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Native American Genealogy Resources - Southwest Tribes

This guide will assist you in locating some of the useful Native American genealogical resources in New Mexico and the greater Southwest region.


Smithsonian Institution Flickr, 2005 Powwow, no known copyright restrictions. Photographer:Walter Larrimore. Repository: National Museum of the American Indian

About Federal Records

National Archives and Records Administration - NARA is the organization responsible for archiving the valuable records created by the United States government with some as old as 1775. There are National Archives branches in 17 states, each with unique materials. Researchers can visit NARA facilities, but many of these records have both microfilm and digital options at the New Mexico State Library. If the records you need are not available digitally or on microfilm, another option is to request them from NARA via fax or mail. Ask a librarian if you need help with this process.

The main NARA record collections relevant to researching Native American ancestry are: the Federal Census Records, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Records, and Military Service Records. 

Help with Tribal Identification - Federal Census records can be valuable tools for correctly identifying your ancestors tribe, agency, and reservation. Additionally, they may provide useful details about individuals such as, degree of Native American blood. Once the tribe is known, you are able to move on to looking at specific tribal records. NARA has records collections like special census (Special Census of Indians 1880 (not at the NMSL), school records (part of RG 75), and allotment records (also part of RG 75). Allotment records can provide information on the name of the individual/allottee; the tribe; dates; and goods, lands, or properties being transferred. Allotments can be recorded in indexes, ledgers, cards, rolls, schedules, maps, and plans. Many of these records are not yet digitized, nor are they available on microfilm.