Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

James Family of LeFlore County, Oklahoma

Richard Blanton Richard Blanton

posted on June 20, 2012

We are researching the descendants of Davis James and Mary (McKinney) James of the LeFlore County area. He was a member of the Choctaw Lighthorse.


suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 21, 2012

1. DAVIS3 JAMES (DAVIS2, UNKNOWN1) was born 1860 in Wallsburg, Skullyville County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, and died 08 Sep 1889 in Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. He married MARY JANE MCKINNEY 29 Dec 1881 in Green Hill Church near Hackett City, Choctaw Mation, Indian Territory, daughter of JAMES
MCKINNEY and ELIZABETH LEWIS. She was born 01 Dec 1860 in New Hope Female College, Skullyville County, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, and died 11 Feb.
Children of DAVIS JAMES and MARY MCKINNEY are:
i. ETTA M.4 JAMES, b. Sep 1882, Shady Grove, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; m. (1) A WILLARD; m. (2) ARTHUR G. DOSHIER, 09 Nov 1902, Indiana Territory; b. 13 Oct 1880, Arkansas; d. 26 Aug 1958.
2. ii. WALTON D. JAMES, b. 24 Feb 1885, Shady Grove, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; d. 1921.
3. iii. DENNIS JAMES, b. 20 Jan 1888, Shady Grove, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; d. 03 Sep 1926, LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
4. iv. DAVIS JAMES, b. 20 Jan 1888, Shady Grove, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; d. 12 Apr 1953, Poteau,
LeFlore County, Oklahoma.

i am not sure if you are trying to connect with relatives or do genealogy. we usually start with what you know, gather documents, then go backward in time. i do not know what documents you have, nor which child you descend from.

i don’t know if you are trying to gather more documents.

i can see that there is at least one family tree with these people on worldconnect records.

some children are on the dawes roll, taken 1896-1906 in indian territory/oklahoma. oklahoma became a state in 1907.

Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Davis Mollie J 0 F 2757 P
Choctaw Davis Mollie J 42 F IW 2757 NR POTEAU BB
Choctaw James Davis 0 M 2757 P
Choctaw James Davis 11 M 1/2 2757 NR POTEAU BB
Choctaw James Dennis 11 M 1/2 2757 NR POTEAU BB
Choctaw James Walton D 14 M 1/2 2757 NR POTEAU BB
Choctaw James Etha M 16 F 1/2 2757 NR POTEAU BB
Choctaw McKinney Elizabeth 0 F 2757 P
Choctaw McKinney James 0 M 2757 P
bb=by blood
iw=intermarried white, a general nontribal description.

i don’t know if these people are related:
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Beard Walter 0 M 2295 P
Choctaw Beard Eric C 10 M 1/4 2295 6638 POTEAU BB
Choctaw Beard Sillen 44 F 1/2 2295 6637 POTEAU BB
Choctaw James Davis 0 M 2295 P
Choctaw Tamaleluma 0 F 2295 P

your post doesn’t say when mary jane mckinney james passed away. you might look for her obituary, death certificate at the state historical society, state archives or state vital records.

although i do not see any cemetery for mary jane james or davis james in oklahoma, you might check at maybe you know where they were buried. since you might know where they passed away, you could check with local cemetery for records.

if they were born on indian territory, you could look at the native census records, native databases and rolls.
see the left menu for that.

genealogists use names, dates, locations, children and spouses to match records. if you have a common surname, you need to give more information rather than less. if you post about women, it is helpful to include the maiden name and the married name and designate which one is the maiden name.

start with what you know, gather documentation, then you can go backward in time. so get your birth certificate, your parents’ birth certificates and marriage license and then you can start on your grandparents. if someone passed away after 1/1/1937, they probably have a social security application on file. if you ask a government agency for a birth certificate, and they were born before 1929, they might have submitted a delayed birth certificate. death certificates, cemetery information and obituaries are helpful. you can usually get a copy of an obituary, newspaper mentions such as birth of a child or marriage, through the interlibrary loan program – see your local public library for this. i usually start with the death and work toward the person’s birth. military records and pension records can be helpful. census records can tell you where they were at particular times, names of family members. the census records up to 1930 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed. the 1940 census will be public information in 2012.

obituaries through the oklahoma choctaw tribe is through the history link for the tribe:

social security application for a deceased person:
form SS-5.

your public library probably has a subscription to heritage quest and is another useful database for native records and military records, but they are a subscription. however, many times their month’s subscription price is less than the price of a dawes packet, however check with accessgenealogy’s database to see if your relative’s dawes packet is exists or is available at fold3.
partial names are allowed.

bear in mind that many records are not online. always collect documents, as just the reference to a relative in an index informs you that a document is available.

