Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Searching for Grandmother

Russell P. Bennett Russell P. Bennett

posted on December 31, 2010

This is just a shot in the dark, but hopefully a straight shot. I know little about my grandmother, Neva Childers, but that she was from central Mississippi and, I believe, Choctaw. She also had relations in Aquila, TX. Iam beginning to make an intensive search for this lady, who died in the 60’s, and thought I’d start here. Bless her memory.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on December 31, 2010

she might have been mississippi choctaw. links to that tribe are in this post.

it’s always helpful to start with the death and work backwards. you might be able to get a death certificate and obituary. your public library might be able to help you with the obituary through the interlibrary loan program. if you get stuck, you can ask for her social security application and delayed birth certificate, if you can’t find a birth certificate filed at the time of birth. you will want her marriage license.

i don’t know if childers is a maiden name or married name.

no dates, no residence, no children or spouse in your post.

there are several childers who were given choctaw land scrip in lieu of tribal enrollment.

i am not finding the right records, but i have no dates, locations, spouse or children to work with.

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 for a birth certificate, and they were born before 1929, they might have sumitted 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. the census records up to 1930 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed. the 1940 census will be public information in 2012.

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:

other choctaw tribes:

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

Russell P. Bennett Russell P. Bennett

posted on January 1, 2011

Thank you so much. You are so kind and so informative. my grandmother was a very courageous, independent minded and non conformist lady from what I learned from my father, who died in ‘79. and apparently ostrasized by my grandfather’s family, so tracing her is elusive but in my mind more worth the effort. Childers was her maiden name and her birthdate was around 1890. Wasn’t aware of the inter-library link and feel it an excellent place to start. Again, thank you so much.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on January 1, 2011

there’s a problem starting with just a maiden name. women who married only had that name for 15-20 years. then they were known by some other name. you should give:

maiden name, spouse, children, dates of birth and death, places of birth and death. approximations are all right.

for instance, this is what i get for nev* child* on ancestry in the 1900 census:
iew Record Name Parent or spouse names Home in 1900
(City,County,State) Birth Date Birthplace Race Relation View Image
View Record
Neva C Child Arcadia, DeSoto, Florida Sep 1850 Illinois White Head
View Record
Nevada Child Diamond Springs, El Dorado, California Jul 1852 Illinois White Head
View Record
Nevly A Childer James W,
Lilie A Beat 3, Benton, Mississippi Apr 1897 Mississippi White Daughter
View Record
Nevada Childers William H Bryan, Surry, North Carolina Jun 1872 N C White Wife
View Record
Neva Childers Collin,
Elvy Civil District 23, Gibson, Tennessee Oct 1884 Tennessee White Daughter
View Record
Nevada E Childers Henry,
Polly Barren Fork, Pulaski, Kentucky May 1897 Kentucky White Daughter
View Record
Neva I Childress John M,
Nancy E Mayfield, Montgomery, Mississippi Jul 1888 Mississippi White Daughter
View Record
Neva Childs Henry,
Irene Summit, Callaway, Missouri Apr 1883 Missouri White Daughter
View Record
Nevelle G Childs Fairfield, Tippecanoe, Indiana Jun 1892 Illinois White Nephew
View Record
Never E Childs John W,
Basey E Tussahaw, Henry, Georgia Mar 1895 Georgia Black Daughter

i would suppose that this is the best match:
1910 United States Federal Census
about Nevly A Childers
Name: Nevly A Childers
Age in 1910: 11
Estimated birth year: abt 1899
Birthplace: Mississippi
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s name: James W Childers
Father’s Birth Place: Mississippi
Mother’s name: Lillie A Childers
Mother’s Birth Place: Mississippi
Home in 1910: Beat 1, Benton, Mississippi
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Female
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
James W Childers 38
Lillie A Childers 35
Nevly A Childers 11
Hennie Childers 7
Nitle Childers 5
Luther Childers 9
Cela Childers 4
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Beat 1, Benton, Mississippi; Roll: T624_731; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 1; Image: 987.

this is from a family tree posted on

* * James William Childers 1872 – 1957 * * Lillie Ann Gray 1875 –

Spouse & Children

John Luther Welch 1869 –

i don’t know if this is your relative.