Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Sophronia Kelso


posted on October 11, 2012

I am looking for my genealogy based on information I received. My Great Grandmother’s name was Sophronia Kelso ( born in Illinois)she is said to be Choctaw of the Oklahoma tribe.She had a sister named Mary Ellen. Her father’s name was Hugh Laughlin and her Mother’s name was Zerilda Harper.If anyone has further information I would love to receive it.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on October 11, 2012

hugh laughlin m. zerilda harper
sophronia laughlin b. no date IL m. ? kelso

there are no dates in your post, no spouse’s name.

there are not many choctaw people on the dawes roll with this last name, and none of the names are there. the dawes roll was taken 1896-1906 in indian territory/oklahoma and contains the names of applicants who applied to the five major tribes in oklahoma. there are 63 tribes in oklahoma.

oh, this is well back in records. it means the family was not living on a reservation. IL was not on the trail of tears. some southeastern natives moved north, but they were few.

1860 United States Federal Census about Sophronie Laughlin
Name: Sophronie Laughlin
Age in 1860: 13
Birth Year: abt 1847
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1860: Osawatomie, Lykins, Kansas Territory
Gender: Female
Post Office: Osawatomie
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Heys Laughlin 36
Zerilda Laughlin 31
Sophronie Laughlin 13
Mary E Laughlin 11
Emely Laughlin 10
Georgia Laughlin 7
John C Laughlin 5
Samuel Laughlin 3
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Osawatomie, Lykins, Kansas Territory; Roll: M653_351; Page: 210; Image: 210; Family History Library Film: 803351.

hugh was b. OH and zerilda and children were b. IL. so they moved to KS since the birth of samuel.

hugh is a laborer, has $200 personal property but no real property.

1850 United States Federal Census about Zerilda Laughlin
Name: Zerilda Laughlin
Age: 19
Birth Year: abt 1831
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1850: Logan, Illinois
Gender: Female
Family Number: 214
Household Members:
Name Age
Hugh Laughlin 29
Zerilda Laughlin 19
Sassona Laughlin 3
Mary E Laughlin 1
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: , Logan, Illinois; Roll: M432_116; Page: 181B; Image: 213.

the trail of tears occurred in the late 1830’s.

1870 United States Federal Census about Gerild Laughlin
Name: Gerild Laughlin
Age in 1870: 40
Birth Year: abt 1830
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1870: Walnut Creek, Brown, Kansas
Race: White
Gender: Female
Post Office: Hiawatha
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Hugh Laughlin 50
Gerild Laughlin 40
Emme Laughlin 18
George Laughlin 16
John C Laughlin 14
Samuel Laughlin 12
Rebecca Laughlin 10
Hugh Laughlin 2
Thomas Kelso 33
Mary E Kelso 23
Nora Kelso 2
Albinus Kelso 1
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Walnut Creek, Brown, Kansas; Roll: M593_429; Page: 653B; Image: 572; Family History Library Film: 545928.

Illinois, State Census Collection, 1825-1865 about Hugh Laughlin
Name: Hugh Laughlin
Census Date: 3 Jul 1855
Residence State: Illinois
Residence County: Logan
Residence Township: Township 18

1880 United States Federal Census about Sophronia Kelso
Name: Sophronia Kelso
Age: 33
Birth Year: abt 1847
Birthplace: Illinois
Home in 1880: Peru, Nemaha, Nebraska
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: O. N. Kelso
Father’s Birthplace: Ohio
Mother’s Birthplace: Illinois
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Keeping House
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

View image
Household Members:
Name Age
O. N. Kelso 43
Sophronia Kelso 33
Cordella Kelso 13
Mary A. Kelso 10
Charles L. Kelso 4
Claude W. Kelso 8m
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Peru, Nemaha, Nebraska; Roll: 752; Family History Film: 1254752; Page: 102B; Enumeration District: 201; Image: 0650.

Web: Nebraska, Find A Grave Index, 1854-2011 about Sophronia Kelso
Name: Sophronia Kelso
Birth Date: 4 Nov 1846
Age at Death: 43
Death Date: 6 Jun 1890
Burial Place: Miller, Buffalo County, Nebraska, USA
this is a entry.

Birth: Nov. 4, 1846
Illinois, USA
Death: Jun. 6, 1890
Buffalo County
Nebraska, USA

Sophronia Laughlin was the daughter of Hugh Laughlin and Zerelda (Harper) Laughlin.