death records:
death certificate: state vital records or if very old, state archives. ask for the person’s name at the time of death. you can look at death indices, such as the social security death index 1964-present for a date of death on or
obituary: see your local public library, interlibrary loan program. ask for the person’s name at the time of death. approximate date of death is helpful. if old, state historical society or state archives might have historical newspapers.
cemetery record: try or ask for the person’s name at the time of death. if you find a relative, you can click on the county or cemetery to see if others with the same surname are buried there.

marriage records:
state vital records office, county clerk or if old, state archives or state historical society.

birth records:
state vital records office, or if old, state archives or state historical society. if the birth was before 1940, ask for a birth certificate or a delayed birth certificate. many people had to get delayed birth certificates when social security came into effect because they had to show proof of age. this will be under the name used at the time of birth.

census records:
you will want to search for census records 1940 on down to the birth of your relative. the federal census was taken every 10 years, however the 1890 census was largely destroyed by fire. there are also some state census records and native census records and native rolls. and heritage quest are two databases that include many census records. many native census records kept by NARA ( are transcribed at accessgenealogy.

first of all, heritage and tribal enrollment are two different things. many times natives didn’t apply for enrollment because 1) they didn’t qualify, 2) they were philosophically opposed to enrollment, 3) they didn’t have documentation, or 4) they were mississippi choctaw and their ancestor had accepted land or benefits in lieu of tribal enrollment.

the dawes roll was taken 1896-1906, so you should trace your ancestors down to that time period. mostly, they had to be living in oklahoma by that time and agree to live there permanently.

history of the dawes roll
wikipedia entries are sometimes opinionated; entered by volunteers.

helpful information about tribal enrollment

2 ways to search:
this will let you enter partial names to get card#. click on the card# in the card column and you can see other names in that family.
other resources on the left and at the bottom of this webpage. native census records and databases are especially useful.
this will give you card# (family group) and enrollment #. they have some native marriage records too. other oklahoma records listed at left.
if your relative was enrolled by court action, their name might not be on this list.
if the name is common, you may find too many possible records.
you can order the dawes packet from the oklahoma historical society website.

if you find a relative listed on the dawes roll, fold3 may have filmed the record and could be available online.
other resources are NARA

the five civilized tribes book put out by the department of the interior has testimony.
and you can read it online

and these are the microfilms at fort worth TX archives.

there may be additional records about your relative:
contact NARA for these and other records listed on this webpage.

75.23.1 Records of the Dawes Commission
75.23.2 Records of the U.S. Indian Inspector for Indian Territory
75.23.3 General records of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes
(Record Group 75)
oklahoma newspaper and archives search. some of these resources may be available through interlibrary loan/public library.

the tribe has an excellent information to help you. it is found under genealogy advocacy.
some obituaries:

NARA federal records repository. the fort worth, TX office has archives for oklahoma and texas tribes. atlanta/morrow office has archives for the southwest tribes. many offices have microfilmed records for several tribes. note that this web address has changed recently from

freedmen info:
You can ONLY apply for Choctaw Nation Membership, AFTER you have obtained a CDIB card proving your Choctaw Blood lineage to a direct ancestor who actually enrolled, BY BLOOD. Freedmen DID NOT enroll By Blood. When US Congress closed the Final Dawes Commission Rolls, there were no provisions granting Freedmen any benefits after the Dawes Commission closed. The tribe Constitution states BY BLOOD. however, the documents (application, census card and testimony) may help you find out more about your heritage.

about blood quantum laws:
calculations about blood quantum:

mississippi choctaw and choctaw tribe explained here:

jena choctaw tribe in louisiana:

MOWA tribe
MOWA Band Of Choctaws Wilford Taylor 1080 Red Fox Road Mount Vernon, AL 36560 (251) 829-5500. E-Mail:

other choctaw tribes:

chickasaw historical society
Historic Preservation and Repatriation Office
Phone: (580) 272-5325
Fax: (580) 272-5327
2020 E. Arlington, Suite 4, Ada, OK 74820
send mail to: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821

chickasaw tribe
Chickasaw Nation Headquarters
520 East Arlington, Ada, OK 74820
Phone (580) 436-2603
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821

chickasaw genealogy archive center Tribal Library
Phone: (580) 310-6477
Fax: (580) 559-0773
1003 Chamber Loop, Ada, OK 74820
send mail to: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821
oklahoma historical society
marriage records

other historical societies:
some oklahoma genealogical societies:

texas tribes

oklahoma tribes:

some links for the choctaw.
i looked at the land records and those need a lot of work. i have no information about whether or when they will improve some of these categories.

types of records available for native americans:
pages 366-369 in particular although the entire native american chapter is helpful.
The Genealogist’s Companion and Sourcebook:
Guide to the Resources You Need for Unpuzzling Your Past
Emily Anne Croom
you can ask for these particular pages from your local public library. if they don’t have the book, you can get the pages through the interlibrary loan program.
native american records are discussed in pages 352-386.

