Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

William (Bill) Durham

Jessie Jessie

posted on May 4, 2011

I am trying to find any information or family of William Durham. I am told that he went by the name of Bill. I don’t know much about him except that he was born in the late 1800’s, lived in Konawa, OK, and he was full blood Choctaw. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 4, 2011

no spouse, no children, no specific dates in your post.
konawa, OK is in seminole county. genealogists use county names as this is the more likely place to find records.

there are three cherokee tribal records under this name but i don’t know if any are related to you.
click on the # in the card column to see the family group.

this might be him:
Name: William E Durham
Age in 1910: 21
Estimated Birth Year: 1889
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father’s name: Thomas Durham
Father’s Birth Place: Alabama
Mother’s name: Katie Durham
Mother’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Home in 1910: Konawa, Seminole, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Durham 49
Katie Durham 48
William E Durham 21
Ethel Arthur 15
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Konawa, Seminole, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1274; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0185; Image: 257; FHL Number: 1375287.

thomas was b. AL and his mother was b. TN.
this usually means that there was a late migration from the southeastern reservations, after the trail of tears in the late 1830’s. check into the AL MOWA tribe and the mississippi choctaw tribe, links in this post. you may have to trace your family back to the 1830-1880 time period and see if there was a choctaw scrip land grant, given in lieu of tribal enrollment.

just so you have some dates to work with:
Social Security Death Index
about William Durham
Name: William Durham
SSN: 445-07-2773
Last Residence: 74849 Konawa, Seminole, Oklahoma, United States of America
Born: 1 Oct 1890
Died: Jan 1967
State (Year) SSN issued: Oklahoma (Before 1951)

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
about William Edgar Durham
Name: William Edgar Durham
County: Seminole
State: Oklahoma
Birthplace: Indian Territory, Oklahoma;United States of America
Birth Date: 15 Jan 1891
Race: Caucasian (White)
FHL Roll Number: 1852126
DraftBoard: 0

1920 United States Federal Census
about William E Durham
Name: William E Durham
Home in 1920: Konawa, Seminole, Oklahoma
Age: 27
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1893
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father’s name: Tom Durham
Father’s Birth Place: Alabama
Mother’s name: Kate Durham
Mother’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Sex: Male
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Tom Durham 60
Kate Durham 51
William E Durham 27
Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Konawa, Seminole, Oklahoma; Roll: T625_1471; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 247; Image: 254.

kate’s maiden name might be bruce.

anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 has a social security application on file and they would have had to submit a birth record or 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.

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.

NARA federal records repository. the fort worth, TX office has archives for oklahoma and texas tribes. atlanta/morrow office has archives for the southwest tribes. many offices have microfilmed records for several tribes. note that this web address has changed recently from

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:

chickasaw historical society 22
Historic Preservation and
Repatriation Office
Phone: (580) 272-5325
Fax: (580) 272-5327
2020 E. Arlington, Suite 4, Ada, OK 74820
send mail to: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821

chickasaw tribe
Chickasaw Nation Headquarters
520 East Arlington, Ada, OK 74820
Phone (580) 436-2603
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821

chickasaw genealogy archive center 23
Tribal Library
Phone: (580) 310-6477
Fax: (580) 559-0773
1003 Chamber Loop, Ada, OK 74820
send mail to: P.O. Box 1548, Ada, OK 74821
oklahoma historical society

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


posted on May 10, 2011

My great grandfather was William (Bill) Durham. He married Emmer Griffith and I am still working to find out more information on him as well.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 10, 2011

well, then you see why you need dates, locations, children and spouse. it is a common name.
if you find something, you can post to this.
you might try a cemetery record. there are several possible databases for this.
this is one of them.
the very useful tool for this website is that if you find a family member, you can search the cemetery for that surname. and have cemetery projects too.

an obituary might help you. see your local public library for this. there is an interlibrary loan program, where you can access materials from other libraries. worldcat is a great tool to find newspapers. state archives and state historical societies usually have historical newspaper collections. this is particularly useful for looking for particular events, such as an obituary, death, marriage, birth of children.


posted on May 18, 2011


suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 19, 2011

do you know when and where he passed away?
bud is a nickname.

i often start with a death record, such as an obituary, cemetery record, death certificate. these documents often have some clues.

how about his spouse’s name, his children?

approximate dates?

where did he live?

Cleve Cleve

posted on October 5, 2012

If you haven’t found out yet,William “Bud” Durham is buried at Vamoosa Cemetery, at Vamoosa Oklahoma. He’s buried alongside his wife, Emmer "Griffin’ Durham. One daughter Eva Lee Durham is by them.