Research for American Indian ancestors begins just like any other search for ancestry you begin with what you know, Yourself!
We have provided a useful tool to aid you in your research, Beginning Genealogy. You have to do the basics before you can do the part you really want to do. Working backwards does not work, believe me I have tried it!
Start with a Family Group Chart and fill in the information you know. Get your your birth certificate, look it over, it will provide all the information you need to get started and some information on your parents. Do this for every member of your immediate family. If you don’t have birth or death certificates for all your family, take a look at this page Vital Records it provides you with information and costs to order birth, death and marriage records.
Next a Research Calendar will help keep track of every record source you have searched, when you get further into your Indian Genealogy this will be your most helpful tool. Used in conjunction to the Research Extract Form, it will give you a place to record every Roll and Indian Census Census record you have checked. A Correspondence Record is also a useful form to have around, helps you keep track of the letters you write and emails you send.
There are Census forms from 1790 to 1930, I know you are saying I will never need all of those. You will need to track the movements of your family as they moved around the country. Until 1900 the Federal Census Records will be of little value for Indian families. We have a page of Indian Census Records, with more to be added.
Our Tribal listings provide you with information on tribes as they were about 100 years ago, we have also provided you with links to other web pages containing Tribal information.
North American Indian Tribes is a listing of 400+ tribes, that provide you with information on the original area of tribal home lands, it also shows you other states and locations the tribes were also known to live.
Indian Removal began in 1830, with their removal came a whole new set of records. They were either a census or as roll, generally on a specific tribe. Our Database of Rolls is a good place to start, it also provides you with additional information on each of the rolls and some tips on Indian Genealogy. Jackie Matte provided us with Southeastern Indian Research and Dusty provided How to Search, the Final Roll or The Dawes Roll.
There are many Mailing Lists with people who are more than willing to offer a helping hand.
Good luck in your search, the rewards are worth the search!!