Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Gibson/Hawkins Choctaws?

Carole Shanahan Carole Shanahan

posted on August 4, 2012 and updated on August 4, 2012

My great grandmother’s name was Sarah Gibson. Her father was born in Kentucky or Tennessee, and his name was Hawkins Gibson. I find the two names intertwined a lot, even in the Choctaw Obits. Her mother’s name was Salley. I have Native American DNA. Would love to find the tribe or tribes i come from. Hawkins Gibson was born about 1806. Any advice or information would be appreciated.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on August 4, 2012

hawkins gibson b.~1806 unknown location m. sally/salley unknown
sarah gibson b. unknown year unknown location married unknown spouse.
no children for sarah in your post.

this is a common name. you don’t say which obituaries were useful nor give any other indication of documents for any of these people.

this might be the family:

1850 United States Federal Census about Hawkins M Gibson
Name: Hawkins M Gibson
Age: 43
Birth Year: abt 1807
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1850: Lindsey, Benton, Missouri
Gender: Male
Family Number: 636
Household Members:
Name Age
Hawkins M Gibson 43
Sally B Gibson 42
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Lindsey, Benton, Missouri; Roll: M432_392; Page: 316B; Image: 177.

Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 about Hawkins Gibson
Name: Hawkins Gibson
Marriage Date: 27 Nov 1828
Marriage Location: Chariton, Missouri
Marriage County: Chariton
Spouse Name: Sally Bradly
Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.

this marriage date is before the trail of tears occurred in the late 1830’s.;

before 1850, only the name of the head of household was in the census.

Source Citation: Year: 1840; Census Place: Lindsey, Benton, Missouri; Roll: 220; Page: 45; Image: 96; Family History Library Film: 0014855.

Source Citation: 1830 US Census; Census Place: Howard, Missouri; Page: 157; NARA Series: M19; Roll Number: 73; Family History Film: 0014854.
it says that there is one female under five and one female under 10 and a slave in this family, besides parents.

suddenly there are children. you will have to try to figure out where the children were in 1850.

1860 United States Federal Census about Hawkins W Gibson
Name: Hawkins W Gibson
Age in 1860: 54
Birth Year: abt 1806
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1860: Township 42 Range 23, Benton, Missouri
Gender: Male
Post Office: Warsaw
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Hawkins W Gibson 54
Salley Gibson 52
Patience Gibson 24
James H Gibson 17
Mary Gibson 15
Sarah Gibson 13
Zerelda Gibson 11
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Township 42 Range 23, Benton, Missouri; Roll: M653_607; Page: 320; Image: 324; Family History Library Film: 803607.

you will have to figure out if this is your family.

1870 United States Federal Census about Hawkin Gibson
Name: Hawkin Gibson
Age in 1870: 62
Birth Year: abt 1808
Birthplace: Kentucky
Home in 1870: Precinct 2, Dallas, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Dallas
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Hawkin Gibson 62
Sally B Gibson 61
John C Gibson 37
Sarah J M Gibson 23
Zelada R Gibson 21
James H Gibson 27
Polly Gibson 24
James W Gibson 7
Sarah E Gibson 5
Mary M Gibson 3
George E Gibson 1
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Precinct 2, Dallas, Texas; Roll: M593_1581; Page: 334B; Image: 153; Family History Library Film: 553080.

the trail of tears did not go through texas.

i don’t know what documents you have so i will give you the resources i use.

if your relatives did not apply for enrollment in a tribe, it might be difficult to identify a tribe. look for tribes near where they lived 1830-1930 or so. look for state and federally recognized tribes.

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 are other tribes in oklahoma also. here is a list:

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

Carole Shanahan Carole Shanahan

posted on August 5, 2012

Thank you, I have done a lot of Genealogy, but I don’t have anything on Sarah, except what I put up. I managed to trace both of my of the families back to 1634, but this was the male lineage, and I found a great deal of paper work. I am in the dark where Indians are concerned, but am eager to find out all I can. I’m 81 years old, may not have a lot of time.

Carole Shanahan Carole Shanahan

posted on September 29, 2012

I just glimpsed through this once more. The Hawkins Gibson family above is mine. I did not know Sarah’s mother’’s maiden name. Will check that out further.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on September 30, 2012 and updated on September 30, 2012

there is a problem with native documentation. native languages were oral traditions. many native languages only became written languages after 1850. so the tribes have no records.

the only official records are those that the war department kept 1800-1930 or so. those records are kept at NARA. there are some repositories in NARA for records – it depends on where your family lived. for instance, the south central tribal records are at fort worth, TX. the enrollment records and census records are on microfilm, and available through the family history centers at the church of latter day saints. many of those records are transcribed at the link in my first post, under native census records and native databases.

this means that you will probably be unlikely to trace back before 1800. there are a few other sources of information, such as county records, vital records, historical newspapers and journal articles/local history books.

since your family lived in missouri for some time, you should get acquainted with the missouri state archives. they have online records and records that are not yet microfilmed. that is probably where the early marriage record is located.

natives took surnames of favorite people, places and things. sometimes those surnames changed as their favorites changed. and if they were slaves, sometimes they took surnames of their master. or they may have been related to a caucasian male and took his surname.

for county records, look for vital records, court records, probate records. see the county clerk for those.

for vital records, look also at the state historical society and the state archives. there might have been a mention of events in historical newspapers, same sites. you might be able to access a microfilm through your local public library/interlibrary loan program.

journal articles – see your local public library/interlibrary loan program.

there might have been trading post logs. you have to ask all sources for these. who knows where one of these logs turned up.

very few natives have documents as early as your bradley-gibson marriage. there has been better documents about “famous” people in the tribe, such as the chiefs that signed the treaty of rabbit creek.

you can look for church records. a church historian might be able to help you here.

that is excellent that you have gone all the way back to 1634. have you considered taking a DNA test, in order to help someone in your family carry on your interest in genealogy? i just recently took a DNA test, along with my children, and we are learning about how to apply it to our genealogy. i have also put our family tree on and i have worked on making it broad and deep, so that if there were cousins that turn up later, because of DNA tests, they can maybe see where they fit.

one of the things i should do is put together a heritage book about our family, showing records, information that i have found.
this is a more formal list of publishing software or publishers. i know that has a facility where you can publish a limited # of copies.
or a more informal type of book:
The Everything Family Tree Book: Finding, Charting, and Preserving Your Family History (Everything (Hobbies & Games)) [Paperback]
William G. Hartley (Author)

i have not read that book, but you can get it through and they have a used one for $0.01 plus shipping.

one of the people who received such a book from their parent posted that this was the best christmas gift they had ever received.

it’s just a thought. gl.