Genealogy: Getting Started

By Margaret McWilliams

Genealogists will tell you to start with yourself and work back.
A pedigree chart is good to help chart that. (It can be found in most
beginning genealogy books in your library.) This is very important to
prove Choctaw bloodline and it has a lot of good information for genealogist.

To prove Choctaw bloodline, you have to prove that you have a
direct ancestor on the rolls, which is a good reason it is important to
work from yourself to these ancestors.

Application to the Dawes Commission were made between the late
1890’s and March 1906 (I may be a little off on the latter date).
The Index to the Final Rolls would be the first place to look.
It would help if you knew your ancestors’ siblings or parents or where
they lived, for there could be other people with the same name on the
roll… The Index gives the roll number, gender, degree of blood and
census card number.

The census card groups the people together who are living
together, most generally families. However, I have several family
members who raised by people that weren’t related to them and they were
were listed with those people. The census card also list parents (if
known) and the year, county and roll number of tribal enrollment. (Be
aware that the Choctaw Nation territory had different counties than there
are now.)

Some people have application packets, especially if there were
some questions, for example my great-grandfather was listed twice under
the last name his father went under and the name he usually used. There
are transcripts of when they interviewed him and other people. These are
listed under census card numbers.

I live in Oklahoma City and I can go to Oklahoma Historical
Buildings and go to their Archives and they have xeroxed copies of the
Index and microfilmed copies of the census cards and application packets.
The microfilm were from the National Archives and Records
Administrations. The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Library also has a copy
of the Index to the Final Rolls. The BIA in Muskogee, I think, could get
copies of the census cards.

There are genealogy societies who have come out with books that
could help. (I would have to look to see what books the Oklahoma
Historical Society has.)

The Oklahoma Historical Building Archives has a lot of records of
the Choctaw Nation on microfilm. There are also earlier censuses. The
Western Archives at Oklahoma University also has a lot records, I hear.

Two Notes:
1) I don’t know what people can do if they don’t live in Oklahoma.
Most counties in Oklahoma have a genealogy society and I have a list
somewhere but I think they can be found on OKGenWeb — — and maybe someone
can help them.

2) In the Bishinik (the tribal newspapers) there are always letters from
people who want information on the second page.