Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Cherokee: 27.Aug.1906 – 18.May.1909

By Josiah Hair on July 25, 2012
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Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Band of Cherokee

27. August. 1906 – 18. May .1909

 By: Josiah Hair

One may argue that the Guion Miller Roll is perhaps one of the most important Rolls ever done of the Cherokee Nation in a Genealogical sense.  This roll is more formally referred to as the Eastern Cherokee Emigrant Payroll.  The roll was taken roughly the same time as the famous Dawes Roll, but the similarity’s end there.  The Roll is a list of Cherokees that applied for compensation arising from the judgment of the United States Court of Claims on May 28, 1906 for the Eastern Cherokee Tribe.  Approximately 46,000 people applied for compensation but not all were admitted.  Basically this was a payment roll ($133.33 per person) for the Eastern Cherokee and their descendants that had been removed from the Southeast.  It was not a citizenship roll as the Dawes Roll was.  The Guion Miller Roll lists Cherokees in two broad categories: Cherokees residing East of the Mississippi and Cherokees residing West of the Mississippi. This compensation did not apply to those Cherokees that had left the East prior to 1835 and were covered by the Treaty of 1828 what we today call the Old Settlers. The Old Settlers received compensation in 1896 for loss of lands and other goods promised them by treaties of 1828 and 1832.

Criteria

The Guion Miller Roll has several criteria that had to be met in order to be accepted as Cherokee. 1) The applicant could not be an Old Settler or Descendants of one and 2) the applicant or an ancestor had to be listed on one of three other rolls.  These three other rolls were the 1851 Chapman Roll listing those Cherokees that remained in the East; the 1851 Drennen Roll which listed those that had been moved to the West; and the 1835 Henderson Roll which immediately preceded forced removal.

Another important point was that one did not have to reside within the Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory or the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina.  Adults and minor children where included in this roll just as in the Dawes Roll.

The importance of the Guion Miller Rolls is the fact that an applicant listed parents’ names in both English and Cherokee as well as listing Grandparents and siblings. The key was to list as much as the applicant could remember.  Of course memory is an elusive thing; one sibling has a better memory than another but on this roll one can compare both. To begin one must have the complete names of ancestors that they believe may have been listed in the index.  Another useful fact is the Guion Miller Roll also listed the Dawes Roll number (that is if an ancestor was on the Dawes Roll).  This of course becomes very helpful in finding an ancestor.

After one finds the ancestor in the index they may have their application number assigned to them (this will not be the same as the Dawes Roll number as this roll pertained to all Cherokees East and West).  Then one looks in the application section of the Roll using the number that was found in the index. This will bring up the pages of the application.  Usually the original document was made up of three pages along with the addition of supporting documents and a cover page. On the Cover page one will find in the upper right hand corner either the terms “Accepted” or “Rejected” and information on why. If “Rejected,” the document will describe that the person has no prior connection to the Cherokees in the West or East.  If “Accepted,” the document will list who the ancestor was and in some cases the applicant will be named as such and where one can find them on either the Chapman or Drennen or Henderson Rolls.

Names Names Names

The Cherokees used several names throughout their lives most especially those that were born before 1900 and earlier. This was a cultural thing and an English thing in some cases.  Before 1900 most full blood Cherokees did not speak much English and hardly wrote English at all, and thus most applications used a mark (x) as a signature.  So through an interpreter the applicant would attempt to pronounce and have the stenographer write down the name. Examples: Ummerteskee, Ahmadeske and Askwater, are all the same person, and Towudee , Tuwodi, Hawk and Hawkins are the same person.  Not all names were translated into English and instead they would use a name that may have several meanings like Soot Smoke Brown or Little Hair Hare Hair. This is why it is so important for one to have an unbroken line of names to ancestors starting with themselves and then parents, grandparents and each successive generation written down with birth and death dates.  Only then can one have a complete picture. One cannot jump generations and do a look-up on one of these rolls without knowing how they are linked to the generations before them.

