Tuesday – Saturday
10 AM – 4 PM

Genealogy Resources & FAQs

Genealogy is the study of family descent, which gives individuals an opportunity to connect with or discover their Cherokee ancestors. We are excited to have two genealogists on staff at the Cherokee National Research Center. Our genealogists can assist individuals with family research. Whether you are trying to build out your family tree, learn about your ancestors, or claim Cherokee citizenship, our genealogists can assist you.

To begin researching your family history, please email

In addition to protecting and preserving Cherokee assets, the center provides access to archival materials, a research library, and genealogical services to assist in family history research. Artifacts, documents and other materials are available to view in person by request, and the center is dedicated to digitizing the collection for greater accessibility.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are looking for tribal registration information for you or a family member, please contact our registration office here.

Admission to our library and research rooms is free and open to the public. Please use the following form to begin a genealogy service request.

Whether you are interested in visiting the research center, have a question about Cherokee history or culture, or have materials that you would like to donate to the Cherokee National Collection, we’d like to hear from you.

How does the genealogy process work?

It’s best to start with yourself and work back through each previous generation. We don’t recommend starting with someone on the Trail of Tears, for example, and trying to work forward. At the very least, you will work backwards to identify the following information about each of your ancestors:

Date and place of birth
Date and place of marriage
Date and place of death
Names of siblings
Roll and Roll Number (when tracing Cherokee ancestry)

Many people seek our genealogy services to establish ancestral ties to the Cherokee Nation. Perhaps you wish to do this in order to get a CDIB card, or a Tribal Citizenship Card, or you wish to become a member of First Families. In these cases, you will be required to supply hard-copy documents to prove your genealogy.

What documentation do I need to prove my genealogy?

Cherokee Nation citizenship requires having at least one direct ancestor listed on the Dawes Rolls of the Cherokee Nation, a federal census compiled in the years 1898-1906. You can prove your genealogy with the following primary and secondary source documents.

How can I apply for tribal citizenship for myself or my child?
The Cherokee National Research Center does not process tribal citizenship requests. For more information, please visit the Cherokee Nation Registration Office.
Primary Source Documents

Oklahoma birth records have been kept since 1925 and are available from Division of Vital Records Oklahoma State Dept. of Health 100 NE 10th Ave PO Box 53551 Oklahoma City, OK 73152-3551. Birth Affidavits for Minor Cherokees born (1902 to 1906) were included in the Dawes Applications, and are available from Oklahoma Historical Society 2401 N Laird Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4997. Guion Miller Applications also include birthdates and proof of family relationships. These are available from John Vaughn Library / Ballanger Room NSU (Northeastern State University) Tahlequah, OK 74464.

Oklahoma Death Records have been kept since 1920. Contact Division of Vital Records Oklahoma State Dept. of Health. County probate records have been kept since 1907. Some deaths were also recorded in the Dawes and Guion Miller Applications. Contact John Vaughn Library-NSU.

Marriage records are usually available from the county clerk in the county where the marriage occurred. Some marriages of Cherokee citizens were also recorded in the Dawes and Guion Miller Applications.

Oklahoma Federal Census Records are available for the years 1900-1920. Complete lists of Rolls, Censuses and where to find them are published in various genealogical books. We recommend Exploring Your Cherokee Ancestry, by Tom Mooney.

Wills, estates, guardianship, and other legal papers should be available from the county court clerks. Records of this nature should be available from the date the specific county was formed and forward.

Purchases and sales of property usually also record residency and marital relationships. Records of this nature should be available from the date the specific county was formed and forward. Cherokee Allotment Plats of 1906 were recorded and available at the Cherokee County Clerk’s Office in Tahlequah, OK. Allotment information is also available in book form at the Rudisill Branch of the Tulsa Public Library System.

These records include muster-in and muster-out dates, pay vouchers, pension papers, military bounty and land warrants. They are available at National Archives & Records Service 8th and Pennsylvania, NW Washington, DC 20408

These records often contain birth, death, marriage and funeral information. Another good source is the book: A Guide to Cherokee Documents in the Northeastern United States by Sr. Paul Kutsch — available on microfilm from the Oklahoma Historical Society.

Civil and criminal records are kept on the county level from the date the county was formed and forward. They may also be located in the circuit or superior court(s) where the event occurred.

Secondary Source Documents

Include photocopy of the page showing publisher, date of publication, pages showing names, dates, and events. Also identify and note current location and owners of the family Bible.

Include name of newspaper and location. Most public libraries maintain archives of local papers.

Include name of newspaper and location. Anniversaries, biographical sketches, awards, marriage notices and other noteworthy events are frequently published in local newspapers.

Published family genealogies are especially valuable. Include photocopy of the title page, publisher, date of publication, and note direct ancestral descent. Also identify and note current location and owners of the book.

Many Oklahoma counties have at least one history with biographical information.

Unpublished records include personal letters, diaries, journals, reunion records, and manuscripts. Many unpublished Cherokee documents are indexed in Kristen L Southwell’s Cherokee Nation Papers, Inventory and Index, which is available at the University of Oklahoma Western History Collections 630 Parrington Oval Room 452 Norman, OK 73019.

Include name and location of the cemetery. Many Cherokee inscriptions are listed in Tyner and Timmons Our People and Where They Rest. Other published sources are available, including Talking Tombstones, by Ruby Cranor, which includes transcriptions of tombstones in Washington County, Oklahoma.

Attraction Information


Tuesday – Saturday
10 AM – 4 PM


Admission to our library, research rooms, and vault is free and available by appointment.


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