Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Searching for information

Courtney Taylor Courtney Taylor

posted on July 27, 2011

I am searching for information on my great great grandmother Emily Matilda Smith Beggs born in Navarro Co, Texas in February 1861. She was Choctaw and was sold to James W. Beggs and his wife Lucy West ? as a bond servant. She later married James’ son, Hiram Pruitt Beggs in 1880 in Bosque Co., Texas. I can’t seem to find a birth record for Emily, as this probably wasn’t her birth name.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on July 28, 2011

birth certificates were required by 1929, however even then states had not required that they be filed by that date. this was a frontier area at this time. most of the time, a neighbor kept records. this would be particularly true of slaves.

if she was alive 1/1/1937, at the time the social security act was implemented, she would have had to apply and submit a birth record. this might be a delayed birth certificate.

i often start with the death and try to find an obituary, a death certificate, a cemetery record. you can see your local public library about an obituary. vital records or state archives for vital records. maybe or for a cemetery record.

Texas Death Index, 1903-2000
about Hiram Pruitt Beggs
Name: Hiram Pruitt Beggs
Death Date: 20 Jul 1938
Death County: Comanche
Certificate: 31523

1880 United States Federal Census
about Hiram Beggs
Name: Hiram Beggs
Home in 1880: Bosque, Texas
Age: 18
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1862
Birthplace: Arkansas
Relation to Head of Household: Son
Father’s name: James W. Beggs
Father’s birthplace: Illinois
Mother’s name: Lucy Beggs
Mother’s birthplace: Illinois
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Farm Laborer
Race: White
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

View image
Household Members:
Name Age
James W. Beggs 65
Lucy Beggs 64
Hiram Beggs 18
Emily M. Smith 18
Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: , Bosque, Texas; Roll: 1291; Family History Film: 1255291; Page: 433B; Enumeration District: 13; .

1900 United States Federal Census
about Hiram Biggs
Name: Hiram Biggs
[Hiram Pruitt Beggs]
[Hiram Bigge]
Home in 1900: Justice Precinct 2, Comanche, Texas
[Comanche, Texas]
Age: 44
Birth Date: Jun 1855
Birthplace: Arkansas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relationship to head-of-house: Head
Father’s Birthplace: Illinois
Mother’s name: Lucy Biggs
Mother’s Birthplace: Illinois
Spouse’s Name: Emila M Biggs
Marriage year: 1881
Marital Status: Married
Years married: 19
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Hiram Biggs 44
Emila M Biggs 48
John R Biggs 15
Replia L Biggs 10
Delpha T Biggs 8
Viola Biggs 5
Tolbert Biggs 1
Lucy Biggs 82
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 2, Comanche, Texas; Roll: T623_1622; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 29.

1870 United States Federal Census
about Emily Smith
Name: Emily Smith
Birth Year: abt 1862
Age in 1870: 8
Birthplace: Texas
Home in 1870: Beat 4, Navarro, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Female
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
R G York 44
N York 34
J J York 21
Wm York 16
Mary York 12
John Smith 10
Emily Smith 8
Mc Smith 4
El Smith 2
Thos Smith 5/12
Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Beat 4, Navarro, Texas; Roll: M593_1600; Page: 74A; Image: 151; Family History Library Film: 553099.

Texas Death Index, 1903-2000
about Emly Matilda Beggs
Name: Emly Matilda Beggs
Death Date: 11 Jan 1925
Death County: Comanche
Certificate: 905
well, since she was not alive at the time social security came into effect, maybe her obituary will tell you more. maybe her death certificate mentions parents.

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.

helpful information about tribal enrollment

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

freedmen info:
You can ONLY apply for Choctaw Nation Membership, AFTER you have obtained a CDIB card proving your Choctaw Blood lineage to a direct ancestor who actually enrolled, BY BLOOD. Freedmen DID NOT enroll By Blood. When US Congress closed the Final Dawes Commission Rolls, there were no provisions granting Freedmen any benefits after the Dawes Commission closed. The tribe Constitution states BY BLOOD. however, the documents (application, census card and testimony) may help you find out more about your heritage.

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