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Another important part to this roll is that of Maiden names.  In the Dawes Roll they were mainly concerned with the Head of Household meaning the Male, but on the Guion Miller roll each adult person in a house could apply for compensation.  So the wife’s family would be listed on her application which is of tremendous value when tracing genealogy of Paternal and Maternal sides.

Notes Notes Notes

On the application one may find several written notes in the margins or they may find typed notes at the bottom of the application.  These notes usually pertain to a person that the commission found on either the Drennen or Chapman Roll.  One example is this: D636 Delaware which means Drennen Roll Delaware District.   Therefore one should look up the 1851 Drennen Roll in the Delaware District and find one name or a group clustered around that number.  Next to that name(s) is usually a number which generally correlates back to the Miller roll application number in an unbroken chain.

Advice From the Author

Never give up when upon the first or second time you don’t find who or what you are looking for.  The Guion Miller Roll is cross-indexed somewhat but not all the notes are included on each siblings application.  I have found several other siblings that had slightly different notes which when investigated reveal a treasure trove of information.

For example my Great Great Grandfather had two brothers and one sister on his application but the roll only mentions one brother and gives names of others only in Cherokee.  However, when I researched the mentioned brother there is much more information on that application and it actually listed several people in English that had enrolled under an English Name.

So armed with those names in English I find all the siblings and reviewing each application side by side I now have each name in Cherokee and English as well as their Parents and Grandparents names.  Now for the first time I find the surname in Cherokee as revealed on one application.  Persistence pays off!

It is very imperative to have several names for each person because when you go back to the Drennen Roll (Cherokees in Indian Territory) many names are in Cherokee that is written phonetically and most of these names are somewhat misspelled.

I say misspelled because a Cherokee Speaker even has a hard time translating them as a lot are mishmash-ed.  But un-jumbling the letters much like playing word scramble you can with reasonable certainly determine they are indeed your ancestor.

Again – Persistence pays off!

References

Item from Record Group 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA], 1793 – 1989 Descriptive Text preface pg1

Personal research of the Author on his own Genealogy.


Indian Census Collection


TOPICS: Blog, Featured, Native American Articles, Native American Culture, Native American Genealogy, Native American History, Native American Information

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14 Responses to “Guion Miller Roll of the Eastern Cherokee: 27.Aug.1906 – 18.May.1909”

  1. sharon rushin says:

    Im interested in locating my cherokee family and looked in the daws rolls. would appreciate any information pertaining to (john raymond blakenship, born 10-20-1873, or my uncle that is his brother james ross blankenship chief of cherokee with sister princess dlithia sara jane blankenship of the cherokee tribe around 1800 ??? any info would be greatly appreciated. can not find what happened to them or were they are buried. have looked through numerous records and are greatly sad that such a find would be overly joyful. these are my past family and without this information i can not rest. if any documentation is found i have email address inclosed. would love pictures any info. bless you.
    sharon freespirit in life.

  2. Jo Olsen says:

    I am interested in locating my mothers family. She was taken by Tennessee Childrens Home Society in the 1940′s from the Lenoir City TN area. Her family was Cherokee. English surname was listed as Hattley. Could be spelled any number of ways.This has been a 15 year quest that will benefit my entire family. Please help me to realize my dream. Many thanks. Jo Olsen, laughin otter

  3. Jones sabo these people appear in different shape says:

    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective interesting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.. Jones sabo these people appear in different shape http://www.zelkovavc.com/index.php/member/174868/

  4. terry lee green says:

    would like too find out what tribe im from? my grandfather joseph franklin green and my grandmother mary j. green,they were cherokee j f green birth date 1857 mary j green birth date 1867.

  5. Troy Jones says:

    How may I view the miller roll.

    I have been given numbers of two relatives;
    both are supposedly listed in the miller roll…

    William H. Fortner # 30865
    Pleasant W. Fortner # 42349

    I am trying to locate any info about the tribe we are from and related information on any existing contacts for this tribe.

