Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Searching if anyone knew my great great grandmother

Sonya Sonya

posted on November 15, 2010

My name is Sonya and my grandfather was born on a choctaw indian reservation in Poto, OK. His name was Frank Wade Clift. His grandmother (on his mother’s side) was the full blooded indian. My Grandpa’s mother’s name was Lela (or Lila) Brennan. Did anyone know her Mother? I dont know her name but i have a picture of her. Thanks.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on November 15, 2010

lela/lila brennan m. ? clift
frank wade clift

there are no dates on this post. is poto supposed to be a county? no spouse for frank, no spouse for lela/lila.

this might be your family:

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
about Frank Wade Clift
Name: Frank Wade Clift
County: Le Flore
State: Oklahoma
Birthplace: Missouri
Birth Date: 5 Jan 1894
Race: Caucasian (White)
FHL Roll Number: 1851803
DraftBoard: 0

this draft card is available on

you might have to ask for his social security application or his death certificate or obituary to find his parents. see your local public library to find his obituary through the interlibrary loan program. anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 has a social security application on file and they had to file a delayed birth certificate to show proof of age.

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.

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 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.

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:

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

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.

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