ron Thomas and so forth.  In order to ‘qualify’ a person’s parents had to have been registered on the Treaty Roll of 1850, and the applicant had to produce ‘proof’ of his parents registration numbers. If your grandparents were on the Treaty Roll, but your parents had died, moved, refused to change their names, or refused to sign, you were ’denied’ registration.


In order for an Intermarried White to be placed on the Dawes Rolls, they had to be married prior to 1875, and attend two or three interviews with the Indian Commission, with copies of their original marriage license, issued by the Cherokee Nation.


By limiting ‘qualified’ recipients of ‘free’ land, the government effectively ‘stole’ nearly 100 million acres, which was sold at huge profits during the Land Rush. It was found in Oklahoma, that Indian held land, which totaled 138 million acres in 1887 at the time the Dawes Act was signed into law, had been reduced to 47 million acres of land by 1934.


The US government passed a law that receded the original land of the Cherokee back to the Cherokees.  The Supreme Court upheld this ruling, but President Andrew Jackson refused to acknowledge the authority of the law.  In 1930, the US government passed another law to grant the Cherokee lump-sum payments and individual land grants to the surviving members of the Cherokee Nation.  Up until this time, the US government had honored the Cherokee Constitution, which forbade individual ownership or sale of land.  All of the land belonged to the Cherokee Nation.


 The net effect of the Dawes Rolls, was to take a census and to divide up all of the Cherokee lands to the individual members.  The Dawes Rolls were supported by the Oklahoma Land Commission so that the entire Oklahoma Territory would be opened to white settlers during the Great Oklahoma Land Rush.  As soon as the Cherokees got their name on the Rolls, they were being made offers for ‘their land’.  Some of these offers were gang-land tactics, “sell your land, or be killed, then your children will be made the same offer”.  Many Cherokees refused to have their names on these Rolls, but many others were being ‘bought’ to put the names of their relatives on the lists so their lands could be ‘legally stolen’ before the titles were ever issued.  As their lives were in danger, many Cherokees left the reservation and melted into the US population.


In 1934 the Dawes Act, and the Cherokee Nation was abolished. In 1954, the Cherokee Nation, in order to reestablish itself as a Federally Recognized Tribe, was required to amend it’s constitution. The amendments, forced upon them by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, required that any person that voluntarily left the Cherokee Nation would forfeit their Cherokee citizenship.


Tribal membership was restricted to those people that could ‘prove’ direct descent from a person who was ‘accepted’ on the Final Dawes Rolls.


The Federal Government, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, decides who is an Indian, based on ‘acceptable proof’. This ‘proof’ is limited to State issued birth and death certificates, showing your direct descent from a Dawes Roll registrant. Since states did not begin collecting this data until 1925, many of our ancestors were never issued ‘official’ state approved birth or death certificates. In addition, birth certificates were not ‘required’ until after World War II, when the Social Security Act was enforced.


Dawes Case Files


The Dawes Roll info was taken between 1902 and 1906, and the ages of the people was based on the census date. I have calculated the year of birth from this information and grouped the Vann's by family unit, in descending order of age. If you find a 'possible' ancestor here, you will need to order a copy of the census card from the National Archives. The original records are housed in the National Archives - Southwest Region, Fort Worth, TX.

To request copies of a Dawes case file from the National Archives, indicate that the case is a Dawes Enrollment Jacket. You must provide the name of the enrollee, the tribe, the category ("by blood", "minor", "rejected", "freedmen," etc.), enrollment number (if applicable), and census card number. (Ie. John Brown, Cherokee By-Blood, Roll# 12345, census card # 6789 )


Requests without this information can not be processed. Copies cost $15 per census card number up to 20 pages and $0.50 per page thereafter. Payment can be made by check, money order, or credit card. Do not send cash. Payment must be exact, so credit card payments generally are the most convenient.  Please double-check the current fees on their site


Please make your requests in writing. Requests are accepted via fax, or regular mail, archives@ftworth.nara.gov. An appointment is strongly recommended to view these case files. Within the United States, overnight delivery is available for an extra $4.00. Please state in your request that you would like this feature and provide your street address and phone number. Please NOTE: No P.O. Box numbers are accepted.


General Information
Archival Operations, National Archives at Fort Worth

1400 John Burgess Drive

Fort Worth, Texas 76140
Phone: (817) 831-562