An individual may trace lineage through the Choctaw nation by utilizing the services provided by the tribe’s Genealogy Advocacy Program or by demonstrating a direct blood relationship to someone listed on the Dawes Rolls compiled between 1898 and 1906. The Genealogy Advocacy Program helps members and potential members discover lineage for tribal membership and family histories, and the program helps them locate other sources of information. The contact information for this program is available under ChocktawNation.com.
The Dawes Rolls were created to assist the Dawes Commission in its Congressional charge to convince the Five Civilized Tribes to surrender titles to land granted under the reservation system and divide communally held land into individual allotments. The rolls were compiled to identify those eligible for land allotments but now serve as a historical register of the members of each of the five tribes. Applicants were thoroughly scrutinized before being accepted on the rolls, and they are a key tool used in modern times to secure tribal membership, although they are far from complete.
Many members chose not to enroll because they feared government persecution or objected to the allotment process. Many names were omitted because they died between the time they applied and the time the rolls were finalized or because they lacked sufficient documentation. Nevertheless, if an individual can demonstrate a direct-blood relationship to someone whose name appears on the rolls, it is generally sufficient to establish lineage through the Choctaw nation and qualify the individual for tribal membership. Fold3.com enables people to search the rolls and includes supporting documents and affidavits used as evidence of membership when the rolls were compiled.