United States, Indian Census Rolls (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Census Records
Record Group RG 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Collection years 1885-1940
Microfilm Publication M595. Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940. 692 rolls.
National Archives Identifier 404 595276
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What Is in the Collection?

This collection consists of an index and images of census and other records created by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The records are from the National Archives Microfilm Publication M595, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. Census rolls were usually submitted annually by agents or superintendents in charge of Indian reservations as required by an 1884 act of Congress. In some years, agents only compiled a summary of additions and deductions from the populations. In some years separate lists of births and deaths are included. The collection covers the years 1885 to 1940. Not all years are available for all tribes.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The record content varies by year, but the census records generally contain the following:

  • Indian name
  • English name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Relationship
  • Tribe
  • Reservation.
  • Current year's roll number
  • Previous year's roll number
  • A few of the censuses show the names of persons who were born or died during the year, along with date of birth and death.

Beginning in 1929, the following was added:

  • An annuity or allotment number is included if the tribe receives an annuity or allotment

Beginning in 1930, the following was added:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Degree of blood
  • Jurisdiction where enrolled
  • Name of the post office, county, and state
  • May list how many live or still births a woman had

Birth records list:

  • Census roll number (if born before the census was taken)
  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • If born live
  • Sex
  • Tribe
  • Degree of Indian blood
  • Parents degree of Indian blood
  • If living at jurisdiction where enrolled
  • If living at another jurisdiction and where
  • If living off reservation and where

Death records list:

  • Census roll year and number
  • Full name
  • Death date
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Tribe
  • Degree of Indian blood
  • Cause of death
  • If living at jurisdiction where enrolled
  • If living at another jurisdiction and where

Collection Contents

Sample Images

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, download a copy or transcribe the information. Carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later.
  • Use the ages listed to determine approximate birth dates and find the family in additional censuses.
  • Use the information found in the record to find church and vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find land, probate and immigration records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. You could get a copy of the original record from the [http:/url/ place found at the end of the first citation]. (If you can’t find the URL, delete this whole bullet point)
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county.
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.

Citing This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection citation:

“United States, Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940.” Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing NARA microfilm publication 595. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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