TULSA, Okla. (AP) — When about 5.2 million people identified themselves as having American Indian or Alaskan Native ancestry on 2010 U.S. Census forms, some found the tally curiously low.
The apparent undercount had nothing to do with how the data was collected. In fact, millions of people across the country didn't realize they had American Indian blood, so surveys went unmarked.
To help people with Indian blood trace their roots, Utah-based genealogy website Ancestry.com has partnered with the Oklahoma Historical Society to add more than 3.2 million American Indian historical records and images to its website.
Ancestry.com contains billions of records — around 2 million records are added to the site every day — and has so far created more than 60 million family trees containing more than 6 billion profiles, the company says.
With the new trove, the website will have more than 10 million American Indian historical records, making it the largest online collection of its kind. The new records debut online Monday and the data is available at different price levels.
The website will contain records of more than 570 tribes, including those from which most Americans with Indian blood descend. Census counts, treaties, land allotments, marriage certificates and citizenship documents are all included in the new data set.
"We were able to tell a more complete story by going back further," said Lisa Arnold, senior content strategist at Ancestry.com. "This will be the most comprehensive collection of Indian records.
"People are really, vitally interested in this," she said.
The new data set of 3.2 million records contains:
— Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914.
— Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959.
— Ratified Indian Treaties and Chiefs, 1722-1869.
— Oklahoma, Indian Land Allotment Sales, 1908-1927.
— Records Related to Enrollment of Eastern Cherokee by Guion Miller, 1908-1910.
Laura Martin, deputy director of the research division at the Oklahoma Historical Society, said the collected data gives users the immediacy of having millions of American Indian records available with just a few keystrokes — a major advancement from when people had to crisscross the country seeking documents.
"I think what we are most excited about is that this is the first time that basically, these records will be contained in one particular place," Martin said.