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Researching Dakota Family History

Getting Started

  • Start with a basic family history guide and a basic ancestor chart or family group sheet.
  • Do not focus just on Indian records; use everything available from the time period.
  • Be prepared for more variance in names and spellings than with any other group.
  • Fur trade records could be helpful. Many are listed under Manuscript Collections.
  • Use military records since Indians served in the military in many different wars.
  • For members of tribes that are not federally-recognized, try the non-Indian census. The people may be listed, but a tribal affiliation will not be included.

* Try these items first!
Resources highlighted with an asterisk '*' are the most likely to be helpful to most people.


Based on Carolyn R. Anderson's 1994 "Sources for Researching Dakota Family History at the Minnesota Historical Society." MHS staff sincerely thank Dr. Anderson for allowing use of her compilation as a framework for this online resource.