Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Abla, Roberts

Mike Olcott Mike Olcott

posted on May 14, 2011

My grandmother Bertha Abla always spoke of having a Choctaw Indian Grandmother. Her mothers name was Donnie Roberts Abla from Erick, Ok. Is there a way to research this? My Grandfather Lem Harris was born in Pawnee on land rush property his father had rushed for.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 15, 2011

not sure of maiden name or married name for bertha. maybe she was married to lem harris.
not sure of maiden name or married name for donnie roberts abla? maybe she was donnie roberts who married an abla? and her daughter was bertha.

genealogists use names, locations, children, spouses to match records.

1920 United States Federal Census
about Bertha Abla
Name: Bertha Abla
Home in 1920: Erick, Beckham, Oklahoma
Age: 14
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1906
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s Birth Place: Texas
Mother’s name: Donnie Abla
Mother’s Birth Place: Texas
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Sex: Female
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Donnie Abla 34
Frank Abla 16
Bertha Abla 14
Violet Abla 11
M B Abla 9
Modell Abla 4
[4 3/12]
William D Abla 1
[1 7/12]
Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Erick, Beckham, Oklahoma; Roll: T625_1451; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 497.
California Death Index, 1940-1997
about Bertha Rosetti Harris
Name: Bertha Rosetti Harris
[Bertha Rosetti Abla]
Social Security #: 529265117
Sex: Female
Birth Date: 8 Sep 1905
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Death Date: 14 Sep 1980
Death Place: Kern
Mother’s Maiden Name: Roberts
Father’s Surname: Abla

1910 United States Federal Census
about Bertha R Abla
Name: Bertha R Abla
Age in 1910: 4
Estimated Birth Year: 1906
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s name: William D Abla
Father’s Birth Place: Texas
Mother’s name: Mary D Abla
Mother’s Birth Place: Texas
Home in 1910: Erick, Beckham, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Female
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
William D Abla 27
Mary D Abla 24
Charles F Abla 6
Bertha R Abla 4
Violet M Abla 1 9/12
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Erick, Beckham, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1243; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0009; Image: 233; FHL Number: 1375256.
World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
about William Dee Abla
Name: William Dee Abla
County: Las Animas
State: Colorado
Birth Date: 13 Jun 1882
Race: White
FHL Roll Number: 1561835
DraftBoard: 0
this world war I draft card is available for printing or download on

1900 United States Federal Census
about William Abla
Name: William Abla
[William Abba]
Home in 1900: Francis, Greer, Oklahoma
[Greer, Oklahoma]
Age: 17
Birth Date: Jun 1882
Birthplace: Texas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relationship to head-of-house: Son
Father’s name: Charles Abla
Father’s Birthplace: Ohio
Mother’s name: Rebecker Abla
Mother’s Birthplace: Texas
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Charles Abla 47
Rebecker Abla 36
William Abla 17
Robert Abla 15
John E Abla 13
Annie M Abla 10
Birtia R Abla 8
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Francis, Greer, Oklahoma; Roll: T623_1337; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 83.
California Death Index, 1940-1997
about Donnie A Clendenon
Name: Donnie A Clendenon
Social Security #: 445093582
Sex: Female
Birth Date: 7 Jun 1886
Birthplace: Texas
Death Date: 2 May 1968
Death Place: Kern
Mother’s Maiden Name: Gantner

i do not see that mary donnie roberts applied for the dawes roll which was taken 1896-1906. if she was native, she was likely mississippi choctaw and her family may have accepted a choctaw land scrip in AL or MS for tribal termination under the treaty of rabbit creek.

there was an official migration in the late 1830’s from the reservations in the southeast to arkansas/indian territory. many natives stayed and accepted those land grants. you would have to check the land documents for the head of household 1830-1870 in MS and AL.

some natives were not eligible to apply for enrollment, some were philosophically opposed to enrollment. some candidates for office even ran against the enrollment qualifications/procedures.

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

Duke Allen Duke Allen

posted on January 26, 2015

Hello, Mike

I was pretty excited to see your post. I am a genealogist in Texas. I have a client who is a grandson of your great grandmother, Donnie Roberts Abla. His family told him that Donnie’s mother was Choctaw. So, we have the same family lore occurring in two independent familie. My client is your cousin, and I really hope that I can facilitate communication between the two of you. We have a mystery to solve.

All the best,

Duke Allen