Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Self Family Research

Fran Ellsworth Fran Ellsworth

posted on April 27, 2013

I was given this information and would like to know how to go about confirming if it is true or not. WILLIAM B. SELF, member of the Ahepatokla Clan of the Choctaw Tribe, was b. 1800, NC; d. Abt 1865, Tarrant, TX. md November 23, 1822 to MARY ELIZABETH (POLLY) BURLESON, b. August 23, 1801, NC; d.March 9, 1883, Zephyr, Brown, TX:
I would appreciate any help, tired of no documentation.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on April 27, 2013

texas was not on the trail of tears in the late 1830s. most of the natives that moved there were not enrolled in tribes. you would have to check the tribes in TX and NC.

i don’t see childrens’ names in this post. that would have been helpful.

enrollment occurred for many tribes 1900-1930 or so.
“Petitions dated 1900 of some of his grandchildren to the Department of the I.T., Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, Colbert, I.T. for identification as Mississippi Choctaw asserted that William B. Self was one-half Choctaw Indian by blood, was recognized by the tribe and resided with them. These petitions were denied, however, on the basis of failure to prove Indian blood or that William B. Self resided with Mississippi Choctaws in 1830.”

William B. Self and his family left Alabama for Texas in the first part of November, 1847. 2

1. Joseph SELF, b. 1823, Alabama, USA location, d. 10 Nov 1857, Freestone County, Texas, USA
2. Tilford M. SELF, b. 1 Jul 1825, Alabama, USA d. 11 Mar 1883, Brown County, Texas, USA
3. Tilmon A. SELF, b. 1 Jul 1825, Alabama, USA d. 11 Mar 1883, Freestone County, Texas, USA (i would say that tilford and tilmon are probably the same person)
4. Jane Virginia SELF, b. Nov 1826, Alabama, USA d. 11 Jul 1910, Freestone County, Texas, USA
5. John Wesley SELF, b. Aug 1828, Alabama, USA d. 21 Aug 1920, Clyde, Callahan, Texas, USA
6. David SELF, b. Abt 1831, Alabama, USA d. 22 Jun 1886, Zephyr, Brown, Texas, USA
7. William N. SELF, b. Abt 1833, Tennessee, USA d. 12 Jul 1857, Freestone County, Texas, USA
8. Patience Malinda C. SELF, b. 6 Aug 1835, Alabama, USA d. 20 Sep 1913, Freestone County, Texas, USA
9. James F. SELF, b. 14 Jun 1837, Marion County, Alabama, USA d. 22 Jan 1900, Brady, McCulloch, Texas, USA
10. Martha SELF, b. Abt 1839, Alabama, USA
11. Eliza A. SELF, b. 21 Apr 1842, Alabama, USA d. 6 Apr 1904, Freestone County, Texas, USA

it appears that you should look at one of the childrens’ enrollment packet to see the census card, enrollment application, testimony and supporting documents.

Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Self Frances 0 F MCR477 P
Choctaw Self Tilford 0 M MCR477 P
Choctaw Self William 26 M 1/16 MCR477 MCR
maybe this was the family group.

i see that the children appear to have lived in TX and not OK.

heritage and tribal enrollment are two different things.

natives living on reservation were not taxed and not on the federal census but there were native census records.

since he was not living on a reservation in NC, he would probably not be on a native census. but he would probably be on the federal census.

i start with the death and work backwards. this might be difficult since TX was the frontier at the time.

cemetery record: maybe or
death certificate: possible. state vital records or state archives or state historical society might be able to help with this.
obituary: state historical society or state archives. it is possible that you can get access to historical texas newspapers through your local public library/interlibrary loan.

other possible sources of information might be webprojects by state, tribe.

unfortunately, this name is fairly common. and his wife’s name is also common.

1850 United States Federal Census about William Self
Name: William Self
Age: 50
Birth Year: abt 1800
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1850: Precinct 3, Limestone, Texas
Gender: Male
Family Number: 127
Household Members:
Name Age
William Self 50
Mary Self 47
Tilford Self 25
John Self 22
David Self 20
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Precinct 3, Limestone, Texas; Roll: M432_912; Page: 363B; Image: 305.

Alabama, Marriage Collection, 1800-1969 about Mary Burleson
Name: Mary Burleson
Spouse: William Self
Marriage Date: 23 Nov 1822
County: Jefferson
State: Alabama

mary elizabeth “polly” burleson self
Birth: Aug. 23, 1801
Death: Mar. 9, 1883

Wife of William B. Self. (bio by: Terry Teague)

Family links:
Moses B Burleson (1777 – 1836)

Children: Tilmon Michael Self (1825 – 1883)*

*Calculated relationship

Zephyr Cemetery
Brown County
Texas, USA

tilford’s entry on
Birth: Jul. 1, 1825
Jefferson County
Alabama, USA
Death: Mar. 11, 1883
Brown County
Texas, USA

He had a twin brother with the same birth and death date

Tilford was married to Winnie Cooper.

Family links:
Winnie Cooper Self (1840 – 1887)

Zephyr Cemetery
Brown County
Texas, USA

since 1840 census record don’t list household members, look carefully at the children in this census record.

1840 United States Federal Census about Wm Self
Name: Wm Self
Home in 1840 (City, County, State): Marion, Alabama
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 10
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 10
Source Citation: Year: 1840; Census Place: , Marion, Alabama; Roll: 13; Page: 62; Image: 129; Family History Library Film: 0002335.

maybe there are some probate papers where he passed away.

but i don’t know if this was your william self.

Mississippi, Homestead and Cash Entry Patents, Pre-1908 about William Self
Name: William Self
Land Office: Washington
Document Number: 4061
Total Acres: 119.82
Signature: Yes
Canceled Document: No
Issue Date: 10 Nov 1840
Mineral Rights Reserved: No
Metes and Bounds: No
Statutory Reference: 3 Stat. 566
Multiple Warantee Names: No
Act or Treaty: April 24, 1820
Multiple Patentee Names: No
Entry Classification: Sale-Cash Entries
Land Description: 1 ENW WASHINGTON No 1N 8E 32; 2 SWSE WASHINGTON No 1N 8E 29
Original data: United States, Bureau of Land Management. Mississippi Pre-1908 Patents: Homesteads, Cash Entry, Choctaw Indian Scrip and Chickasaw Cession Lands. General Land Office Automated Records Project, 1997.

this paperwork is at NARA

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.

you will need to know who the family members were 1830-1930 or so, where they were located. a good way to do this is by census records.
the first time period to concentrate on is 1900-1930 because most tribes enrolled during this period.
federal census records can help you here. you can get access through your local public library – two databases: 1) heritage quest, 2)

the dawes roll shows the applicants to the five major tribes 1896-1906 in indian territory/oklahoma. if your family applied for this, there would be a census card, dawes application, other supporting documents and testimony. these are located at NARA
try the fort worth, TX office.

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. you can google fold3 and your ancestor’s name to see if your relative’s dawes packet 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.
several helpful links for records in the choctaw territory

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:

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 southeast 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

Fran Ellsworth Fran Ellsworth

posted on April 27, 2013

Thank you Suzanne.