How do you research your native American ancestry, when all you have is old family stories, but no records?
Where your family lived will help identify the possible Native American tribe/clan, bearing in mind that forced migrations affected where these tribes lived at different times. For example, Nanjemoy, Maryland, is named for a tribe that lived in that area when Europeans began to settle.
Some steps you can take:
- Identify a location
- Identify a time period
- Research Native American tribal distribution for that area and time.
- Find records; early on they are likely to be church, legal, and property records.
The Dawes Commission, commissioned in 1883 by the U.S. Congress, consisted of around 250,000 Native American tribes-people applying for membership; whereof, the Dawes Commission enrolled just over 100,000. An act of Congress on 26 Apr 1906, closed the rolls on 5 Mar 1907. Of further note, an additional 312 persons were enrolled under an act of U.S. Congress, approved 1 Aug 1914.
The link provided below may assist you with furthering your Native American research.
"How do you research your native American ancestry, when all you have is old family stories"
You don't, unless the stories are very specific (ancestor's name, or exact place on pedigree). You just narrow down which branch and research that line as you would any other. Child leads to parent. If you hit a dead end, search for distant cousins in that line and see if they have the same stories.
A friend always bragged about her great-grandmother being full-blood Cherokee. I did a little research, and found the great-grandmother was full-blood Irish. But I never told her:)