National Archives hosts Native American seminar

By Curt Yeomans


Anyone who who has Native American ancestors, including members of tribes such as the Cherokee, Seminole, Creek or Chickasaw, will have an opportunity on Friday to learn about researching their family roots, during a free seminar hosted by the Morrow-based National Archives at Atlanta.

The seminar, which will last from 10 a.m., to noon, will be held at the National Archives facility, located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, in Morrow. It will be led by licensed genealogist Paul Graham, who worked as an intern at the National Archives at Atlanta this past spring, said National Archives Public Programs Specialist Mary Evelyn Tomlin.

"Native American research can be kind of overwhelming, because there is so much information out there, and it's hard to know where to look first," Tomlin said.

Thirty-five people have already signed up for the seminar, but there is no limit to how many people can sign up for the event. "We can take as many as we get," Tomlin said. "We'll also take walk-ups."

During the seminar, Tomlin said, Graham will go over how people can begin researching their Native American ancestry, including which documents to look at first. Tomlin said the National Archives will also provide handouts to help people going forward after the seminar, and Graham will field general questions about Native American research.

Tomlin said the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) system has a large amount of documents on Native Americans at its Fort Worth, Texas facility, which handles all documents from Oklahoma. In the mid-19th Century, many Native American tribes were relocated from their ancestral homes, to reservations in Oklahoma, which was a U.S. territory at the time.

The National Archives at Atlanta has access to those records, though, because they have been scanned into a digital network that ties all NARA locations together, Tomlin said. She added that the archives facility in Morrow also has microfilm copies of the records that are available to patrons.

"After the event, if people want to go into our research rooms and look up information, we will have people available to assist them, and Paul will be available for a little bit, as well, to help people," Tomlin said.

For more information, call the National Archives at Atlanta at (770) 968-2100.