Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Thomas Underwood son Harriet Gardner and Thomas Underwood

Carolyn Henry Lockwood Carolyn Henry Lockwood

posted on October 27, 2011

My grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Underwood b. 1/10/1881, Indian Territory, Ok, son of Harriet Gardner b. abt 1861,IT, Ok and Thomas Underwood. Choctaw Census Card #125, roll #262. He is shown on census card with his half brother Alex Davis. His Mother, Harriet died during childbirth when Thomas was born. He was taken in and raised by George Gray and his wife, Lavinia Gardner Gray. On Thomas’ census card it states that his parents are both dead. Thomas is a choctaw living in chickasaw nation. It is my belief that father Thomas Underwood is actually still living and is full blood chickasaw,b. abt. 1856 roll # 2646. I know that the chickasaw Thomas had a son Humphrey Underwood b. abt 1877. Chickasaw Thomas was married to Susie Brown and Harriet Gardner was married to John Davis at about the same time. I am trying to find a marriage record for Thomas Underwood and Harriet Gardner Davis. I am also trying to locate more information on Harriet lineage. I believe that Lavinia Gardner Gray who took in Thomas after Harriet death to be her sister. Lavinia’ father George Gardner b. after 1830 in Mississippi d. prior to 1875 in IT, Ok. I cannot find any concrete proof that Harriet is the daughter of George & Phoebe Gardner but was able to find a payroll where Zach Gardner had signed for my grandfather Thomas’ check and wrote in the column beside his name that Thomas was the orphan son of Harriet Gardner Underwood. Any help that anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on October 27, 2011

it sounds as if testimony would be able to help you. do you have the dawes packet for both families? census card?
many times there are other documents with the enrollment application.
the chickasaw tribe has a research center. you might contact them.
there might be an obituary, census card or other document for the death of thomas, lavinia, harriet and humphrey.
there are several statements that you have made but you don’t say what documents you have that show this information.
i do appreciate that you tell what you speculate, apart from the information where you have proof.
i don’t know who the “chickasaw thomas” is. i do not know if he has any bearing on your family.
all these words make it confusing to follow your family because your people have facts about them all through your paragraph, instead of clearly set out near the name. look at the format of a family tree. you seem to have several goals, some documents. but you don’t say what you have already done, what documents you specifically have. i don’t know who zach is nor what relationship he has to this family. no date or location for this payroll record.

native languages were not written until the middle of the 1800’s. this means that the tribes have very few documents. the war department kept records 1800-1900 or so. these documents are at NARA . there might be local historical newspapers or books that refer to specific families. there might be a trading log entry.

so i don’t know where to start.
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Davis Harriet 0 F 125 P
Choctaw Davis John 0 M 125 P
Choctaw Davis Alex 21 M 1/4 125 261 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Underwood Harriet 0 F 125 P
Choctaw Underwood Thomas 0 M 125 P
Choctaw Underwood Thomas 16 M 1/4 125 262 TUSSY BB
bb=by blood
harriett is married to john davis.
john has a son alex davis.
there was a thomas underwood who used to be married to harriett.

is this th grays?
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Gardner George 0 M 124 P
Choctaw Gray Elizabeth 0 F 124 P
Choctaw Gray Gardner Phoebe 0 F 124 P
Choctaw Gray William 0 M 124 P
Choctaw Gray Albert 1 M 1/4 124 260 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray Rosa 1 F 1/4 124 259 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray Gideon 5 M 1/4 124 258 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray William 7 M 1/4 124 257 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray Nora 9 F 1/4 124 256 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray James 13 M 1/4 124 255 TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray Viney 29 F 1/2 124 NR TUSSY BB
Choctaw Gray George 40 M IW 124 IW1063 TUSSY BB
iw=intermarried white, a general nontribal description.

some marriages here:

so you might find some marriages here:

as far as marriage records for natives, there might not be a record if a native marriage was performed.

have you searched the oklahoma pioneer papers for any relatives that were alive in the 1930’s? or the oklahoma chronicles?

do you have social security applications for lavinia gray and thomas underwood? obituaries? cemetery records? death certificates?

do you have any census records for any of these people?

is this someone who is a relative?

1910 United States Federal Census about Thomas Underwood
Name: Thomas Underwood
Age in 1910: 52
Estimated Birth Year: 1858
Birthplace: Oklahoma
Relation to Head of House: Head
[Self (Head)]
Father’s Birth Place: United States of America
[United States]
Mother’s Birth Place: United States of America
[United States]
Spouse’s Name: Phebie Underwood
Home in 1910: Lowrance, Murray, Oklahoma
Marital Status: Married
Race: Indian (Native American)
Gender: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Thomas Underwood 52
Phebie Underwood 54
Dino Louis 46
Thompson Louis 17
Elsie Louis 12
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Lowrance, Murray, Oklahoma; Roll: T624_1263; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0203; Image: 36; FHL Number: 1375276.

but where are lavinia gray and george gray?

this message was left on an ancestry messageboard:
I have lots of info on the Gardner family – will share all we have. e-mail us at yomo52@yahoo or tralyn@windstream.We are from Harriet Elizabeth (Gardner) Davis Underwood wife of # 1 John Davis and # 2 Thomas Jefferson Underwood. Harriet is daughter of George E. Gardner and Phoebe. George is son of Isaac and Rebecca (Johnson) Gardner. Isaac is son of William and Mary (Bryant) Gardner.

you might look at all replies to this message:

i’m sorry that you will find that native records do lack. but of course, many females are also lacking in federal and state 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 agency 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, names of family members. the census records up to 1930 are available, although the 1890 census was largely destroyed. the 1940 census will be public information in 2012.

social security application for a deceased person:

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.

history of the dawes roll
wikipedia entries are sometimes opinionated; entered by volunteers.

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.
you can order the dawes packet from the oklahoma historical society website.

if you find a relative listed on the dawes roll, fold3 may have filmed the record and could be available online.
other resources are NARA
oklahoma newspaper and archives search. some of these resources may be available through interlibrary loan/public library.

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
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 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
other historical societies:
some oklahoma genealogical societies:

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.

this page can help you set up a targeted google search.

these searches will combine several possible search terms and give you the best matches.

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