How Do I Trace My Native American History?

Tracing your Native American history can be a daunting task, but it’s an important journey to undertake. Whether you’re searching for information about your ancestors or simply trying to learn more about your heritage, there are several resources available to help you uncover the past.

Start with Your Family

The first step in tracing your Native American history is to start with your family. Talk to your parents and grandparents and ask them what they know about your family’s background. Gather as much information as you can, including names, birth dates, and locations.

Research Tribal Records

Once you have gathered information from your family, the next step is to research tribal records. Many Native American tribes keep detailed records of their members, including birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and census records.

Contact Tribal Offices

Contact the tribal office of the tribe you believe you may be affiliated with. They may be able to provide you with information or direct you to someone who can help.

Use Online Resources

There are several online resources that can aid in tracing your Native American history. Websites like and offer access to a wealth of genealogical information, including census records and military service records.

Search Government Records

You can also search government records for information on Native Americans. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has a Genealogy Research page on their website where you can find historical documents related to Indian affairs.

Connect with Other Researchers

Connecting with other researchers who are also tracing their Native American roots can be helpful. You can join online forums or Facebook groups dedicated to genealogy research or specific Native American tribes.

Attend Powwows and Other Cultural Events

Attending powwows and other cultural events is another way to connect with other Native Americans and learn more about your heritage. You may even be able to find distant relatives at these events.


Tracing your Native American history requires patience and perseverance, but the rewards of uncovering your heritage are immeasurable. By starting with your family, researching tribal records, using online resources, connecting with other researchers, and attending cultural events, you can piece together a more complete picture of your past.