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Native American Trails
By Jane -- aka Pioneer Woman

New Mexico Genealogy and Research

Hello: I'm Pioneer Woman (a/k/a Jane) the Native American Coordinator for the New Mexico Genealogy. I am a genealogist (and web mistress) so the gist of this page is geared to genealogy research of Native American tribes. 

Be forewarned - genealogy research is addictive.

For all of us who heard as a child, great grand someone in our family was a Native American, this page is meant to help answer some questions. Here you can find a variety of information for Native Americans. If you are new to genealogy, be sure you learn the basics, use proper etiquette, keep orderly records and notes and be persistent. Research is very time consuming so be sure to allocate time wisely. American Indian genealogy is a broad and varied subject.  When you explore your heritage, it will take you into new territory and away from usual research habits, such as the early federal census. You may still find clues in land and military records but you'll be digging into regional files, federal "rolls" and a culture still deeply rooted in oral tradition which provides no hard source for documentation. Your quest will introduce you to a population of more than 550 federally recognized tribes whose members speak more than 250 languages!

Native American Federally Recognized Tribes of New Mexico
Jicarilla Apache Tribe of the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation
Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation
Navajo Nation of Arizona, New Mexico & Utah
Pueblo of Acoma
Pueblo of Cochiti
Pueblo of Jemez
Pueblo of Isleta
Pueblo of Laguna
Pueblo of Nambe
Pueblo of Picuris
Pueblo of Pojoaque
Pueblo of San Felipe
Pueblo of San Juan
Pueblo of San Ildefonso
Pueblo of Sandia
Pueblo of Santa Ana
Pueblo of Santa Clara
Pueblo of Santo Domingo
Pueblo of Taos
Pueblo of Tesuque
Pueblo of Zia
Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation
For a comprehensive list of New Mexico Tribal Councils, do a quick search with the Google search engine for:
 "New Mexico"+Tribal Council and you will get over 35,500 hits - you choose the site you like.

About New Mexico: Some facts to help with your research.

The yellow field and red symbol colors are the colors of Spain. First brought to New Mexico by Spanish explorers in 1540. On New Mexico's flag we see a red sun with rays stretching out from it. There are four groups of rays with four rays in each group. This is an ancient sun symbol of a Native American people called the Zia, who believed that the giver of all good gave them gifts in groups of four:
-The four directions - north, east, south and west.
-The four seasons - spring, summer, fall and winter.
-The day - sunrise, noon, evening and night.
-Life itself - childhood, youth, middle years and old age.
All of these are bound by a circle of life and love, without a beginning or end . 
Border States: Other areas you can check out.
Arizona   Colorado   Oklahoma   Texas   Utah
Area: 121593 sq. mi, 5th   Land 121359 sq. mi., Water 234 sq. mi.
Area Code: 505
Economy: Look for oral interviews, notations on census, old phone books, shipping records. estate and probate records for mention or disposition of agricultural and industrial products.
Agriculture: Cattle, dairy products, hay, nursery stock, chilies. 
Industry: Electric equipment, petroleum and coal products, food processing, printing and publishing, stone, glass, and clay products, tourism.
State Songs: New Mexico has two state songs, "O, Fair New Mexico" and "Asi es Nuevo Mejico
State Flower: Yucca flower   Yucca glauca   
New Mexico’s state flower is sometimes called “Spanish bayonet” for its long sharp, leaves. Another nickname is “beargrass.” Native Americans used yucca roots for making soap and hair tonic. (That’s why it’s sometimes called “soapweed.”) They also ate the central spikes, flowers, and seed pods. A spiny leaf tip, with fibers attached, could be used as needle and thread! Members of the agave family, to which yuccas belong, have a wide variety of uses. Some companies sell products made from yuccas, claiming they have medicinal value.

If your research takes you to one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole), you'll appreciate the availability of records such as the Dawes Rolls -- a listing of more than 100,000 tribal members. However, researching the smaller, less-documented tribes could take you to the National Archives, Tribal Offices, Historical Societies or even Ancient Burial Grounds. Your research skills will be challenged and you will hit dead ends--but the rewards of finding your connection to this continent's first people, the Native Americans, will make it worth the effort.

When: 4th Friday in September
This day is set aside to honor and celebrate Native Americans, the first Americans to live in the U.S. Still commonly referred to as American Indians, the term "Native Americans" has been used in recent years as a sign of respect and recognition that they were indeed the first people to populate our wonderful nation. By the time the first explorers and settlers arrived from Europe, Native Americans had populated the entire North American Continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the northern reaches of Canada.