Tracing ancestors among the Five Civilized Tribes: Southeastern Indians …
By Rachal Mills Lennon
this book could be accessed through the interlibary loan program also.

always find the state archives. some records are online, some records are not. but many times you can find a record not found in other places. you want to see also about newspaper mentions for obituaries, births, marriages in particular.

check courts for probate, civil and criminal cases, marriage records.

if your ancestors lived on a reservation, they might not appear on a federal census because they were not taxed.
1860 census, indian territory.

this book is a good read about the dawes roll and how they implemented it.
The Dawes Commission and the allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914
By Kent Carter
and you can read this book online. your relatives’ testimony might be in the book.
see the menu at left. you can download it.

you should look at the enrollment application, census card and testimony. this post will tell you how to do that. these documents will tell you more about your heritage, but it won’t help you if your goal is to be enrolled in the choctaw tribe of oklahoma. some people were classed as mississippi choctaw if the family had a native heritage but didn’t qualify for enrollment in the tribe.

there are 63 tribes in oklahoma but only the five major tribes are on the dawes roll. look at your family’s location around 1900-1930 time period (census will help you there) and see if there was a tribe located nearby. it is possible that your relatives were affiliated with another tribe.

if they were mississippi choctaw, there is probably a land grant in MS/AL to a head of household called choctaw scrip land. this was given in lieu of tribal enrollment 1830-1880 time period. has a database of the MS and AL choctaw scrip land records, called mississippi or alabama land records. there are other land records in those databases too,, so you have to look at the authority/source cited. NARA has those land record packages.

the mississippi choctaw was not removed from oklahoma. but they were largely rejected for tribal enrollment.

this website might help you in your search. some people are trying to transcribe applications.
i do not know what they are trying to transcribe, but this is the volunteer page

and this might be of interest to you:
Rights of Mississippi Choctaws in the Choctaw Nation
Index to the Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory
the dawes roll is composed of applications to the five major tribes in oklahoma.

good advice about native research:

if your relatives came from a different geographic location or belonged to a different tribe, try searching google for the state and tribes. you might find a contact for a state-recognized tribe or a federal recognized tribe.

this page can help you set up a targeted google search.

penny postcards. this is a website that features pictures that were on postcards. click on the state to see the postcards that they have.
if you have a penny postcard, you can click on submissions to add your penny postcard to the collection.

these searches will combine several possible search terms and give you the best matches.

i have collected many resources over the years. if you want to write to me, and request the choctaw resource list, i will be glad to send it to you.

i am just a volunteer that wants to empower people to learn how to do genealogy.

suzanne hamlet shatto

Richard Blanton Richard Blanton

posted on June 21, 2012

Thank you for your swift response. Much of what you mention above we already got a hold of. I need to reread closely your advice and see if there are sources we over looked.

Most deaths before 1980 don’t show up in the Social Security Death Index. I fear Mary Jane passed in early 1900s and was buried in an unmarked grave. Without a day or month, locating Davis James’ info has proven difficult.

We got the Indian census cards which have really helpful. We are beginning to think the only sources left is finding James family descendants that have info passed down within the family.

There is another Davis James buried in the Choctaw Cemetery in Skullyville that died in 1850s . . . we suspect him as a grandfather or some relation but we can’t prove it.

I’m going to review you recommendations closely to make sure we have’t missed something. Please, if you come across anything additional please keep me in mind

Thanks, Rich Blanton
101 Royal Drive, Apt. 501
Madison AL 35758

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 21, 2012

i think the oklahoma historical society has some old photos of the choctaw lighthorse.

anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 has a social security application and they had to submit a birth record to show proof of age. often this was a delayed birth certificate. so you have to ask for both from vital records.

also check the state archives for old vital records.

historical newspapers are available from that period. see your local public library/interlibrary loan program. state historical societies and state archives may have some newspapers too. this might give an obituary or other events in your family’s life.

i saw that davis james cemetery record also. it probably is a relative, but i don’t know whether it might be an uncle, grandfather or maybe even someone unrelated to your family.


Richard Blanton Richard Blanton

posted on June 22, 2012

I’ll have to pursue the Social Security angle. Hadn’t thought of that. I’ve been to the OHS but they indicated their photos are not index down to that level where it mentions names in most. They just sent me some info on H. Grady James, O.E. James’ brother and not much else.

Everytime I try contacting the Oklahoma State archives I keep getting routed to the OHS.

Richard Blanton Richard Blanton

posted on June 22, 2012

I have an account (tree name is Blanton Family Tree; email is I’ve been on HeritageQuest via the Huntsville library and I also have a Fold3 Account. I’ve gotten federal & census records, WWI Draft Registration, most marriages, etc. I haven’t been “boots-on-the-ground” yet but I’m been tossing it around. We figured we are sorta to the point where there is info will will only get from someone related to the Marshalls in Wagoner County. Just haven’t found them yet.