The following information is presented to assist in answering the most commonly asked questions about genealogy research.
Many people want to know about becoming a Tribal Member based on a relative being Cherokee or of Cherokee descent.
Enrollment in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is governed by tribal ordinance #284 dated June 24, 1996 and restricts enrollment to the following:
Direct lineal ancestor must appear on the 1924 Baker Roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. (Note: The Baker Roll is the base roll of the Eastern Cherokee and contains the name, birth date, Eastern Cherokee Blood quantum and roll number of the base enrollees.
- Must possess at least 1/16th degree of Eastern Cherokee blood
- All criteria must be met in order to be eligible with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
- Enrollment is CLOSED to all people who cannot meet the above requirements.
This is a very complex subject because the Cherokee Nation once encompassed parts of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, western West Virginia, southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, northern Alabama, northwestern South Carolina and northern Georgia. The issue is further complicated by the infamous removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in the late 1830s.
During the 1800s and 1900s, there was much intermarrying between Cherokee and non-Indian settlers which makes the genealogy research process even more difficult. Some Cherokee desired to retain their Native American lineage and others did not.
The US Government conducted several censuses of the Cherokee both on a pre and post-removal basis. These rolls are printed in two publications called Cherokee Roots Vol. 1 (Eastern Cherokee) and Vol. 2 (Western Cherokee). They can be purchased from Cherokee Roots, P.O. Box 525, Cherokee, NC 28719. Vol. 1 costs $15.00 and Vol. 2 is $22.00. Both books can be purchased for $30.00. The company also has a research service available on a cost basis.
Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has nearly 12,000 enrolled members and the Western Cherokee's rolls contain over 170,000 names. While some genealogy records exist for the tribal members, it is nearly impossible to trace genealogy based on a single name which does not appear as part of tribal records.
The following provide genealogy services and/or research assistance: Cherokee Roots (address/phone# listed above), Cherokee Qualla Public Library, Acquoni Rd, Cherokee NC 28719 (The library provides Tribal Enrollment records on microfilm. This service is free of charge and must be conducted on site. A name and date of birth is needed. The library staff is available to provide limited assistance. Open 8am - 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday), The Museum of The Cherokee Indian, P.O. Box 1599, Cherokee, NC 28719, on site service available only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and is available by appointment only, 828-497-3481. We also suggest another web site loaded with research and genealogy connections:www.nativeweb.org
Genealogical and historic research assistance is also offered by James P. Myers, Jr. He will conduct roll searches and in-depth research if desired. Mail address: P.O. Box 682, Cherokee, NC 28719. Phone: 828-497-5662
While we understand and appreciate the desire of many, many people to conduct genealogy research, the tribe simply doesn't have the resources to provide extensive research on an individual.