Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Looking for info on my great grandfather from Crockett Texas

Regina Lewis Regina Lewis

posted on May 11, 2011

I’m trying to find information on my great grandfather JAMES LEWIS…he died In Crockett texas in the early 1960’s, his wife’s name was Maggie Lewis. His son (my grandfather) was named Tom Lewis, who served in wwII, served in North Africa, and the Korean war. I have been trying to search death records and have come up against a wall. I feel like a huge piece of my family history is missing…so if you have any info I would be very appreciative!


suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 12, 2011

james lewis d. houston, TX m. maggie ?
Tom Lewis.

is this him?
Birth: Apr. 16, 1867
Death: Jul. 11, 1962

Evergreen Memorial Park
Houston County
Texas, USA

we look at the county level for records.
since this is a common name, it helps to know more details such as spouse, children, location, dates.

you would find the record of his death at the county level, for instance. you might want to get a copy of his obituary. see your local public library for the interlibrary loan program to access the obituary.

maggie might be margaret.
county website.

maybe this is your family?
Name: Maggie Lewis
Home in 1930: Crockett, Houston, Texas
View Map
Age: 53
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1877
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Spouse’s Name: Jim Lewis
Race: Black


Military Service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents’ birthplace:

View image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Jim Lewis 53
Maggie Lewis 53
Espinoba Lewis 22
Wynona Lewis 16
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Crockett, Houston, Texas; Roll: 2358; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 3; Image: 715.0.

tom is also usually a nickname. so, with nicknames, you have to search for the nickname and more formal version, like thomas.

they were married about 1907.

Name: Jim Lewis
Home in 1920: Crockett, Houston, Texas
Age: 50
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1870
Birthplace: Texas
Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name: Mag Lewis
Father’s Birth Place: United States
[United States of America]
Mother’s Birth Place: United States
[United States of America]
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mulatto
Sex: Male
Home owned: Own
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Jim Lewis 50
Mag Lewis
Espnolia Lewis 12
Tom Lewis 11
Wynonie Lewis 6
Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Crockett, Houston, Texas; Roll: T625_1819; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 171; Image: 745.

tom was b. TX, parents b. TX. maggie was b. TX, parents b. GA.

i can’t tell you any more because i don’t know if they always lived in houston county or not. and i don’t know the maiden name of maggie. but the death certificates should tell you more.

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 for a birth certificate, and they were born before 1929, they might have sumitted 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. the census records up to 1930 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed. the 1940 census will be public information in 2012.

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.

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 the name is common, you may find too many possible records.

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

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

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 22
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 23
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

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

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.

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

Regina Lewis Regina Lewis

posted on May 12, 2011

Omg. I called my dad and as I read off the information that you had found, he got extremley emotional and told me that all of that information was correct….he was totally blown away. Thank you so much for your help and the resources that you have provided! What would be the next setp for me though?

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 12, 2011

you need to collect documents.
you haven’t said what your goal is. if you are looking for tribal enrollment, you will have to have documents to show that you are directly related to an original enrollee.
there are several tribes in texas. the dawes roll contains the names of applicants to the five major tribes in oklahoma. there are 63 tribes in oklahoma. since your family likely lived in texas, see the texas tribe links in my earlier post.

your original inquiry related to the death certificates of this family. this is a common surname, so you need more specifics, such as dates and locations. this is where family knowledge can help. contact the county where they passed away for the death certificate. they may want an approximation of date of death. you can get the obituary through your local public library/interlibrary loan program. findagrave is an online website with listings for many people. you can get a cemetery record.

with these documents, you might be able to find marriage records, birth records. census records can help, as they show where the family lived.

if you get stuck on anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937, you can get a copy of their social security application.

i start collecting documentation with the children because childrens’ documents point to the parent.