Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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how to find your heritage

eric bergman eric bergman

posted on June 18, 2011

My name is Eric Bergman my grandmother on my dad’s side
was Jewell Bergman her original name was Jewell Brown from
Boswell Oklahoma. I was wondering if there is any information
about her and i was also wondering if she was full blooded
Native American would that make me and my sisters at least
a quarter. And was just wondering if that would qualify us
for anything!

But would just like to find out about her and her history!

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 18, 2011

jewell brown m. ? bergman

no years, no children, no spouse in your post. genealogists use locations, dates, spouse and children to match records.

tribal membership depends on whether someone was directly descended from an original enrollee. since your post doesn’t give enough information about that, i cannot tell you whether she was enrolled. heritage and enrollment are often two different subjects. many natives didn’t enroll in a tribe due to the qualifications for membership or because they were philosophically opposed.

i often start with the death records, such as death certificate from the vital records of the state where they passed away. the obituary can often be obtained through the local public library/interlibrary loan program. sometimes you can find a cemetery record on the internet through findagrave.com or interment.com.

then there’s the marriage record, often available through the state historical society or state archives, if before 1930, or vital records with the state. in oklahoma, you should also look at the tribe’s records at oklahoma historical society, county, or the district court.

children’s birth records, fix the family to a location and date, point to the parents.

sometimes the census can help with location and family members. the 1940 census will be available in 2012. the census from 1900-1930 is available through heritage quest and ancestry.com, and often your local public library has a subscription to these databases. since the dawes roll contained the names of applicants to the five major tribes in oklahoma 1896-1906, these records can help you predict families members. if you find your relatives in the dawes roll, the application, tribe census card, and testimony might contain good information about your family’s heritage, even if they were not enrolled.

of the records, the marriage and birth records are most important because they are usually primary documents. but other records can help you build documents about your family.

when social security came into effect 1/1/1937 and anyone who passed away after that date probably has a social security application on file. further, they needed to provide proof of age when they filed this. many people submitted a birth certificate or a delayed birth certificate to do this. if you request a birth certificate before the 1940’s, you should also request a delayed birth certificate at the same time. this is because the vital records office will look at the records around the date of birth that you provide but may not look for a later delayed birth certificate unless you request it.

natives usually only disclosed their blood quantum when they applied for enrollment, so i don’t know what your possible blood quantum might be.

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 permanently.

2 ways to search:
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalroll.php
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.

http://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes/index.php
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.
http://okhistory.cuadra.com/star/public.html

the tribe has an excellent information to help you. it is found under genealogy advocacy.
http://choctawnation.com/services/departments/community-services/

NARA http://www.archives.gov/ 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 nara.gov.

mississippi choctaw and choctaw tribe explained here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choctaw_Trail_of_Tears

http://www.choctaw.org/

jena choctaw tribe in louisiana:
http://www.jenachoctaw.org/

MOWA tribe
http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1368
http://www.uab.edu/uabmagazine/2009/july/losttribe
http://www.native-american-online.org/MOWA-Choctaw.htm
MOWA Band Of Choctaws Wilford Taylor 1080 Red Fox Road Mount Vernon, AL 36560 (251) 829-5500. E-Mail: chieftaylor@mowachoctaw.com

other choctaw tribes: http://www.aaanativearts.com/choctaw-indians/index.html

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
http://www.chickasaw.net/index.htm

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

http://www.okhistory.org/
oklahoma historical society

texas tribes
http://www.native-languages.org/texas.htm
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/texas/index.htm
http://www.texasindians.com/
http://www.texasindians.com/
http://www.lsjunction.com/places/indians.htm

oklahoma tribes:
http://500nations.com/Oklahoma_Tribes.asp
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/oklahoma/index.htm
http://www.cowboy.net/native/tribes.html

some links for the choctaw.
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/choctaw/index.htm
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.
http://www.okgenweb.org/~okgarvin/kinard/1860index.htm
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:
http://jenniferhsrn2.homestead.com/research2.html

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, shamlet76@gmail.com 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