Guide to Native American Research

September 26th, 2016

Representing federal correspondence and documents from the early republic, the Papers of the War Department contains over 2,000 documents pertaining to federal relations with more than forty Native American tribes. Finding a specific item on the site can be difficult without knowing the full scope of the collection or how individual documents are described. To assist researchers of Native American history, we compiled a list of tribes, with all known variations of spelling, mentioned in the documents of the PWD (see below).

The below list of tribes are meant to be used as initial search terms. To achieve the best results, perform an
advanced search and browse documents for places associated with the tribe of interest during the late 18th century. To get an idea of what locations would be associated with a tribe on PWD, browse tags in the “place” field of a specific document, such as in the example below.

Speech to the Five Nations of Indians at Philadelphia,” April 17, 1792, from Timothy Pickering to the Headmen of Five Nations.

List of Native American Tribes on PWD
Each grouping includes all known variations of tribal/nation names within the collection for locating documents on each specific tribe. This list includes plural spellings only when the tribe cannot be found under the singular. Assume a plural search will be needed. Some of the below names/spellings may yield similar or same documents.

  • Five Nations
  • Mohawk
  • Oneida
  • Onondaga, Onandaga, Onondago, Onondagoes
  • Cayuga, Cayoga, Cuyahuga
  • Seneca, Senaca, Seneka, Senecas of the Glaize
  • Six Nations
  • Tuscorora, Tuscarora, Tuscarawas
  • Seven Nations, Seven Villages, Anishanabea
  • (Mississauga) Mississaga, Massasauga, Messagues, Messassagues
  • Creeks, Creek Nation
  • Iroquois
  • Piaukonohou
  • Delaware, Delaware Nation
  • Moravian
  • Lenape
  • Munsee, Munsey
  • Mohicans
  • Connoy
  • Nanticoke, Nantakokies, (Wantikokes?)
  • Mingo, Mingoes
  • Chippewa, Chippawa, Chipewa, Chipeewas
  • Potawatomi, Potawatami, Pattawatamie, Poutawatomie, Putawatomie, Pottawatamies, Pouttawatamies, Potowatomies, Potawatomies, Potawatimes, Potawanamees, Pattawatamies
  • Sioux
  • Catawba
  • Muscogee, Muskogee
  • Natchez (search within persons/groups)
  • Chickamauga, Chiccamaga
  • Chickasaw, Chicasaw
  • Cherokee
  • Miami, Miamies
  • Choctaw, Chocktaw
  • Weas, Weeas, Oiatanon, Ouiatenon
  • Kaskaskia
  • Peoria, Peorians
  • Cahokia
  • Kickapoo, Kikapoo
  • Eel River
  • Piankashaw, Piankishaw, Piankeshaw
  • Musquitoes
  • Wyandot, Huron
  • Ojibwa
  • Weachtenos
  • Ottawa
  • Shawnee, Shawanese, Shawanesse, Shawnese, Shawanee, Shawanoe, Shawenesse, Chanuanan, Chaouanon, Chanianons
  • Sauk, Sacs


If you have found any tribes or variation in spelling not mentioned here, please send us an email:

Community Transcription – Sixty-Four Months

September 6th, 2016

August marked the sixty-fourth month since we opened the War Department archives to community transcription. We continue to receive regular requests for transcriber accounts. Here is a snapshot of transcription activity for the month:

Nineteen new transcribers signed up last month, and as of August 31, the total number of transcribers was 2,684. These new transcribers come from a variety of backgrounds and included genealogists, retired librarians, and university students and professors.

The individuals who signed up to transcribe in August mentioned an interest in people and topics such as Richard Howell, George Washington, Marquis de Lafayette, William Campbell, and Shays’ Rebellion.

Transcribed documents include documents regarding provisions and supplies; discussion of condition of military stores in Rhode Island; coffee, sugar, and planting a garden; and Knox soliciting Lincoln’s opinion regarding his militia plan.

Our community of transcribers have added 189 transcribed pages to War Department documents, with the total number of saves being 18,928. Overall, we have had 530,501 page views.

For the month of September, we are encouraging our volunteers to transcribe documents relating to autumn and the change of weather more generally. The following documents mention this theme and are in need of transcription: clothing contracts in preparation for autumn, Indian attacks and expressions of support for Hodgdon, Captain Calendar Irvine’s request for vests for troops, weather conditions and river transportation, and the favorability of cool weather for escaping fever.

Interested in contributing to the project? Individuals can register for a transcription account and become a transcription associate.