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Census Records: Indian Census

Federal, state, and other census records

About the Indian Census Rolls

The entire population of Minnesota was enumerated by the US and Minnesota Territorial/State Census, but in 1885 the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) also started taking a separate Indian Census. BIA agents were supposed to record all Indian reservation residents each year, but some tribes were exempted from this law and some agents did not create records annually. This separate Indian Census continued until 1940.  

In addition, there were a number of other censuses, annuity, and other lists of American Indians living in Minnesota that were created over time.   

Accessing Indian Census Records

In general, the U.S. Indian Census Rolls can be searched through Fold 3 or Ancestry.com. (Access to these databases requires a subscription, but visitors to the MNHS Library can use our subscription for free.) They are also available for browsing/viewing online for free through the Internet Archive.

Ojibwe family in front of log home, approx. 1915

  • For more information on records specific to Dakota people, see the Census & Lists page of our Dakota Family History Research Guide 
     
  • For more information on records specific to Ojibwe people, see Census & Lists page of our Ojibwe Family History Research Guide
     
  • For more information on records specific to Metis people, see the Census section of Getting Started in our Metis Family History Research Guide

Indian Census Links

Gale Family Library • Minnesota Historical Society • 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3300
Currently open by appointment only.