This guide is designed to help genealogy researchers identify and find the resources useful to uncovering their Southwestern Native American ancestors. If you are new to genealogy research, it will be helpful to visit our guide Basic Resources - Genealogical Resources.
If you are just getting started, I encourage you to investigate the U.S. Department of Interiors A Guide to Tracing American Indian & Alaska Native Ancestry. It can be found in full-text online.
Identify where you are in the process.
- Are you already a tribal member? If so, contacting your tribe directly may be the best place to start. The Bureau of Indian Affairs maintains a Directory of Tribal Leaders.
- You are sure that one of your close relatives was a tribal member, but aren't quite sure about the tribe and are feeling frustrated. You may be misspelling the tribe name. The National Indian Law Library maintains links to the most recent lists of Federally recognized tribes and Native villages.
- You suspect that you have a Native ancestor, but don't know any details. Start with your most recent family history. Begin by investigating state and local government, school, courthouse, and church records. The most important information is vital statistics: ancestral name, marriage, place and date of birth and death. Follow the same process you would when searching for any ancestor. After obtaining names dates and locations, you can try finding them in the Federal records to help establish the tribe.