Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Ryan Family

Jason Clark Jason Clark

posted on January 6, 2011

Geneology… what a rewarding and challenging process. I am trying to tie my family lines back to the Choctaw Nation. My grandmother, Edna Maurine Ryan, was born in 1919. I have found her in the 1920 Census, at which time she was located in Jefferson, Oklahoma. Her parents were James and Jennie Ryan, siblings: Orrin, Pearl, Jewel, Fred, Earnest, and James. If anyone has any information, please post! I am eager to learn more about my heritage. THANKS

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on January 6, 2011

1920 United States Federal Census
about James Ryan Name: James Ryan
[James Walter Ryan]
[James Sims]
Home in 1920: Ryan, Jefferson, Oklahoma
Age: 65
Estimated birth year: abt 1855
[abt 1875]
Birthplace: Arkansas
Relation to Head of House: Self (Head)
Spouse’s name: Jennie Ryan
Father’s Birth Place: Alabama
Mother’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Sex: Male
Home owned: Rent
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members: Name Age
James Ryan 65
Jennie Ryan 45
Orrin Ryan 18
Pearl Ryan 16
Jewel Ryan 13
Fred Ryan 11
Earnest Ryan 7
James Ryan 5
Edna Ryan 0

Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Ryan, Jefferson, Oklahoma; Roll: T625_1466; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 211; Image: 227.

some clues:
james was b. ~1855 AR, father b. AL, mother b. TN. this might indicate MOWA or mississippi choctaw or choctaw. they rent a house, which may indicate that they didn’t receive an allotment.

jennie was b.~1875 KY, father b. KY, mother b. TN. if she is native, the family made a late migration, well after the trail of tears. so, if she is choctaw, she would be mississippi choctaw. but there were other tribes in KY also.
the children were b. OK but we don’t know when these people made the migration to oklahoma.

i’m wondering if this is the family:
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Ryan Elizabeth 0 F MCR 5771 P
Choctaw Ryan Jermie 0 F MCR 5771 P
Choctaw Ryan John 0 M MCR 5771 P
Choctaw Ryan Mollie 0 F MCR 5771 P
Choctaw Ryan Orian 1 M 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan Minnie 4 F 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan Maggie May 8 F 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan Georgie 10 M 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan Claud 14 M 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan Walter 16 M 1/16 MCR 5771 NINNKAH MCR
Choctaw Ryan James W 48 M 1/8 MCR 5771 NINNEKAH MCR

MCR=mississippi choctaw refused.

i don’t know if this is the family:
Household Members: Name Age
J W Ryan 55
M V O Ryan 36
George Ryan 16
Maggie Ryan 15
Minnie Ryan 13
Aren Ryan 8
Paul Ryan 6
Ellen Jewel Ryan 3
Freddie Ryan 1 3/12

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Blackburn, Jefferson, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1254; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 148; Image: 486.

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