«Genealogy Lessons »


"Kids in the Field," by Norma Howard, a Mississippi Choctaw/Chickasaw

Lesson 1: Search begins at home;

Lesson 2; Tools to use

Lesson 3: Pioneer papers

Lesson 4: Census cards

Lesson 5: Soundex System

Lesson 6: 1920 Census

Lesson 7: 1910 Census 

Lesson 8: 1900 Census

Lesson 9: Resource List 

Lesson 10: Finding allotments

Copyright © 2000, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved.


 lesson 1.  finding your ancestors

          Your search for Indian heritage begins at home 

         Those of us living in  Oklahoma are lucky when it comes to resources. It is where some of the best research holdings on indigenous Americans are kept. The Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklahoma City boasts a huge catalog, said to be the largest outside of the National Archives.

       The research resources in Tulsa are probably the second largest and the facility at the Schusterman-Benson site one of the finest.

      Good Indian research requires the same groundwork as for any genealogical search -- your own household.

      Ask your oldest living relative if he or she has any knowledge of a roll number or any family legends involving Indian traditions, foods, sports or medicine.

      Does great-grandmother have Cherokee cheek bones in those old family photographs? Although natives do come in all shapes and sizes, some characteristics are noticeable.

       Make notes of all important information that is passed on to you by elders and organize it by family with as many dates as can be filled in. More will be added as you progress.

     Go through old family Bibles that may contain important dates such as births, marriages and deaths. They are often a goldmine of information.

     Look through scrapbooks of days gone by with your elders, having them identify people and spurring their minds to recall memorable events. Notice the type of clothing, housing, animals and scenery in the pictures. They can add clues to your family's past.

     Most importantly, find out when your ancestors came to Indian Territory.

     They had to have been living in Eastern Oklahoma in 1900 and claiming native descendancy on the 1900 Federal Census of Indian Territory to be enrolled by the Dawes Commission.

      The Dawes agents stopped taking applications for newborns and minors in 1907, when Oklahoma became a state. And even though the ancestors may have met the residency qualification, many were rejected after lengthy hearings, or stricken from the rolls because of death.

       Some white people, on the other hand, were enrolled by virtue of having married an Indian. Former slaves were enrolled as "freedmen," but were given smaller portions of land than tribe member..

      If you have that knowledge and curiosity, your next step is to go to outside resources to develop further your information.



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Sept. 20, 2000

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