Sophronia Laughlin married Ora Nathan Kelso on 23 JUL 1863 in Colorado Springs, El Paso Count, Colorado.

Family links:
Ora Nathan Kelso (1836 – 1912)

Children: Charles Leslie Kelso (1876 – 1942)* Claude Wilbur Kelso (1879 – 1944)*

*Calculated relationship

Armada Cemetery
Buffalo County
Nebraska, USA

ora nathan kelso
Birth: Feb. 8, 1836
Death: Nov. 20, 1912

Family links:
Sophronia Laughlin Kelso (1846 – 1890)*

Children: Charles Leslie Kelso (1876 – 1942)* Claude Wilbur Kelso (1879 – 1944)*

*Calculated relationship

Married Sophronia Laughlin 7-23-1863

Riverside Cemetery
Payette County
Idaho, USA

Nebraska, State Census Collection, 1860-1885 about Soplronia Kelso
Name: Soplronia Kelso
Gender: Female
Age: 38
Birth Year: abt 1847
Birth Place: Illinois
Race: White
Residence: Mcwilliams, Otoe, Nebraska
Census Year: 1885
Enumeration District: 572
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Albert Kelso 2
Charles Kelso 9
Cordelia Kelso 18
Leland Kelso 5
Mary Kelso 16
O N Kelso 48
Soplronia Kelso 38
Source Citation: National Archives and Records Administration; Nebraska State Census; Year: 1885; Series/Record Group: M352; County: Otoe; Township: Mcwilliams; Page: 22.

since sophronia was not alive when most of the tribes were enrolling original enrollees of tribes, you should see if any of the children enrolled in a tribe. usually, you should check tribes that are near where the family was living.

1900 United States Federal Census about Mary A Jenkins
Name: Mary A Jenkins
[Mary A Kelso]
Age: 30
Birth Date: Jun 1869
Birthplace: Nebraska
Home in 1900: Omaha Ward 7, Douglas, Nebraska
Race: White
Gender: Female
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Robert L Jenkins
Marriage Year: 1891
Years Married: 9
Father’s Name: Orra N Kelso
Father’s Birthplace: Ohio
Mother’s Birthplace: Illinois
Mother: number of living children: 5
Mother: How many children: 6
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Robert L Jenkins 39
Mary A Jenkins 30
Ethel I Jenkins 7
Colton R Jenkins 5
Bertha J Jenkins 3
Nela Jenkins 2
Helen Jenkins 2/12
Orra N Kelso 63
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Omaha Ward 7, Douglas, Nebraska; Roll: 924; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 76; FHL microfilm: 1240924.

California Death Index, 1940-1997 about Mary Alphenia Jenkins
Name: Mary Alphenia Jenkins
[Mary Alphenia Kelso]
Social Security #: 0
Sex: Female
Birth Date: 16 Jun 1869
Birthplace: Nebraska
Death Date: 23 Oct 1956
Death Place: Los Angeles
Mother’s Maiden Name: McLaughlin
Father’s Surname: Kelso
with a map of tribal areas

natives had an oral tradition and languages only became written languages after 1850. the tribes don’t have records. there were war department records 1800-1930 or so and they are located at NARA. many of those records are transcribed at accessgenealogy, so look at the dawes page and click on the census, databases and rolls to the left menu.

there were historical newspapers, local history books, vital records, cemetery records, court records located in the state where the event occurred. state historical societies, state archives, county clerks usually have access to these. you might be able to get historical newspaper/history book access through your local public library/interlibrary loan program.

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:

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.

for those people who do not yet have a card, you should research the 1900-1940 census to know approximate dates of birth, birthplaces, family members. this will also tell you if someone is more likely to be on the freedman roll or as applicants to the dawes roll taken 1896-1906 in indian territory/oklahoma for the five major tribes.

applicants can be found here:
partial names are ok. look at the guide link for explanation of the codes.

when you find a possible name, then click on the card# in the card column to see the family group. if it is your family group, and they were likely enrolled, then you can search the oklahoma historical society’s dawes roll link to get the enrollment #’s for particular family members.

if your family was enrolled by council action early in the process or was enrolled by lawsuit, they might not appear on the oklahoma historical society website. you would have to check with the tribe on that.

even if your family was rejected by the dawes process, you may want the testimony, census card, application information for your genealogical purposes.

the federal census will also help you decide which state to contact for vital records.

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

freedmen information:
many freedmen links on this webpage:

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


posted on October 14, 2012

Thank you for your help. I will do what ever it takes to find my genealogy and all your information will truly be helpful!!