publishes “Cherokee-White Intermarriages: Citizenship by Intermarriage in the Cherokee-Nation”

The following announcement was written by

Under the provision of the Curtis Act (1898), the Department of the Interior, Commissioner of Five Civilized Tribes, recognized “citizenship by intermarriage” in the Cherokee Nation. To qualify, an applicant had to sufficiently prove that he or she was married in accordance with Cherokee law, and who at the time of the marriage was a recognized citizen by blood of the Cherokee Nation.

Despite being labeled “marriages,” these records do not always give an exact marriage date or even the maiden name of the bride. Sometimes two wedding dates for the same couple are found in an application. This implies that the couple had married before their arrival and needed an official record of their union in the Cherokee Nation.

Applicants were required to testify about their marital history. The Commissioner asked the applicant about any previous spouses, whether an earlier marriage ended in death or separation, and the Cherokee Nation citizenship status of any previous spouse. Friends and relatives were often called to testify to substantiate the applicant’s claims.

The type of data found in applications varies greatly. Actual birth dates are rarely given, but ages were always recorded. Applicants were required to state their address, marital status, whether he or she was a citizen by blood or intermarriage, the spouse’s citizenship status, and the names of others included in the application for enrollment. In most cases, only children under the age of twenty-one needed to be named. Otherwise, adult children had to file their own papers for membership status. Other inquiries might be tailored to the case. In these instances, the Commissioner might ask for the names of the applicant’s parents or in-laws.

Available as Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914, National Archives micropublication M1301, rolls 305, 306 and 307, this genealogical data was abstracted as an eleven- part series in American Genealogy Magazine, Volumes 10, No. 1 thru Vol. 13, No. 3. It is now freely available as scanned images in a PDF viewer, as found at

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