The Baca / Douglas Genealogy and Family History Blog

28 September 2009

Searching for Native American Roots

This past weekend, I was at the Albuquerque Special Collections Library when I was approached by two sisters who were trying to apply for a Certificate of Indian Blood for Taos Pueblo. Although I knew next to nothing about how to apply, I did try to my best to help them.

The ladies had compiled a number of documents such as baptismal, birth, marriage and census records. They mentioned that they were having a hard time getting the pueblo to accept their application. They weren't sure what they needed; however, after asking them a number of questions, it appeared that the pueblo was requesting official certified copies of certain documents. Therefore, they would have to request these from specific entities that held these documents.

Some of my suggestions that I gave them were:

1.) They need to contact the pueblo to find out exactly what was required and request required forms. Taos Pueblo has a website (click here) that, although it does not have specific information about how to apply for a certificate, does have contact information for the governor's office. Some very basic information about applying for tribal enrollment can also be found on the U.S. Department of Interior 's website (click here.)

2.) They need to prove an unbroken link between themselves and their ancestor who they believe to have full Taos Pueblo Indian blood (in this case, it was their grandfather.) They must also prove that their ancestor is the same person who is listed in a Indian census of the pueblo. In order to do this, they must follow the Genealogical Proof Standard, which can be found in a number of publications including Genealogical Resources of New Mexico, 3rd Edition and Native American Genealogical Resources of New Mexico, both written and compiled by Karen Stein Daniel, CGsm and for sale by the New Mexico Genealogical Society (click here.) The Genealogical Proof Standard can also be found on the NMGS website (click here.)

3.) They will also need to provide proper citations for their research. As such, I suggested that they purchase a copy of Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. This may be purchased on . If a copy is bought through the NMGS website, proceeds will go to the Albuquerque Special Collections Library to purchase new books.(click here.)

4.) If the pueblo indeed needs certified copies of these records, they would have to request these documents from the organizations that hold the originals. This could include county clerk offices; state records offices; church, diocese and/or archdiocese offices; and the National Archives and Records Administration (click here for the NARA website.) There will be a cost for certified copies. Certified copies are official documents. At no point should anyone send originals of any document to organizations requesting them, as those documents may be lost or become part of the permanent collection of that organization. Certified copies should be sent instead and are more than sufficient to fulfill any request.

5.) I sold them a copy of Native American Genealogical Resources of New Mexico (click here.) There is no other tome like this one. It is thoroughly researched and extensive in its scope. Items included in this volume are a list of archives, libraries and museums; church, mission and religious resources; Family History Library microfilm resources; federal government resources; Internet resources; resources categorized by tribe and pueblo; and much, much more. Anyone researching Native American ancestry in New Mexico (and many other places) will want to have this book in their collection (once again, you can order it by clicking on this link.)

There may be more to researching and applying for tribal enrollment. If anyone has further information, please contact me at and I may post your information on this blog.

Blog post revised 09/29/09.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Robert, I'd say you gave them pretty good advice. My dad did all our applications for CDIB for the Chickasaw Nation, but from what I can remember, it was the same process (with the same expectations) you've described here.