Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Looking for information on my Great Mother, possibly Choctaw

Jeffrey Mahon Jeffrey Mahon

posted on September 9, 2012 and updated on September 9, 2012

I am looking for information on my Great-Grandmother “Mamie Elizabeth Burns” born in 1884 in Kansas.

According to my late Grandfather whom I never meant, his mother was full blooded Choctaw Indian, adopted (or sold to) Robert and Alice Burns in Independence Kansas when she as 11 (around 1895) to become their housekeeper (as the story is told).

From various records on Ancestry.com, the Burns family owned a boarding house in Independence Kansas. Unfortunately census papers from 1900 list Mamie as white instead of Indian. From research my father gathered from family, that was a normal thing to do back then regarding adopted Native American Children to white families.

Mamie met and married my great-grandfather Charles Arthur Mahon around 1900. Records show he met her at the boarding house.

The family of my late grandfather insist he said his mother Mamie was Choctaw and there is little reason to doubt that claim because my father, who would have a quarter Indian blood looks very Native American in his childhood photos (attached).

Just wondering if there are records of births and more importantly in my case, adoption records back then. I can’t see how a white couple could adopt an Indian child without it being recorded somehow.

I appreciate any help and thanks in advance.

Jeff Mahon

attached:

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on September 9, 2012

many adoptions of that period were informal, without court or agency sanction.

there were natives in kansas.
http://www.native-languages.org/kansas.htm
http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/nativeam/
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/kansas/

see trail of tears:
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gentutor/trails.html

location is a major factor in tribal affiliation.

unfortunately, if your family did not apply to enroll in a tribe, they usually didn’t disclose heritage.

you can try to get mamie’s social security application. she would have had to submit a birth record to show proof of age.
http://www.ssa.gov/foia/html/foia_guide.htm
SS-5

do you have her obituary, cemetery record? try findagrave.com or interment.net
maybe a newspaper mention? state archives or state historical society might have these. some might be available through your local public library, interlibrary loan program.

1900 United States Federal Census about Mamie Burns
Name: Mamie Burns
Age: 15
Birth Date: Jul 1884
Birthplace: Kansas
Home in 1900: Fort Scott Ward 3, Bourbon, Kansas
[Bourbon]
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Birthplace: Scotland
Mother’s Name: Alice Burns
Mother’s Birthplace: Indiana
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Alice Burns 37
Johnie Burns 19
Mamie Burns 15
Estella Gilham 30
Thos B Gilham 34
Frank Moon 29
Ed Quimbey 37
AL Gilham 38
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Fort Scott Ward 3, Bourbon, Kansas; Roll: 471; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 36; FHL microfilm: 1240471.

Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 about Mary Burns
Name: Mary Burns
Census Date: 1 Mar 1895
Residence County: Bourbon
Residence State: Kansas
Locality: Fort Scott
Birth Location: Kansas
Family Number: 1
Gender: Female
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1885
Race: White
Line: 13
Roll: v115_10
Robt H Burns 45
Alice Burns 32
John Burns 14
Mary Burns 10
Ancestry.com.. Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.

Arkansas Death Index, 1914-1950 about Mamie Mahon
Name: Mamie Mahon
Death Day: 27
Death Month: Feb
Death Year: 1925
County: Union
Roll Number: 19241933

oh, darn, she passed away before 1/1/1937. so she didn’t apply for social security.

do you have her death certificate?
state vital records for that.

look at the kansas state census 1885 records. there are 89 mamie records. of course, her last name wouldn’t probably be burns. it would take a lot of work to narrow this down by location and that is if she was known by mamie before she went to live with the burns.

i would suggest her birth family lived nearby bourbon county in 1895, and maybe she was born in bourbon county, KS.

many people considered natives as “white”. this is not unusual.

try a school record?

there are others who are researching this family as well. you should contact all of the people who posted family trees.

