Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Searching for information on Emma Willis

Treece Treece

posted on June 24, 2011

I am the great granddaughter of Emma Willis. She married a McAfee (Frank…maybe). She died a few months after giving birth to a daughter, Juanita McAfee whom I believe grew up at the Wheelock Academy and was possibly adopted by a missionary. I don’t know exactly when Juanita was born, but I think in was around 1919…give or take a few years. (that’s actually just an educated guess) I’m sure Emma had a roll number, but we don’t have enough information to pinpoint which Emma is the correct family member. I have searched the Dawes documents and found some possibilities, but I just don’t have enough info. Once we can find a roll #, we can prove the choctaw blood and my mother (deceased) and her sisters can finally claim 100% choctaw blood. Hope someone out there can help.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 24, 2011

emma willis m. frank? mcafee
juanita mcafee b. 1919?

i think first you need to try to figure out when and where she was born. she might have known this, or her guardian at the time might have known this. you might check her social security application. anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 has a social security application on file and they would have submitted a birth document in order to show proof of age.

if you try to get a birth certificate, also ask for a delayed birth certificate. people sometimes filed those in place of a birth certificate for births before 1937. although congress mandated that all states would issue birth certificates in 1929, many people still were not used to this formality and many birth certificates didn’t get filed even after 1929. but when social security required people to apply in 1937, people had to get a birth certificate or a delayed birth certificate to show proof of age. you can get a copy of the social security application, but you will need her name at the time of death. it would help to have her social security #. see for the social security death index 1964-present. they have a letter than you can print and send to the social security administration.

when i don’t know much about a deceased relative, i start with the death and work backwards in time. you might be able to get an obituary through your local public library/interlibrary loan program. you could get a copy of the death certificate from state vital records and that often gives information about parents, birthdate/birthplace. and there might be a cemetery record. some of the cemetery records are online with or

then you can try to look in the census records. you say that she might have been adopted by a missionary, but you don’t know? this tells me that you don’t know a lot about her early life. there were informal adoptions during this time and you might or might not be able to find a court record. you can try the oklahoma courts, if she lived in oklahoma.

what does your mother’s documents say? childrens’ documents point to the parents, fix the family to a location and date. when i cannot find many documents for the ancestor, i often look again at the documents that the children have.

the dawes roll was taken 1896-1906 and it contains the names of applicants to the five major tribes. in my opinion, you don’t know enough information about your grandmother, so you will probably not succeed in finding out much information about her mother. there are 63 tribes in oklahoma. and there are many natives who are not enrolled in any tribe, many other people who were living in oklahoma at this time.

you might contact the bureau of indian affairs about the wheelock academy and see if they sent records to NARA/national archives and records administration. if they did, you might check with NARA’s fort worth office.
and you can check with the oklahoma historical society about wheelock.

there is a problem with your information. you don’t have any information, just a guess, at the name of her spouse. emma would have been a mcafee probably a short period of time and you don’t know exactly when that was. you are guessing at her birthdate but don’t say how you formed this guess. the name emma willis, her presumed maiden name, would have been common. no location. no dates for her either. have you searched for a death certificate for emma, a cemetery record, a newspaper obituary or other record that she married, passed away or had a child. you don’t seem to know what happened to frank? mcafee. you have a name of a child but her surname might be different in early records.

offhand, i would say that you need more information about juanita’s early life, her facts, before you pursue more information about emma willis.

i would say that you need more information on juanita mcafee. the possible adoption indicates that mcafee might not be her name in early records.

so what do you think i should search for?

this is the list of mcafee records in the 1930 census. none of these fit your ideas.

View Record Name Parent or spouse names Home in 1930
(City,County,State) Estimated Birth Year Birthplace Relation View Image
View Record
Juanita Mcafee Mckenney,
Ada Swannanoa, Buncombe, North Carolina abt 1920 Daughter
View Record
Juanita Mcafee Cool Spring, Rutherford, North Carolina abt 1924 Granddaughter
View Record
Juanita Mcafee Charles,
Lillian Hannibal, Marion, Missouri abt 1927 Daughter
View Record
Juanita N Mcafee Alex H,
Mittie G Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia abt 1927 Daughter
View Record
Juanita Mcafee Willie,
Annie B Plum Bayou, Jefferson, Arkansas abt 1929 Daughter

so which records do you want to try to search? i don’t have any suggestions. no spouse, no children, no birthplace, no birthdate, no date of death, no place of death. you are in the wrong time period for looking for native records.

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:
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

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 24, 2011 and updated on June 25, 2011

this is a duplicate answer.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 24, 2011 and updated on June 25, 2011

this is a duplicate answer.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on June 24, 2011 and updated on June 25, 2011

this is a duplicate answer.
the choctaw website was crashing when i was submitting my reply.