Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Vinnie M. Hilbun or Hilburn (also Nina, or Torrence / Torrance / Terry, or Nettie / Zeanette / Jeanette)

Alyssa Alyssa

posted on May 6, 2011 and updated on May 6, 2011

Looking for ANYONE with more information on my family …
last bit I have tracked down so far is that in the 1900 census they resided in the town of Durant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, listed as Vinnie M. Hilburn. She was a widow, married 5 years, head of the household, and had had 3 children that lived with her.

I’m hoping to find them mentioned in ANY correspondence, or learn more about when Vinnie (also documented as Zeanette and Jeanette) died and where she might be buried as well as well as her parents or any information on her at all.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 6, 2011

the hilburn surnames are listed on the dawes roll as mississippi choctaw. MCR=mississippi choctaw refused.

no location, no children or spouse are in your post.

1900 United States Federal Census
about Vinnie M Hilburn
Name: Vinnie M Hilburn
Home in 1900: Durrant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory
Age: 50
Birthplace: Louisiana
Race: White
Relationship to head-of-house: Head
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Vinnie M Hilburn 50
Torrence Hilburn 21
Nina Hilburn 18
Nettie Hilburn 15
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Durrant, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory; Roll: T623_1853; Enumeration District: 184.

1880 United States Federal Census
about Geo. W. Hilburn
Name: Geo. W. Hilburn
Home in 1880: Precinct 4, Hunt, Texas
Age: 31
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1849
Birthplace: Louisiana
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name: Vinie Hilburn
Father’s birthplace: Georgia
Mother’s birthplace: North Carolina
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Lawyer
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Geo. W. Hilburn 31
Vinie Hilburn 30
Alma Hilburn 8
Torrey Hilburn 1
Clara Wosgomb 8
L. W. Hilburn 26
Joe Hilburn 22
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 4, Hunt, Texas; Roll: 1312; Family History Film: 1255312; Page: 503C; Enumeration District: 68; .

note that vinnie could be lavinia or another variation.
i didn’t find her in cemetery records on findagrave. however, the cemetery would probably be on her death certificate.

since it appears that her husband might have been a prominent person, you might look at historical newspapers for information in texas. and you should look at the delayed birth certificates for the children, as they will probably list her maiden name.

if you don’t have enough information on vinnie, you might look at the childrens’ documentation for clues.

anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 filed a social security application and had to submit a birth certificate or a 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.

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

Alyssa Alyssa

posted on May 7, 2011

Thank you!

Though i was curious … where did you find this part:

“The hilburn surnames are listed on the dawes roll as mississippi choctaw. MCR=mississippi choctaw refused.”

I can’t seem to find that anywhere on the dawes roll!

I was able to find her on the census, though. Do you have a membership to a genealogy site or something? Because I jst come up with hardly anything!

I was hoping though that someone might have old correspondence or maybe some old stories or tales or even a newspaper clipping or a church flier, or something that mentioned them as I thought that would be wonderful to have.

I did just dig up a little more info on Vinnie – seems her full name was Melvina … so that seems to be where that nickname stemmed from.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 7, 2011

yes, i am a member of ancestry.
but i did a search on accessgenealogy.
i put i hilb and hillb as surname search because this is a website that allows partial names.

as far as newspaper clippings, you should go to the public library and find out about interlibrary loan. you can get access to a lot of stuff through that resource and the price is usually free to you. some historical newspapers are on microfilm, some only available by asking for names/dates. local history books might mention them too. so this is a library task.

for instance, you would want to particularly look around marriage date, migration date, childrens’ births, date of death, military service.

you should also look for records in the state archives in locations. some of these are online and some can be accessed through email or by asking for a copy. the archives describe the records online.

this might be your george:
Name: George W Hilburn
Age: 2
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1848
Birth Place: Louisiana
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Western District, Bienville, Louisiana
Family Number: 544
Household Members:
Name Age
James B Hilburn 47
Bilinden Hilburn 34
Jasper W Hilburn 11
Edwin Hilburn 4
George W Hilburn 2
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Western District, Bienville, Louisiana; Roll: M432_230; Page: 287A; Image: 90.

melvina (no maiden name) was b. LA.
george and melvina might have married in LA. all children were b. TX.

i would suspect that L. W. and Joe were brothers of George. so you should particularly look for an 1870 household with these family members. L. W. might be Louis.
clara is a servant, so probably not related.

your public library probably has a subscription to heritage quest and ancestry. the heritage quest subscription would probably allow you to search the census records from your home, if you have a library card.

i use wildcards (*) to search ancestry, so that i can put in partial names. heritage quest has no wildcards but it is very good for searching using less than 3 characters of a name. and you can specify a location to narrow that search.

Name: Louis Hilbun
Birth Year: abt 1851
Age in 1870: 19
Birthplace: Louisiana
Home in 1870: Ward 2, Bienville, Louisiana
Race: White
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
Jos Hilbun 67
Rilman Hilbun 34
Louis Hilbun 19
Joseph Hilbun 13
Geary Hilbun 7
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Ward 2, Bienville, Louisiana; Roll: M593_507; Page: 46B; Image: 96; Family History Library Film: 552006.

Louisiana Marriages, 1718-1925
about Melinda Mileharn
Name: Melinda Mileharn
Spouse: George W. Hilburn
Marriage Date: 26 May 1870
Marriage Place: Bienville
this could be the marriage. you should get a copy of this license from the county court clerk.
in another database:
Name: George W. Hilburn
Spouse: Melvinia Mitcham
Marriage Date: 26 Jul 1870
County: Bien
State: LA

you see how the transcription varies? you have to be generous about your searches. the date, first and last names vary in each record. but i think you will find they are one marriage.