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 1940 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed.

obituaries through the oklahoma choctaw tribe is through the history link for the tribe:
http://www.choctawnation.com/history/

social security application for a deceased person:
http://www.ssa.gov/foia/html/foia_guide.htm
form SS-5.

your public library probably has a subscription to heritage quest and ancestry.com. fold3.com 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.
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/dawes.php?s_last=green&s_first=mart&s_middle=&s_tribe=
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 rootsweb.com or ancestry.com.
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 findagrave.com or interment.net. 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. ancestry.com and heritage quest are two databases that include many census records. many native census records kept by NARA (http://www.archives.gov) 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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Commission
wikipedia entries are sometimes opinionated; entered by volunteers.

helpful information about tribal enrollment
http://www.felihkatubbe.com/ChoctawNation/TribalMembership.html

2 ways to search:
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalroll.php
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.

http://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes/index.php
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.
http://www.fold3.com/documents/46580455/dawes-packets/
other resources are NARA http://www.archives.gov

the five civilized tribes book put out by the department of the interior has testimony.
http://books.google.com/books/about/Five_civilized_tribes_in_Oklahoma.html?id=chATAAAAYAAJ
and you can read it online

and these are the microfilms at fort worth TX archives.
http://www.archives.gov/southwest/finding-aids/native-american-microfilm.html

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

75.23 RECORDS OF THE COMMISSIONER TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES 1852-1919
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
http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/075.html
(Record Group 75)
1793-1989

http://okhistory.cuadra.com/star/public.html
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.
http://choctawnation.com/services/departments/community-services/
some obituaries:
http://www.choctawnation.com/history/obituaries/

NARA http://www.archives.gov/ 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 nara.gov.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_quantum_laws
calculations about blood quantum:
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wishawa4/Menominee%20Indians/quantum.htm

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

jena choctaw tribe in louisiana:
http://www.jenachoctaw.org/

MOWA tribe
http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1368
http://www.uab.edu/uabmagazine/2009/july/losttribe
http://www.native-american-online.org/MOWA-Choctaw.htm
MOWA Band Of Choctaws Wilford Taylor 1080 Red Fox Road Mount Vernon, AL 36560 (251) 829-5500. E-Mail: chieftaylor@mowachoctaw.com

other choctaw tribes:
http://www.aaanativearts.com/choctaw-indians/index.html

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
http://www.chickasaw.net/index.htm

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

http://www.okhistory.org/
oklahoma historical society
marriage records
http://www.okhistory.org/research/library/marriage.html
http://www.okgenweb.org/~okgarvin/kinard/chocmarriageindex.htm

other historical societies:
http://www.daddezio.com/society/hill/SH-OK-NDX.html
some oklahoma genealogical societies:
http://www.censusfinder.com/oklahoma-genealogy-society.htm
http://www.geneasearch.com/societies/socokla.htm

texas tribes
http://www.native-languages.org/texas.htm
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/texas/index.htm
http://www.texasindians.com/
http://www.lsjunction.com/places/indians.htm

oklahoma tribes:
http://500nations.com/Oklahoma_Tribes.asp
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/oklahoma/index.htm
http://www.cowboy.net/native/tribes.html

some links for the choctaw.
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/choctaw/index.htm
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.
http://www.okgenweb.org/~okgarvin/kinard/1860index.htm
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.
http://www.archive.org/details/fivecivilizedtr00statgoog
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. ancestry.com 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 http://www.archives.gov 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.
http://www.us-census.org/native/choctaw_dawes.html
i do not know what they are trying to transcribe, but this is the volunteer page
http://www.us-census.org/states/graphics/status.htm

and this might be of interest to you:
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/choctaw/rights-of-choctaws.htm
Rights of Mississippi Choctaws in the Choctaw Nation

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalrolls/
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:
http://jenniferhsrn2.homestead.com/research2.html

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.
http://www.searchforancestors.com/google/searcher.html

penny postcards. this is a website that features pictures that were on postcards. click on the state to see the postcards that they have.
http://www.usgwarchives.org/special/ppcs/ppcs.html
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, 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

Jeffrey Mahon Jeffrey Mahon

posted on September 9, 2012 and updated on September 9, 2012

WOW! Thank you Suzanne! Lot’s to research :)

It is really appreciated.

I forgot to add that some records I’ve found on ancestry.com list her first name as “Mary” Elizabeth Burns.