Here are five steps to help you get started.

1. Begin with your own family.

It's important to talk with your family as much as possible. Obtain as much information regarding your ancestors as you can; handed- down stories and all; they could contain clues for your research which you can attempt to document. Locate any old photos in possession of family members and have them identify the person or persons, the location, and the time frame if possible.

2. Find the Tribal Location.
If your family hails from present-day New Mexico, you can probably narrow your first search down to Southwest tribes such as the Navajo or Apache.

Take a look at area maps and try to locate the tribal area. Maps contain many of the tribes, their locations and  tribal links. Follow the links. If the tribe was in New Mexico, be sure to check the bordering states: Arizona   Colorado   Oklahoma   Texas   Utah

Look for that information buried and forgotten in family bible, records, vital statistics, letters or diaries. If you don't find it there, you'll need to expand your research into tribal histories and migration patterns. (see Online Resources below)

3. Learn tribal culture and history.
Searching for Native American roots means sharpening your skills as a historian. Without the basic understanding of tribal history and historical context within the larger perspective of American expansion, it will be far more difficult for you to dig out your roots. In some cases, you'll need to know the migration patterns of a particular tribe or the sometimes many areas in which it was resettled. Our ancestors did not stay in one place forever.

4. Know what records are available. 
If you are currently a member of a tribe, you will may contact your tribal enrollment office for a copy of your pedigree and your local Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) office for copies of probates and allotment records (for tribes west of the Mississippi). But, if neither you nor any of your kin are enrolled, your search will be more difficult.  Most of the time, you will need to use regular genealogical records with emphasis on Indian tribes pertinent to your individual families.

Don't jump ahead and begin researching with the early records; instead find your ancestors on the 1930 census or other documents and work backwards; documenting where they lived, when they lived there and who their neighbors were. Many times families moved and relocated together, and some intermarried, sometimes into different tribes. If they disappear around 1900-1910 then look to the Indian "rolls".

Tribal Indians were not counted in early federal censuses. Census records from 1790 to 1850 included only Indians living in settled areas who were taxed and didn't claim a tribal affiliation. Indians on the reservations or those who lived a nomadic existence were not taxed, and therefore not counted. Some Indians "passed as white" and are not identified as Indians.

The 1860 federal census added a category called "Indian (taxed)." From 1870 to 1910, the census had an "Indian" category, but it didn't include reservation Indians until 1890. Most of that census was lost to fire, though, so 1900 is the first available census that lists most Native Americans.

5. Use Online Resources.

Mailing lists-Genealogy mailing lists are a quick and easy way for researchers to network with one another. Once you've located your tribe, join in discussions at some of the nearly 60 mailing lists dedicated to Native American research at Rootsweb Native American and Rootsweb Ethnic-Native 

Publications-Many tribes, historical societies and individuals publish journals or newsletters about a specific tribe or about American Indian research in general. Look for online newsletters. Read books.

How Many Ancestors Do You Have?
1)................1 YOU 
2).................2 parents 
3)............4 grandparents 
     4)...........8 great grandparents 
5)...........16 gg grandparents 
6)...........32 ggg grandparents 
7)...........64 gggg grandparents 
8)..........128 ggggg grandparents 
9)..........256 gggggg grandparents 
10..........512 ggggggg grandparents 
11).......1,024 gggggggg grandparents 
12).......2,048 ggggggggg grandparents 
13).......4,096 gggggggggg grandparents 
14).......8,192 ggggggggggg grandparents 
15)......16,184 gggggggggggg grandparents 
16)......32,768 ggggggggggggg grandparents 
17)......65,536 gggggggggggggg grandparents 
18).....131,072 ggggggggggggggg grandparents 
19).....262,144 gggggggggggggggg grandparents 
20).....524,288 ggggggggggggggggg grandparents 
21)...1,048,576 gggggggggggggggggg grandparents 
22)...2,097,152 ggggggggggggggggggg grandparents

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Music Playing: Sacred Ground the Wind Walker. 
This song is dedicated to the areas throughout North America which are considered sacred to the many tribes who once inhabited them freely. Although much Sacred Ground was not considered such by others, much remains in its original beauty and wonder intact. To hear more beautiful music like the song "Red, White and Blue" sung by Three Eagles visit Eddy Three Eagles web site.
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