Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

am I Choctaw?

John R. Hall John R. Hall

posted on January 25, 2011

I have been working for over a year now with a service that provides specialized mental health service for Maori people in the Northland of New Zealand. As I have been working in this setting and learning te reo (Maori language), I have become more interested in my own indigenous roots. Unfortunately the family historians have not been able to help me much along this journey.
I had always been told that my grandmother’s grandmother was Choctaw. My cousin who is the main family historian only reports that his father told him that individual was Native American but no tribe specified.
When I look at family records I find an Eliza Jane Hicks, born in Tennessee 13 August 1824. She married Abraham Cole who died in Springfield MO in 1862. She however is said to have died in Indian Territory 11 February 1903 though she was buried in Cassville MO where her grandchildren were living at the time.
When I search the Dawes Roll, I do not find an Eliza Cole who would have been in her 70s at the time of the roll.
I am not sure how to proceed to find out if she was indeed Choctaw—or perhaps of a different tribe?
I realize I am a novice on this sort of journey—I had actually never really been that concerned about my family history until my experience with Maori who are very particular about their whakapapa.
I would appreciate any hints or help you might offer.
My daughter who lives in Neosho has a friend who works in the Shawnee Nation and who I have also approached with this inquiry as a friend.
Kia ora
John R. Hall

chahta ohoyo chahta ohoyo

posted on January 26, 2011

the easiest place to start is at:
hicks family genforum
cole family genforum
just type them into your search like that
you have to start with the basics…someone in either family might remember the native american part of the family
one step at a time can be slow going, but eventually gets you there…i have been working on my choctaw connections since 1965…just withing the past month have i put it back together…the funny thing is that it was right there all the time…best of luck…anunpuli shali/long talker

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on January 26, 2011

who were her descendants. you have gone back in time many years, but you should look to see if her children were enrolled. parents are listed as age 0, so you might not find eliza hicks cole age 70.

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  1. ID: I6758
  2. Name: Eliza Jane HICKS
  3. Sex: F
  4. Birth: 13 AUG 1824 in Knox County,Tennessee 1
  5. Death: 11 FEB 1903 in Mano,Barry Co.,Missouri 1
  6. Note:
Biography: Stayed with son John Sigel Cole & his 3rd wife Zelpha cir 1901 in Oklahoma Indian Territory Notes: Eliza m. #2 Samuel L. Peters.
  1. Change Date: 5 JUL 2004 at 00:24:22

HintsAncestry Hints for Eliza Jane HICKS

2 possible matches found on

Father: Richard N. HICKS b: 1789 in Knox County,Tennessee
Mother: Lucinda ELLIOTT b: 1793 in North Carolina

Marriage 1 Abraham Thomas COLE b: 2 MAR 1827 in Limestone County,Alabama

  • Married: 15 MAR 1849 in Limestone County,Alabama 1


1. Has No Children Sarah Jane COLE b: 10 FEB 1850 in Limestone County,Alabama (?) 2. Has No Children Richard T(homas) COLE b: 6 JUN 1852 in Limestone County,Alabama 3. Has No Children Mary E. COLE b: 30 OCT 1856 in Alabama 4. Has No Children Zarilda V. COLE b: 7 AUG 1859 in Alabama Or Cassville,Barry Co.,Missouri 5. Has Children John Sigel COLE b: 1 APR 1862 in St. Louis,St Louis Co.,Missouri (?)

Marriage 2 Samuel L. PETERS b: 1 OCT 1808

  • Married: Aft APR 1862

this record is on rootsweb worldconnect.
it seems that many in this family had rather tragic ends.

anyway, it might be a good start for your family’s research and would give you people to contact. cousins enjoy hearing from cousins. trade information and sources. and have messageboards for tribe, location, surnames.

the AL birthplace makes me wonder if they were MOWA or mississippi choctaw. they didn’t go on the trail of tears in the late 1830’s from the southeastern reservations.

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

John R. Hall John R. Hall

posted on January 27, 2011

thanks for that…it will take awhile to digest