You don't have to trek to NARA or a regional branch to view all
the archives' American Indian records: You can search online through
the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) <www.archives.gov/research_room/arc>
. ARC catalogs most of NARA's holdings, and in some cases, links to images of actual records.
ARC indexes tens of thousands of American Indian records, including
citizenship and tribal-enrollment applications submitted to the Dawes
Commission; the Dawes Rolls, which listed applicants whom the
commission allowed on tribal rolls; the Guion-Miller Roll and the
Wallace Roll, lists of Cherokee applying for government compensation;
and the Kern Clifton Roll, an 1867 tribal census of the Cherokee
Nation, What's more, NARA has actually digitized many of these
documents, so you can view an image of the original record within ARC.
ARC can be finicky about search terminology, so before you start
querying the database, peruse NARA's instructions: From the ARC home
page, click Search Hints for Genealogical Data in ARC. Under Native
Americans, you'll find descriptions of the available databases, along
with suggested search terms. For example, if you're looking for a Dawes
Commission application, NARA recommends typing enrollment, the word and
(ARC uses Boolean syntax), plus the person's name into the keyword box:
for example, enrollment and paulina jones.
If the database has
information on that person, you'll get a list of hits — just click on
the title for details. When ARC has an electronic copy of a record, the
results will include a Digital Copy Available link — that means you can
view the card bearing your ancestor's name.
From the April 2004 Family Tree Magazine