    Any help you can be is appreciated.
    Thank you, … “wa-do”

    -Troy

    • Josiah says:

      William H Fortner #30865 and Pleasant W Fortner #42349 are both listed as rejected. What this means is the commission could not find a connection to anyone that these people listed on their applications. The commission used several rolls Namely the Rolls in 1851 Drennon and Chapman and the rolls in 1835 and 1846. The 1851 rolls are list of those that stayed with the tribe in either Indian Territory or Qualla Boundary in North Carolina, Or were with the tribe prior to Removal in 1835. The source that they both listed as there tie to the Cherokees is William H Howard #7602, William Fortner list him as a cousin. On app 7602 the commission notes that they could not find anyone listed on the above rolls thus no ties could be found that they were ever a party to Rolls or Treaties between the Cherokee Nation and the US Government. It appears that William Fortner had hired an attorney to trace this down and unfortunately that was a common thing in the East! I have found hundreds of flyers and newspaper Ads from attorneys claiming that could get you a share of the settlement. Of Course the Attorney got paid but in most cases these were false leads… Sources to these documents are found at http://www.fold3.com Eastern Cherokee Applications page 106 and Miller Guion Roll index. It is a paid site I use the monthly service which is $12.99 and turn off auto-renew. Josiah

  6. edwin clark says:

    I am trying to verify my great uncles acceptence int the Cherokee tribe. His name was General E Pace, he was born around 1859.

  7. athena says:

    Im trying to find out if our great grandmother had a roll number we know shes full blood cherokee but of which tribe not sure and every where i look they want money which i dont have ive researched the family back to 1724 here is the names grandparents zoe dunlap artis she married john artis zoes mother my great grandmother is fannie j gravely dunlap married john dunlap fannies mom my great great grandmother is mary evaline pauley she married john h gravely.ive tried to search the dawes roll index with no luck it sends to ancestory or my heritage and they want you to pay for the membership to geth this information and i cant find them on the census rolls with the tribe information can any one help please

    • Josiah says:

      I have access to these files and looked up the name: Artis of which there were only Three on the entire index, All three were rejected for not showing any tie to the Cherokee Tribe in the past namely the 1851, 1846 or 1835 Rolls. I did not find A John Dunlap ever filed a claim. Typically if they did not file a claim with the Guion Miller commission for a share of the claim granted to All Cherokees except for Old Settlers (Old Settlers recieved there claim in 1896) then they were not Cherokee. As for the Dawes Roll only those that were already recognized as Cherokee AND living within the boundries of the Cherokee Nation. Everyone that enrolled we have a copy of that file, of the 200,000 that enrolled only 40,000 were actually approved and the vast majority were not approved because they could not show any tie in the present or past to the Cherokee Tribe. It is possible they were some other tribe but if you can find them on the Federal Census prior to 1900 chances are very good that they were not Native…

      • athena says:

        Hello again ive done a little more research and came across this information on one of the ancestors his name is shadric pauley says hes on the 1860 wv census then it gives sheet # and letter 222D nara affiliate public # T9 film #1406 gs film # 1255406 digital folder 004244691 and image # 00545 also i found his shadrachs father ephraim pauley that has a census in the 1860 too but i dont have them numbers and i cant find where i can put that information in to see that information or connect that information to a indian tribe i also linked a hannah jones to them and she has a choctaw roll number but im not quite sure if she is a decendant of the hannah jones i linked to this family where do i go from here ? yhank you for your time again

      • Josiah says:

        To do a search of an ancestor in the past you must start with yourself and move back in time to parents, grandparents, great grandparents ect ect. That way you know that they are the people you are searching for, To jump back 4 or 5 generations to a name in the past, is a shot in the dark. Very unlikely you will really know that you are actually looking at an Ancestor or some one with a similiar name! If you are searching for Native Ancestors that were possibley of the 5 civilized tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole and Creek) Then that ancestor would have typically resided in Indian Territory between 1840-1900. If they are listed on a FEDERAL Census during that period chances are close to 100% they are not NATIVE. Of course there are exceptions to this but in all cases you will find other evidence that they resided with there particular tribe OR you will find evidence that their Parents, GrandParents or Siblings somebody in the past did. If you find in all cases no ties what so ever then chances are again close to 100% they are not native.

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