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

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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.

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

  1. 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 !!!!!!!

  2. 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.

  3. 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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