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American Indian Studies: American Indian Genealogy

This page is a starting point for all students researching American Indian issues. This guide is created by the Labriola National American Indian Data Center.

Family History Library

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has set up Family History Centers throughout the world to assist in genealogical searches.  The Family History Library suggests you come with a family tree in hand.  Correctly spelled names of ancestors going back before 1920 provide a good foundation to begin research.  The Labriola Center has a complete list of the Family History Centers in the Southwestern States and below is the address of the Family History Library in Mesa, Arizona.

Family History Library
41 S Hobson
Mesa, AZ
(480) 964-1200

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The following bibliography lists reference material dealing with Native American genealogy.  These resources include material found in the Labriola National American Indian Data Center in the University Libraries, websites, and other research facilities.  

 A good place to begin when looking into your family history are introductory texts on genealogy.  The Labriola Center has three such books as well as an instructional video.  Census information may also play a key role in your search.  The following material may also be obtained from your local library.

Additionally, the Labriola Center has several books by Jeff Bowen which contain census information and birth and death records for various Native American tribes.


National Archives

There are also many records in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. that can be used for researching Native American ancestry.  These records include special censuses, school records, tribal enrollment records, and allotment records.  As a general rule, persons researching their Native American ancestry should begin their research the same way other researcher do: (1) gather as much information as possible from relatives; (2) obtain birth, marriage, and death certificates from appropriate state or county vital records offices; (3) begin census research in the 1920 census and work backward to 1910, 1900 and so forth.  Researchers should also read books on how to do genealogical research. Prechtel-Kluskens, Claire. �American Indian Censuses, 1880-1920.� National Archives and Records Administration, Volume 3:5 (1997): 21-23.


The Labriola Center has a guide to the holdings pertaining to Native Americans in the National Archives entitled American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications.

Additional information can be found though websites and by visiting facilities which keep genealogical records. 

BIA Genealogy Websites


Bureau of Indian Affairs general web page
Tracing Indian Ancestry



Subject Guide

Joyce Martin
Arizona State University Libraries

ASU Libraries

Arizona State University
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287
Phone: 480-965-3605

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