As information spreads about Aboriginal Americans throughout social media more and more self-identified African Americans ask themselves "How do I trace my lineage?". Tracing your lineage is by no means a walk in a park but at least retaining some information about your family is a start. Researching your family's history is a good thing and it's something we recommend for everyone.
Too often we are taught a generalized history about different groups of people and their nations and civilizations but we're not taught to look into our own family's lineage and what they accomplished throughout history. Aboriginal Americans should first ask themselves these questions. Who am I related to? What did they accomplish? And how does this information pertain to me?
Learning about your own family and ancestors gives you power. When you know information about bloodline you become secure in who you are as a person. Many falsely classified African Americans who are originally Aboriginal Americans don't have that luxury due to colonization, paper genocide, and mental warfare.
To learn more about Paper Genocide, reclassification of Origines, and how to research your own ancestry order my book Discovering Genealogy here.
The first step to discovering one's lineage is by talking to your elders or parents about your family and where y'all come from. Write down the names and places they mention. Write down their birthdays and death dates. This is an important step. You need to know the names of the people that are related to you and the names of your elders and their elders.
If you are adopted first gather information from home sources, including interviews with extended family members. Determine if your adoption records are open or closed, and request the original birth certificate and court documents, if you can. If the state has an adoption registry or medical information exchange program, sign up. Some states will also give non-identifying information from the OBC.
Make flashcards about your family or record a video of yourself or your family talking about your ancestors or relatives. I recommend getting a scrapbook and keep information about your family.
Once you have the names of your people log into Ancestry Geanology websites, for example, Ancestry.com and find documents of your elders and ancestors. Check for your family documents on the federal and state census records. Some churches even keep family records and documents so check with your church too.
If you are looking for records of your Indigenous ancestors it can be tricky and hard. Due to paper genocide, many documents of Aboriginal Americans have been lost or not even recorded.
Census.gov states "Prior to 1900, few Indians are included in the decennial federal census. Indians are not identified in the 1790-1840 censuses. In 1860, Indians living in the general population are identified for the first time. Nearly all of the 1890 census schedules were destroyed as a result of the fire at the Department of Commerce in 1921.
Beginning with the 1900 census, Indians are enumerated on reservations as well as in the general population." - Source: https://www.census.gov/…/…/censuses_of_american_indians.html
Yes, how convenient right? You can still search Indian rolls and Dawes rolls to see if your ancestors or elders were registered into an Indigenous Nation(s).
It can be hard and overwhelming but take your time. Learning about one's ancestry is not a contest or a race. It's for you to keep and cherish. Good luck on your journey!
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