Ottawa Tribes

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Guide to Ottawa Tribes ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and other agency records.

Ancestral Homeland: Georgia Bay, Lake Huron, Ontario, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan

Various spellings: Ottawa, Ottowa, Ottoway, Odawa, Tawas

Ottawa Indian-Bandera Ottawa nation.png

The Chippewa, Potawatomi and the Ottawa formed the Council of Three Fires.

They were part of the Great Huron Trade.

There are four federally recognized tribes of Ottawa. Depending on which tribe your ancestor is descended from, you may need to contact all four tribal headquarters to research your family history as they all maintain separate records.

Tribal Headquarters[edit | edit source]

Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa Chippewa Indians
2605 N West Bay Shore Dr
Peshawbestown MI 49682-9275
1-866- 534-7750
1-231- 534-7750

Little River Band of the Ottawa
375 River Street
Manistee, MI 49660
Phone: 1-231-723-8288
Toll Free: 1-888-723-8288
Fax: 1-231-723-8020

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Phone: 1-231-242-1400
Toll Free: 1-866-652-5822

Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
13 S. 69 A
Miami, OK 74354
Fax: 1-918-542-3214

Population: 1984: 2,000 Total enrollment. [1]

History[edit | edit source]

The history of the Ottawa Indians places them, at the first contact with Europeans, in what was to become Ontario, Canada in the 1600s. They are usually associated with Manitoulin Island and the shores of Georgian Bay in Lake Huron, in what is now the Province of Ontario[2].

Many of the Ottawa migrated south and west and settled in what became Michigan in the 1700s and by the early 1800s the Three Fires Confederacy (which include the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi) occupied much of that area. In 1836, the Ottawa ceded nearly two-thirds of their land to the United States and in 1837, Michigan was created from that cession.

In 1855, the Ottawa signed another treaty with the U.S. government at which time reserves were created in Leelanau and Antrim Counties. The Bureau of Indian Affairs considered the tribe "terminated" with the signing of that treaty and they were not considered an official tribe from 1855 to 1980. After several petitions for recognition over nearly 50 years, the Bureau of Indian Affairs again officially recognized the tribe in 1980[3]. Other groups of Ottawa were re-recognized in 1994.

Another group of Ottawa Indians lived in northwestern Ohio and participated in the War of 1812 under the leadership of Pontiac, who was a well-known chief of the tribe. They were a party to the Treaty of Greenville, signed on August 3, 1795 in Indiana[4]. Some members of this part of the Ottawa Nation were removed to Kansas and later to Oklahoma[5].

Brief Histories[edit | edit source]

Additional References to the History of the Tribe[edit | edit source]

Ohio History Central article on the Ottawa Indians

Andrew J. Blackbird. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan. Ypsilanti, MI 1887. FHL Book 970.1 B562h or FHL film 1011853 Item; or Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan

Cash, Joseph H. and Gerald W. Wolff. The Ottawa People. Indian Tribal Series, Phoenix, 1976. WorldCat 2716074. Out of print.

Theodore Karamanski. Blackbird's Song East Lansing, MI, Michigan State University Press, 2012. see: Blackbird's song on

Thomas Guthrie Marquis. The War Chief of the Ottawas: A Chronicle of the Pontiac War. Toronto, Glasgow, Brook, 1920 FHL Book 979.1H2cc vol l5 (Chronicles of Canada: Vol 15)

Brief Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • 1600: In the Great Lakes area - Lake Huron
  • 1660: Defeated by the Iroquois who disrupted trade
  • 1689-1763: French and Indian Wars (French and Algonquian tribes against English and Iroquois)
  • 1763: Treaty of Paris
  • 1763: Pontiac's Rebellion; tried to drive the British from the Great Lakes. About 2,000 settlers died during the rebellion. Many British forts surrendered; Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt did not. Fort Pitt under Lord Jeffery Amherst's suggestion, sent out smallpox-infected blankets starting an epidemic among the Indians
  • 1831: Land cessions
  • 1837: Census (M1831)
  • 1837-47: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Council Bluff Agency
  • 1837-51: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Osage River Agency
  • 1851-63: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Sac and Fox Agency
  • 1831-1867: The tribe lived in Kansas
  • 1863-73: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Ottawa Agency
  • 1867-1870: Removed to Indian Territory - Oklahoma; some live in Ontario - Manitoulin Island and Cockburn Island
  • 1867-80: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Neosho Agency
  • 1871-80: Tribe under the jurisdiction of the Quapaw Agency
  • 1959: Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma terminated, Tribal membership 630, Tribal land (Acres) 0 (*1956 is the year given in the history of the Ottawa of Oklahoma's web site which coincides with a roll of blood members of the tribe
  • 1979: Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma reestablished as a federally recognized government when the Ottawa Council and the U.S. Congress ratified the Constitution.
  • 1980: Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians re-recognized by the federal government
  • 1994: Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little Tranverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians are both re-recognized by the federal government

Reservations[edit | edit source]

From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.

The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America[6], the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America[7], and other sources. There are no current federally-recognized reservations in Illinois.

Agencies[edit | edit source]

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Illinois has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...[8], Hill's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians[9], and others.

The following agencies had jurisdiction over the Ottawa Indians

While the tribe was located in the East:

When located in Iowa

When located in Kansas

When located in Indian Territory

Superintendencies[edit | edit source]

Michigan, St. Louis, and Centralsuperintendencies

Records[edit | edit source]

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Some early records of members of the Ottawa Tribe are included in the records of the Mackinac Agency now in the Great Lakes Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Chicago[10].

Since the tribe was not officially recognized for over 100 years, some documents pertaining to those with Ottawa blood are a part of the county records where they resided.

The following records of the Ottawa have been transcribed and are available online:

  • 1836 census of Mixed-Blood Ottawas and Chippewas of Michigan
  • 1908 census rollof persons and their descendants who were on the roll of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in 1870 and who were living on March 4, 1907, as enumerated by Horace B. Durant. It is also called the "Durant Roll." It is used as a primary source to establish the membership of the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and that of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa. A searchable online version of the "Durant Roll" is available here.

Correspondence and Census[edit | edit source]

Tribe Agency Location of Original Records

Pre-1880 Correspondence

M234 RG 75 Rolls 962

Roll Number




Post-1885 Census

M595 RG 75 Rolls 693




Ottawa Mackinac Agency, 1903-27 Chicago - - - FHL Film: 579663
Ottawa Miami (Quapaw) Agency, Oklahoma, 1870- Washington D.C. and Fort Worth Rolls 703-13 - Rolls 410-16 FHL Films: 581405-581410
Ottawa Seneca Agency, 1901-7, 1910-21 Washington D.C. - - Rolls 487-89 FHL Films: 581498-581499
Ottawa, East Green Bay and Chicago, 1824-1961 Washington D.C. and Chicago Rolls 132-34, 315-36 - - FHL Films: 576861-576863
Ottawa, Iowa Council Bluffs Agency, 1837-47 Washington D.C. Rolls 215-18 - - -
Ottawa, Kansas Osage River Agency, 1837-51 Washington D.C. Rolls 642-51 - - -
Ottawa, Kansas Sac and Fox Agency, 1851-63 Washington D.C. and Chicago Rolls 733-44 - - -
Ottawa, Kansas

Ottawa Agency,1863-73

Washington D.C. Rolls 656-58 - - -
Ottawa, Indian Terr. Neosho Agency, 1867-71 Washington D.C. Rolls 530-37 - - -

Census Records
[edit | edit source]

1836 census - 6th article of 1836 Treaty of of men, women and children FHL Film: 982330 Item 4 or FHL Book: Q 970.1 Al #4

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Tribally owned land: 40.28 acres. [11]

Treaties[edit | edit source]

  • 1785 January 21, at Fort McIntosh,with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1789 January 9, at Fort Harmar, with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1795 August 3, at Greenville with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1805 July 4, at Fort Industry with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1807 November 17, at Detroit with the Ottawa, Etc.,
  • 1808 November 25, at Brownstown, with the Chippewa, Etc.,
  • 1814 July 22, at Greenville
  • 1815 September 8, at Spring Wells,with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1816 August 24, at St. Louis, with the Ottawa,Etc.,
  • 1817 September 29, on the Miami, with the Wyan
  • 1818 September 17, at St. Mary's with the Wyandot, Etc.,
  • 1820 July 6, at L'Arbre Croche and Michilimackinac, with the Ottawa and Chippewa,
  • 1821 August 29, at Chicago, with the Ottawa
  • 1825 August 19, at Prairie du Chien,with the Sioux
  • 1828 August 25, at Green Bay with the Sioux
  • 1829 July 29, at Prairie du Chien, with the Chippewa
  • 1831 August 30, with the Ottawa
  • 1833 February 18, at Maumee
  • 1833 September 26, at Chicago with Chippewa
  • 1836 March 28, at Washington, with the Ottawa
  • 1846 June 5 and 17, at Council Bluffs, with the Potawatomi Nation
  • 1855 July 31, at Detroit, with the Chippewa
  • 1862 June 24, at Washington, Ottawa of Blanchard's Fork and Roche De Boeuf
  • 1867 February 23, with Seneca, Mixed Seneca and Shawnee, Quapaw, Etc.,

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

  • Quapaw Agency, M595,
    • Births and deaths 1924-1932, FHL Film: 581408

Cemetery Records[edit | edit source]

  • Housman, Gerald L. Ottawa Indian Cemetery, Ottawa County, Oklahoma, 1870-1995. Tulsa, OK: Cock-A-Hoop Pub. Bartlesville, OK: Distributed by G.L. Housman, ©1996. WorldCat 36008661
  • Find A Grave:Ottawa Indian Cemetery, Ottawa Indian Cemetery, Miami, Ottawa, Oklahoma

Religious Records[edit | edit source]

  • Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians had an association with Catholic ministries, orders, churches, schools, etc. in its history. The tribe's online Our Land and Culture Book suggests Catholic religous records from their geographical location can be helpful in family history research.

