by William D. Welge, Research Division Director
Bill Welge here. One of the disconcerting aspects of looking for Indian ancestors is the lack of census data. The Cherokees began compiling decennial census records beginning in 1880, but prior to that time, census taking was very sporadic.
One way to hopefully locate family members is to search through records other than census materials. As an example, among the court records of the Cherokee Nation there is a list of individuals who were issued certificates for payment for services rendered for the quarter ending December 31st, 1875.* Some 41 men are listed and why they are being paid.
This is just one way to locate family when census records are not available.
* Cherokee National records – Courts document # 532. See microcopy CHN-70.