Indians of Indiana
Start your search for records of an American Indian ancestor in other records since Indians are often found in the same records as all other Americans. After you finish those records, turn to records specifically about Indians. Opportunities for genealogical research for American Indians are good because more government records have been created for Indians than for any other ethnic group. The Family History Library is beginning to expand its American Indian collection. Many Indian records must still be obtained from their original archive or library.
It is important to study the history of the tribe, such as migration patterns, marriage and naming customs, and affiliations with government agencies or churches. Because some tribes moved several times, records about them may be in many locations. If you have evidence of Indian ancestry, there are some unique records you can use. Note, however, that many traditions of Indian ancestry are unfounded. Before you can effectively search American Indian records, you should:
- Identify a specific ancestor who was Indian and learn where the ancestor lived.
- Identify his or her tribe.
- Study the history of the tribe.
Among the major tribes that lived in what is now Indiana were the Delaware, Kickapoo, Miami, Mound Builders, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, Shawnee, and Wea. After 1794, treaties were made that opened up large areas of land for settlement. At the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, the Indians were defeated, and white settlements then proceeded at an increased rate. By the 1840s, most of the Indians had moved westward to other lands, either voluntarily or by force.
American Indian Sources
Census indexes are available that list the American Indians in the 1900 and 1910 censuses. See the "Minorities" section above for these sources.
Other sources are:
- Beckwith, Hiram Williams. The Illinois and Indiana Indians. New York, New York: Arno Press, 1975. (FHL book 970.1 B389i; fiche 6087719.) This book gives histories of the various tribes in Indiana.
- Rafert, Stewart. American-Indian Genealogical Research in the Midwest: Resources and Perspectives. National Genealogical Society Quarterly 76 (September 1988): 212-24. (FHL book 973 B2ng.) This article mentions useful local, county, and federal records to search for information on Americans Indians.
In the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog many American Indian records are listed under:
INDIANA - NATIVE RACES
See also the Family History Library Catalog’s Subject Search under the name of the tribe, for example:
Tribes and Bands of Indiana
Chippewa, Delaware, Eel River, Erie, Illinois, Iroquois, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Mesopelea, Miami, Mississinway, Neutrals, Piankashaw, Potawatomi, Quiatenous, Seneca, Shawnee, Shockey, Wea, Wyandot
Wee-sau, Ash-Kum, Mau-ke-Kose, Wee-si-o-nas, Com-o-za of Patiwatan, Motas, Mes-Quaw-uck, Che-case, Aub-ba-mau-bee, Upper Kispoko Band of Shawnee
Okaw-mause, Kee-waw-nee, Nee-Boast, Ma Che Saw (Mat chis jaw), Naswaw kee (Nees wawgh gee), Quash-quaw, pee pin ah was, Mach kah tah mo may, No tawkah, To I sas, Me mot way, Che quaw ka ko or Che chaw kosa, Ma sac, Memorn i nee, Me mot way orMe shing go me sia, Me to sin ia, Wee san
As identified in the National Atlas of the United States of America, there are no current federally-recognized reservations in Indiana. The following are reservations historically associated with the state.
- Godfrey Reservation
- Meshingomesia Reservation
- Osandiah Reservation
- Ozahshinquah Reservation
- Tahkonong Reservation
- Wapapincha Reservation
- Wife of Benjamin Reservation
- Fort Wayne Agency 1824-30
- Indiana Agency 1824-1850
Family History Library
- Lyman Copeland Draper Collection which includes:
Tecumseh Papers 9Shawnee Chief-1768-1823 FHL film: 889237 & 887238
- Moravian Church Records
1870 and 1880 index to Blacks, Mulatto and Indians
1870 Census 5 films 1st film 1509480
1880 Census 8 films 1st film 1509284
Indiana Church for a list of missions
Indiana History for a calendar of events
Indiana Military for a list of forts