Important Websites[edit | edit source]

History of the Tribe[edit | edit source]

Tribe and Band Government Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Indian Reservations A State and Federal Handbook. Compiled by The Confederation of American Indians, New York, N.Y. McFarland and Co. Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, c. 1986. FHL book 970.1 In2 page 234
  2. History of the Ottawa Tribe from the Handbook of American Indians by Frederick Webb Hodge Available online
  3. History of the Ottawa Tribe from the Grand Traverse Band web site Available online
  4. The Treaty of Greenville, as it appears in The Laws of the United States, printed by Richard Folwell, Philadelphia, 1796 Available online.
  5. "Ottawa Indians", Ohio History Central, July 1, 2005,
  6. National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
  7. Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E, Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991.(Family History Library book 973 E5)
  8. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library book 970.1 H551o.)
  9. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. (FHL book 970.1 H551g.)
  10. Guide to Federal Records, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. Available online.
  11. Indian Reservations A State and Federal Handbook. Compiled by The Confederation of American Indians, New York, N.Y. McFarland and Co. Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, c. 1986. FHL book 970.1 In2 page 234

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives; Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Cash, Joseph H. and Gerald W. Wolff. The Ottawa People. Indian Tribal Series, Phoenix, 1976. WorldCat 2716074
  • Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1906 Available online.
  • Klein, Barry T., ed. Reference Encyclopedia of the American Indian. Nyack, New York: Todd Publications, 2009. 10th ed. WorldCat 317923332; FHL book 970.1 R259e.
  • Malinowski, Sharon and Sheets, Anna, eds. The Gale Encyclopedia of Native American Tribes. Detroit: Gale Publishing, 1998. 4 volumes. Includes: Lists of Federally Recognized Tribes for U.S., Alaska, and Canada – pp. 513-529 Alphabetical Listing of Tribes, with reference to volume and page in this series Map of “Historic Locations of U.S. Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Canadian Native Groups” Map of “Historic Locations of Mexican, Hawaiian and Caribbean Native Groups” Maps of “State and Federally Recognized U.S. Indian Reservations. WorldCat 37475188; FHL book 970.1 G131g.
Vol. 1 -- Northeast, Southeast, Caribbean
Vol. 2 -- Great Basin, Southwest, Middle America
Vol. 3 -- Arctic, Subarctic, Great Plains, Plateau
Vol. 4 -- California, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Islands
  • Sturtevant, William C. Handbook of North American Indians. 20 vols., some not yet published. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1978– .
Volume 1 -- Not yet published
Volume 2 -- Indians in Contemporary Society (pub. 2008) -- WorldCat 234303751
Volume 3 -- Environment, Origins, and Population (pub. 2006) -- WorldCat 255572371
Volume 4 -- History of Indian-White Relations (pub. 1988) -- WorldCat 19331914; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.4.
Volume 5 -- Arctic (pub. 1984) -- WorldCat 299653808; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.5.
Volume 6 -- Subarctic (pub. 1981) -- WorldCat 247493742; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.6.
Volume 7 -- Northwest Coast (pub. 1990) -- WorldCat 247493311
Volume 8 -- California (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 13240086; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.8.
Volume 9 -- Southwest (pub. 1979) -- WorldCat 26140053; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.9.
Volume 10 -- Southwest (pub. 1983) -- WorldCat 301504096; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.10.
Volume 11 -- Great Basin (pub. 1986) -- WorldCat 256516416; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.11.
Volume 12 -- Plateau (pub. 1998) -- WorldCat 39401371; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.12.
Volume 13 -- Plains, 2 vols. (pub. 2001) -- WorldCat 48209643
Volume 14 -- Southeast (pub. 2004) -- WorldCat 254277176
Volume 15 -- Northwest (pub. 1978) -- WorldCat 356517503; FHL book 970.1 H191h v.15.
Volume 16 -- Not yet published
Volume 17 -- Languages (pub. 1996) -- WorldCat 43957746
Volume 18 -- Not yet published
Volume 19 -- Not yet published
Volume 20 -- Not yet published