Proof of Ancestry

As a sovereign nation, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe determines its citizenship based on direct lineal descent from a historical Pamunkey Indian as identified on two possible lists. Direct lineal descent is the relationship between an individual and their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents and so on. No other relative, especially by marriage, is considered a direct lineal descent relationship. Likewise, the Tribe will not consider reservation residency or social contact with known Pamunkey Indians as evidence of direct lineal descent.

The primary option for an applicant is to provide documented ancestry via birth certificates to a historical list of Pamunkey Indians dating to the early 1900’s (List 1) and also provide documentation of social contact with Pamunkey tribal citizens. Chief and Council will review and make a decision. If an applicant cannot prove ancestry to List 1, they can provide genealogical evidence of ancestry to an earlier list of Historical Members of the Historical Pamunkey Indian Tribe dating to the late 1700’s and early 1800’s (List 2). Such evidence must be provided directly to the Tribe by a qualified genealogist approved by Chief and Council. The Tribe’s genealogist will then review the evidence and make a recommendation to Chief and Council for a decision. If an applicant can show financial need and can provide sufficient evidence that they may descend from a Pamunkey Indian on List 2, Chief and Council will provide a one-time financial grant of up to $2,500 (subject to available funds), to assist the applicant in retaining a professional genealogist acceptable to Chief and Council.

Ancestry Assistance

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe does not provide ancestry research assistance.  We do not provide telephone or e-mail contact information for individual citizenship inquiries simply because we don’t have the paid staff to manage the task.  Do not call the Pamunkey Indian Museum with such inquiries because the staff members have been instructed to ignore such inquiries.  Please reach out to family members if you have questions regarding ancestry. The Tribe reserves the right to choose whether or not to respond to citizenship inquiries it does receive.  Unsolicited documents will not be returned.  Unsolicited monies will not be returned and will be donated to the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center.

Social Contact

Pamunkey Indians consider our tribe to consist of individuals who have a common Pamunkey ancestry AND social contact with current Pamunkey Tribal citizens.

The applicant must provide a written statement describing personal history of social contact with Pamunkey Indian Tribal citizens (visits, telephone, mail, e-mail, social media, etc.).  Provide as much detail as possible.  If applicant is a minor, provide the Pamunkey parent’s social contact information and as much information for the minor child as possible.  If there has not been social contact, provide an explanation for the reason.


Send a letter stating your request and a self-addressed stamped envelope (at least 4-1/8” x 9-1/2”) to:

Pamunkey Tribal Enrollment Office

1054 Pocahontas Trail

King William, VA 23086

OR Email your request to

  • Do not send the application fee with your request for an application.  These monies will be considered unsolicited and will therefore be donated to the Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center. 


All applications and supporting documentation must be MAILED to:

Pamunkey Tribal Enrollment Office

1054 Pocahontas Trail

King William, VA 23086

  • A separate application, separate documentation, and separate application fee must be submitted for EACH individual without exception.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted or returned.
  • Application fees will not be returned whether the application is accepted or denied.


There may be individuals who possess now-outdated membership cards given by former tribal chiefs.  Such cards are considered obsolete and do not denote tribal membership because they were given without any enrollment documentation and the tribal government never knew who received such cards or when.  The tribe reached out to known members and those members who submitted requested documentation and were approved for membership should now have new cards that include issue/expiration dates and an enrollment number.  If you did not receive one, it is likely that you are not on our roll or we did not have a good address.



The individual known and/or self-proclaimed as Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bigbay (or other variations of this name) and also known as William McRae, is not associated in any manner with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe nor the Pamunkey Tribal Government, despite statements made by this individual and/or others, either spoken or written, to include the Facebook identity, “Pamunkey Nation” and the Internet domains “”, “”, “”, “”, “” and “”.  This individual’s use of images and other copyrighted material associated with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe/Nation is not approved by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.  The Pamunkey Tribe also does not recognize as members other persons who claim association with this individual.  The public is encouraged to research this individual’s history on the Internet to learn more.