Ponca Census Image

Free US Indian Census Rolls 1885-1940

Ponca Census Image
Sample Ponca Census Image

Free US Indian Census Rolls Online 1885-1940 – While not searchable, the 692 rolls of the National Archives Publication M595 are now online for free. For the most part, these rolls dated after 1900 were done in alphabetical order and were typewritten – this should help make finding your ancestor much easier. The earlier ones though were often done in handwriting and the film quality can be very poor at times. Beginning in 1930, the rolls also showed the degree of Indian blood, marital status, ward status, place of residence, and sometimes other information.

  • Name (Indian and or English
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Birth date
  • Relationship to head of family
  • Martial Status
  • Tribe name
  • Agency and reservation name

[box]Previously these rolls could only be found on paid genealogy sites such as Ancestry and Fold3 and you had to pay for access. These rolls are still available at those sites and are completely searchable from there. For more information see:

  1. Fold3 US Indian Census Schedules 1885-1940
  2. Ancestry US Indian Census Schedules 1885-1940


Free US Indian Census Rolls by Jurisdiction

Since most Indians were not recognized as citizens until 1924 and not represented in Congress, the United States Government did a special census enumerating the Native Americans who lived on reservations. These census rolls were submitted annually by the reservations’ agent/superintendent as required by an act of July 4, 1884. Before 1930 the census provides information on the person’s name, date of birth, gender, and relationship to the head of the family. After 1930 the census provided information on the individual’s degree of Indian blood, marital status, ward status, place of residence, and also included miscellaneous commentary. Two major problems related to the Indian census are that they only recorded those who possessed a formal affiliation with a tribe, and that it did not consistently cover every tribe annually.

The Native American census were taken by Indian Agents assigned to specific agencies within the administration of the BIA. Each agency had jurisdiction over specific tribal areas which usually contained more then one specific tribe. The links below have been assigned to the specific agency with which the roll was taken. If you need to access the rolls by tribe then view the specific tribe link from the tribal pages.


Search Military Records - Fold3

13 thoughts on “Free US Indian Census Rolls 1885-1940”

  1. I did not see any mention of the Virginia or North Carolina tribes including the Paspahegh and Nansemond of which I have a DNA connection to. I have a great grandmother by the name of Jane “The Elder” Gibson.

    1. This is a list of Census Rolls for Federally recognized tribes from 1885 to 1940. Since the Pamunkey tribes were not Federally recognized until after 2010 you will find them listed under the regular United States census in their towns.

  2. Greetings ALL!
    Hey all! I am so new to this. I am looking for 4th great-grandmothers on my paternal side. I have her name Mary E Dorsey (maiden) Nevada County, California. I did found in the search unsure how to go about finding in the census? Thank You, blessings

  3. My Uncle Abraham Lee Heatley is on the Absentee Shawnee Roll how do I find about how to check my lineage and possible get put on the roll. His parents Roy Lee Heatley and Juanita Heatley (Columbus) ??????

  4. Christina Bodishbaugh

    I am Choctaw on my maternal side and Paternal side. I have found my Harkins ancestor but not sure how to find my paternal grandmother. According to my late father, his mother grew up on the Mississippi reservation, have a name and can get her birthdate. I do know she was not full Native American. Is there a way to trace my lineage.

  5. Brenda Baughman

    I’ve searched this site and still cant find what im looking for. Id like to know how to find the indian on my mothers side of the family tree. Am stuck at my great great- grand mothers name, know where she is buried, visited her grave, but can not find out anything on her parents. HELP PLEASE !!!!!!!

  6. When I click a link it just goes to a black page and I don’t see any roll entries. Why is this happening, the sit isn’t functioning correctly. Please fix this.

  7. I’ve been researching your site for my family tree, of course. But would like to know why the 1934-1939 Yakama Census Records are scanned backwards?

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