Native American Wills & Probate Records, 1911-1921
Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Includes 76 Never-Before-Published Wills
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Unlike the probate material found in Mr. Bowen’s related series, Indian Wills, 1911–1921, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the wills in this book had not previously been microfilmed by the National Archives. Rather, they continued to be housed in manuscript form until Mr. Bowen arranged for them to be photographed in anticipation of this transcription. Like the seven volumes of Indian Wills, 1911–1921, the contents of this book, an earlier version of which was published by Mountain Press, are based on wills filed in the wake of Congressional statutes.
In accordance with federal statutes enacted in 1910 and 1913, the Law and, subsequently, the Probate Divisions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs were responsible for determining the heirs of deceased Indian trust allottees. In addition to the wills transcribed for the aforementioned Indian Wills series, Native Americans submitted 2,568 pages of wills and probate records to the Bureau of Indian Affairs that have been housed in eight manuscript volumes at the National Archives. Like those wills, this cache of records—which includes 76 wills not found in the older Mountain Press edition—span the period 1911 to 1921 and, with a few exceptions, pertain to Indian families from numerous tribes living in the Plains and several western states.
As a rule, these documents identify the names of the testator, residence, heirs, a description of any real estate transferred in the will, names of executors and witnesses, and other particulars commonly found in probate records. Among the many tribes represented in this volume, the Cheyenne & Arapaho, Sac & Fox, and Crow proliferate.
In all, genealogists will discover references to several thousand individuals in these pages, every one of whom is referenced in the complete name index.
356 pages, paper