Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Looking for Choctaw Heritage

Maria Hartman Johnson Maria Hartman Johnson

posted on June 14, 2011


My husband is the son of B.J. Johnson, (diseased in San Jose, California in 1974), who is the son of Willie Mae French, her mother is Rozella Mae Dickey. We are making an attempt to contact family for Choctaw Heritage information. We can be contacted thru this site, or at Thank you very much, the Johnsons

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 14, 2011 and updated on June 14, 2011

you should gather your documents for these people. you have mentioned one date and location, but no spouses or no other children for each person in your post.

the idea is to get down to the 1896-1906 time period and look for their names on the dawes roll, see the family group to make sure it is the person who is related to you. if they applied for enrollment, you can get a copy of their enrollment application, census card and testimony. the dawes roll gives the names of applicants to the five major tribes. then you can check to see if they actually were enrolled in a tribe.

b. j. (no first name) johnson d. 1974 san jose, CA

willie mae french m. ? johnson
rozella mae dickey m. ? french

you see the holes here.

California Death Index, 1940-1997
about Bj B Johnson
Name: Bj B Johnson
Social Security #: 562486751
Sex: Male
Birth Date: 1 Apr 1936
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Death Date: 7 Nov 1974
Death Place: Santa Clara

Social Security Death Index
about B. Johnson
Name: B. Johnson
SSN: 562-48-6751
Born: 1 Apr 1936
Died: Nov 1974
State (Year) SSN issued: California (1953)

this gives no clues about first name.

so willie mae might be surname french or surname johnson at the time of the 1930 census. not sure where she was living in 1930.

maybe this is your family?
1920 United States Federal Census
about Willie May French
Name: Willie May French
[Willie May Funch]
Home in 1920: Matoy, Bryan, Oklahoma
Age: 7
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1913
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s Birth Place: Missouri
Mother’s name: Rosa French
Mother’s Birth Place: Missouri
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Sex: Female
Able to read: No
Able to Write: No
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Rosa French 43
Harry French 19
Oscar William French 12
Daulton French 10
Willie May French 7
Leona French 5
Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Matoy, Bryan, Oklahoma; Roll: T625_1454; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 32; Image: 779.

i’m going to give up here.
there are too many possibilities and not enough information.

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 submitted 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


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

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


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


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

Maria Hartman Johnson Maria Hartman Johnson

posted on June 14, 2011

Thank you so much for this information, its a big puzzle. I am sure it can take much time. Definitely worth it. We will be contacting you soon.with your contact information, again, thank you