The 1906/09 "Roll of the Eastern Cherokees" is better known as "The Guion Miller Roll".  It was created as a result of a successful lawsuit filed by three groups of Cherokees who had not been paid all of the money due them as a result of the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. This is the ILLEGAL "treaty" that resulted in the forcible removal from their homes of those Cherokees who refused to give up their tribal citizenship, and the infamous "Trail of Tears" in 1838/39. Thousands were first herded into "pens" and for weeks/months were given food that was not fit for human consumption,  contaminated drinking water, and most were forced to sleep in the open. This was done in order to "break their spirit" so they would agree to go to the western wilderness lands of Indian Territory! It worked-- by the time they were to be transported, they would have agreed to go ANYWHERE in order to get out of the pens!

The Guion Miller Roll is the most important source of Cherokee genealogical research of any of the rolls, because the application required extensive information to be supplied by the applicant. Between 27 Aug 1906 and 18 May 1909 there were 45,940 applications filed from the United States, Canada, Mexico and-- Syria! It listed an estimated 90,000 individual applicants. Each qualifying applicant received a warrant worth $133.33 for their share of the one-time payment due to them. In order for an application to be accepted on this roll, the applicant had to prove descent from a person who was shown on the 1835 roll of Eastern Cherokees (also known as The Henderson Roll), which listed the citizenship of the tribe at that time. In order for them to have been listed on that roll as "citizens", they had to have lived in the Eastern Cherokee Nation (see map "Eastern Nations", clickable from the main page).

The National Archives has uploaded the digital images of the entire INDEX to the Guion Miller Roll applications to their NAIL website. This online index is to the name of every applicant who filed an application, but not (necessarily) of the children listed on that application. While it does lists all primary applicants who filed, it will not tell you if the application was accepted or rejected. If you are tracing your family history, this SHOULD be immaterial! Finding and even verifying an ancestor who was accepted on this roll will N-O-T qualify you for tribal membership in the Cherokee Tribe today, only the 1902 Dawes Roll will do that (see "Requirements for Enrolling"- clickable from the main page). What it WILL do is give you at least two generations of information back from the applicant.

One other suggestion;  Check all of your known ancestors through the Guion Miller General Index, no matter if you have that ancestral line "back to the (proverbial) boat"! Lawyers and/or their representatives were literally going door to door, saying that these Indians didn't have many records and signing up everyone "for a slight fee". If you are lucky, one of your (100% non-Indian) ancestors may have filed, believing that they could collect part of the fund as the lawyers were leading them to believe.


The  NAIL  website will have a clickable option of "Search" and the option "Nail Standard Search"

Below is a reproduction of the next page that will be displayed in your browser.  Directions are listed in red.

NAIL Search Page

1.  Click on the box marked "Only Descriptions Linked to Digital Copies"

2. In the box "Enter Keywords", type in "Guion Miller Roll"

3. Click on the "Submit Search" button at the top.

This will bring up a page that looks the same EXCEPT it will say "Total Hits Retrieved: 1"

Click on "Display Results" (next to the "Submit Search" button.)

On the next page, click on "Display all hits"

On the next page click on "Links to digital copies".

The next page will show the index to "Surname beginning with <letter>". Click on the first letter of the family's name that you are seeking.

Once you have located the index page with the surname you are searching for,  it will look like the image below:


The applications numbers are on the left of the applicants name.  The state they lived in at the time of their application is to the right of their name.  You will also see handwritten names on many of the pages (see area inside red box in above image.) These are individuals whose names and application numbers were added after the index had been typed. Be sure to check those names as well.

If you find the name of a family member listed on this index you will want to compare the applicant's information to your own family. You can do this by sending for a copy of their application. The actual applications are contained on 348 rolls of microfilm, available from several repositories and printed copies are available from several sources, but we have found that The Indian Territory Genealogical and Historical Society, c/o John Vaughn Library NSU, Tahlequah OK  74464 gives the quickest service and at a MUCH more reasonable price than most of the other sources. Send the full name of the applicant, the Guion Miller APPLICATION number (not the "applicant's number" which is shown in Blankenship's "Cherokee Roots" books) and $9.00 with your request. Please include a large stamped, self-addressed envelope.




J. G. Chasteen 1999
No reproduction of any kind, by any media, allowed except by written permission of author.