Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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how to begin

julie julie

posted on August 26, 2010

I am trying to do some research on my cultural history and lineage with the Choctaw nation. I have never done this, what is the best way to begin such a search?

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on August 26, 2010

i have a list of resources that i use. just write to me shamlet76@gmail.com

basically, you start with what you know, collect documentation, and then you can go backward in time.

so get your birth certificate, your parents’ birth certificates and marriage license and then you can go backward and try to get information on your grandparents. you do this working back in time on each generation.

death certificate, obituary can be helpful but the informant may not have known all that they tell. so a death certificate, for instance, is primary evidence of death but secondary evidence of birth. you want primary information, as much as possible. a birth certificate is usually primary evidence, but a delayed birth certificate might be secondary evidence, depending on who supported the birth with affidavits. if you ask for a birth certificate, you should mention that it might be a delayed birth certificate.

the last public census was 1930. the 1940 census will be available in 2012, 72 years after it was created. you will want census records from 1930 down to 1900 of the people in your family.

if you get stuck on anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937, ask for a copy of the social security application for the person using the name that they last used. it is helpful if you find them in an index, such as the one on rootsweb.com 1964-present – this index will give you their social security #. the social security application lists dates, locations, parents’ names, other helpful information that can guide you in looking for records.

there are native records and federal, state and county records. i always look for records in the place they last were, in the place where i expected to find them. i check my spelling and try again. and if i cannot find them this way, i look at all united states records and see if i can find them.

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.

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.

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.
http://choctawnation.com/services/departments/community-services/

mississippi choctaw and choctaw tribe explained here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choctaw_Trail_of_Tears

i have collected many resources over the years. if you want to write to me, shamlet76@gmail.com 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