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

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

Posted By Josiah Hair July 25th, 2012 Last Updated on: February 2nd, 2019

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.


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 were 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.

Another important part of 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 the 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!



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.

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

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jacqueline Smith

I am looking for a Mary Sizemore who harbored a Confederate deserter, and later married. His name was William Alford. Any info would be highly appreciated!

Belinda Jean Veasey

Hi my grandmother on my dads side was said to be Cherokee supposedly father may have been full blood including an Uncle no names my grandmas name was Myrtle Willie Sanders was raised around a great(how many greats?) Aunt Kate Adams don’t know actual relation my family speaks of my grandmas Uncle Marion Sanders , wife, and at least one son on Alabama list of Cherokees?? My dads name is Jerry W.Veasey

joan escudero

Hi I am looking for the Taylor/ grooms family. David Marion Taylor was rejected of Guion miller roll. needs some info Thanks


I’m looking for Cloud from Wisconsin who married Moody of Indiana and had a child Solomon Cloud born in Illinois and another boy William Cloud. Both were kicked out of the home and Solomon was living with Archa Deffenbaugh at the age of 18 by 1850 as an indentured servant. Solomon talked to his grandchildren about being an indian so I do not know if his mother, father or both were of Indian blood.


I am looking for more info on Pretia Bedwell. She is Cherokee and can be found on the Siler and Hester Rolls. I am hoping to find out what happened to her family. They disappeared


I am searching for information on my relative who was listed and my g-g-g-g grandfather’s wife only as Nancy. No last name. but Nancy (Cherokee Fuquay(born squaw)) is on the listing.
She was born in 1792 in NC and died in 1855 Jackson County, TN after Bearing 20 children.
He was William Fuquay born abt. 1780 died 1863.
Let me know if you need more info.


Looking for any info on death records of Jessie Nivens b August 14 1898 in Indian territory. Her family has consistently been in all census (except 1920). Also, can’t find any death info on her father July Nivens b appx 1872. He was last listed in 1940 census but I can’t find anything after that. All other family members show death info except these two

Diana Barnes

My Grandmother had a cousin named Tacy Collette, and she taught in an Indian School. I don’t know where or what. Type of teacher she was. Tacy was the daughter of Rev. David Collette, and they were from Jay county Indiana. Do have information about the Indian schools and the teachers.

Nancy Parr

I’m looking for my great Grandmother, her name is Lula Jane Bryant (?) But she went by “Tallulah” My Father Noah Bo Hobgood says that she was full blooded Cherokee. I am just knowing my father and family, I never had them in my life. All I have is stories that were passed down. Just trying to find family. Thank you!

Barbara Ward

I am wondering if my great-great grandmother, was enrolled in her tribe, she lost her parents in the trail of tears and became a orphan with her sister Frances. My great-great grandmothers name was Nancy J. Schilcutt, she could speak no english, but the family has traced a Guion-Miller number Roll 67 application number 6525, but can not find if it were accepted, your help Josiah will be appreciated.


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


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…


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


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.

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow