Where to Search for your Ancestors in Alabama and their Origins

Jeannette Holland Austin
4 min readAug 16
The descriptive map of Indian Towns by Amos J. Wright, Jr.

You can pick up any old Indian Map for Alabama and find that various Indian tribes heavily occupied the region.

The Coosa, Coushatta, or Koasata Indians inhabited most of the Coosa River valley from the Georgia state line down to Selma, Alabama. During the late 18th century, remnants of the Coushatta Indians settled near Livingston, Texas, on the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation. The Maubilian or Mobile tribes in Selma were scattered south and west throughout the lowlands of Alabama.

They traded widely in the southeast and developed a Maubilian Trade Language, eventually merging with the Choctaw Nation. The Creeks began leaving Georgia in about 1818, starting their trek westward into Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. In Alabama, the Creeks settled primarily in a large area bordered on the north by the southern Appalachian Mountains, on the west by the Cahaba and Alabama Rivers, on the south by the Florida border, and the East by the Georgia border. What is now Clay and Randolph counties were once the center of a Creek Confederacy. The Seminole were formed partly by rebel elements of the Creek tribe and had part of their history in Alabama. In some treaties with the United States, the Seminole were included with the Creek Confederacy, at least up until the beginning of the Removal to the West. After the Revolutionary War, when Loyalists were declared traitors, renegade Creeks combined with other Indians from Alabama and Georgia to remove to Florida.

These Creeks intermarried with runaway slaves and thus gave rise to the Seminole tribe. However, the Chickasaws inhabited territory in northwest Alabama, mostly in northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee. The Cherokees occupied western Carolina, Tennessee, and north Georgia. There are three bands of Cherokees in Alabama officially recognized by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, viz: the Echota Cherokee Tribe headquartered in Sylacauga; The Cherokees of Northeast Alabama headquartered in Higdon, Alabama; and the Cherokees of Southeast Alabama headquartered in Dothan.

So, how hard is it to track your Alabama ancestors? The one thing to remember is that after the Creek Indians left Georgia in 1818, settlers along Georgia border towns crossed into Alabama and later into Mississippi.

Jeannette Holland Austin

Author of 100+ genealogy books. Owner of 8 genealogy websites available by subscription. https://georgiapioneers.com/subscribe/subscribe.html