Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Otis E Lee

Barbara Fox Barbara Fox

posted on January 17, 2011

I am trying to find my heritage. I see from my mothers death certificate that her father was Otis E. Lee. I was told that he was from McAlister, OK but he was Cherokee Indian. The research that I have been trying to do shows that he was Choctaw. I wishing to find where it is I came from so I can go forward.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on January 17, 2011

if he was an enrolled member of a tribe, you should check directly with both tribes.

lee is a very common surname and i don’t know what time period to check.

i see two otis lee records on the dawes roll.
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Bates George D 0 M MCR608 P
Choctaw Choat Mary J 0 F MCR608 P
Choctaw Lee Walter E 0 M MCR608 P
Choctaw Lee Otis E 4 M 1/16 MCR608 MCR
Choctaw Lee Lula E 22 F 1/8 MCR608 MCR
MCR=mississippi choctaw refused. i don’t know if this family group was enrolled or not. some of the early mississippi choctaw were enrolled.
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Lee Eva 0 F MCR4967 P
Choctaw Lee Isreal 0 M MCR4967 P
Choctaw Lee Sarah M 0 F MCR4967 P
Choctaw Lee Charity Melvina 1 F 1/32 MCR4967 COLONY MCR
Choctaw Lee Otis 31 M 1/16 MCR4967 COLONY MCR

the ages given were at the time of the dawes application 1896-1906.
you can get a copy of the dawes application, census card, and you should try to find the testimony. there are directions in this post.

i don’t know if this was your grandfather:
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
about Otis Edward Lee
Name: Otis Edward Lee
County: Pittsburg
State: Oklahoma
Birth Date: 9 May 1893
Race: Caucasian (White)
FHL Roll Number: 1852070
DraftBoard: 1
this card is available on your local public library will probably have a subscription to ancestry.

1910 United States Federal Census
about Otis E Lee
Name: Otis E Lee
Age in 1910: 13
Estimated birth year: abt 1897
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Grandson
Father’s Birth Place: Texas
Mother’s Birth Place: Texas
Home in 1910: McAlester Ward 3, Pittsburg, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
J L Choat 48
Mary J Choat 55
Lula Lee 28
Sella May Bates 23
Otis E Lee 13
Jessie Lee 9
Ota Walliams 23
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: McAlester Ward 3, Pittsburg, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1270; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 236; Image: 347.
this otis appears to be the otis edward lee in the draft card and also appears to be the otis lee on the first dawes family.

U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942
about Otis Edgar Lee
Name: Otis Edgar Lee
Birth Date: 9 May 1896
Birth Place: Mcalester, Oklahoma
Residence: Harvey, Illinois
Race: White

i can’t find any other records for otis lee in pittsburg county, OK. i might be looking in the wrong time period. the 1940 census will be out in 2012, so i can only see census records up to 1930. and this is a somewhat common name.

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

Barbara Fox Barbara Fox

posted on January 17, 2011

Hi Suzanne,
I’ve sent you an email before I realized that if I click on the little square next to the response it opens up. Thank you so much for all the information you have given me. I will continue with the resources that you have provided.