Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Maternal and Paternal Great-Grandmothers Choctaw

Shae Shae

posted on November 5, 2011

Hi, I’m hoping that you might be able to assist me. My mother has known for a couple of years that her paternal grandmother was part of the Choctaw tribe, but she also just recently found out that her maternal grandmother was also. We’ve been trying to research the lineage and have been having a little bit if difficulty. We have more information as to her paternal grandmother, than we do maternal. Any information/assistance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Maternal Grandmother: Mary Gertrude Hunter (Gragg-married name) – born on or around May 22, 1905, in Boykin, Alabama – Wilcox County; died September 1971, in Dayton, Ohio – Montgomery County. We have very little information on her parents.

Paternal Grandmother: Tomie Dessie Smith (Harden-married name) – born on or around Februay 1883 in Lauderdale, Alabama; died March 29, 1971, in Alabama. She married Reverend John Harden (1882-1964) they had 11 childern: Sussie born 1910; Esters born 1912; Nettie born 1915; James born 1917; Ada bornd 1919; Major born 1920; Warren G. born 1922 (my grandfather); Bessie born 1924; Ellie born 1925; Markert born 1928 and John born 1930. Her mother was Margaret Smith (Butler – maiden name) born in Alabama in January 1857, married to Dunk Smith (born 1852 in North Carolina), January 18, 1880. Margaret and Dunk had 9 childern: Martha Ingram born 1876; Mary J. born 1882; Dessie born 1883; John D. born 1883; Edgar born 1887; Felix E. born 1888; Tomie D. (Dessie) born 1892 (my great grandmother); Major D. born 1895 and Blanche born 1897.

Any assistance you could provide would be much appreciated. As you can see we have some names and dates, but perhaps not enough to complete our search to determine if anyone in our family was included on the Rolls.

Thank you.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on November 5, 2011

this is the website of the choctaw tribe of oklahoma. if they weren’t living in OK they were probably not on the dawes roll. you should look at the tribes near where your relatives lived.

maybe the MOWA tribe, or one of the alabama tribes. location is the primary factor about tribal affiliation.

1900 United States Federal Census about Tomie D Smith
Name: Tomie D Smith
Home in 1900: Crossroads, Lauderdale, Alabama
[Cross Roads, Lauderdale, Alabama]
Age: 8
Birth Date: Feb 1892
Birthplace: Alabama
Race: Black
Gender: Female
Relationship to head-of-house: Daughter
Father’s Name: Dunk Smith
Father’s Birthplace: South Carolina
Mother’s Name: Margaret Smith
Mother’s Birthplace: Alabama
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Dunk Smith 52
Margaret Smith 43
Mary J Smith 17
John D Smith 16
Edgar Smith 13
Felix E Smith 12
Tomie D Smith 8
Major D Smith 5
Blanche Smith 2
Martha Ingram 23
Bessie Ingram 3
Thomas Ingram 2
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Crossroads, Lauderdale, Alabama; Roll: T623_24; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 49.

i am not sure about some of the names you give. some sound like nicknames.

Name: Estus Harden
[Estha Harden]
Home in 1920: Center Star, Lauderdale, Alabama
Age: 8
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1912
Birthplace: Alabama
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father’s Name: John Harden
Father’s Birth Place: Alabama
Mother’s Name: Dessie Harden
Mother’s Birth Place: Alabama
Marital Status: Single
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John Harden 37
Dessie Harden 37
Jonnie Harden 12
Susie S Harden 10
Estus Harden 8
Nettie M Harden 5
Jones R Harden 3
Ada Harden 1
Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Center Star, Lauderdale, Alabama; Roll: T625_27; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 59; Image: 259.

Name: Esters Hardin
Home in 1930: Center Star, Lauderdale, Alabama
View Map
Age: 18
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1912
Relation to Head of House: Son
Father’s Name: John Hardin
Mother’s Name: Dessie Hardin
Race: Negro


Military Service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents’ birthplace:

View image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
John Hardin 47
Dessie Hardin 37
Sussie Hardin 20
Esters Hardin 18
Nettie Hardin 15
James Hardin 13
Ada Hardin 11
Major Hardin 10
Warren G Hardin 8
Bessie Hardin 6
Ellie Hardin 4 5/12
Markert Hardin 1 11/12
John Hardin 1/12
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Center Star, Lauderdale, Alabama; Roll: 33; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 804.0.

Web: Marion County, Indiana Marriages since 1925 about Dessie Hardin
Name: Dessie Hardin
Spouse: John Massey
Marriage Date: 25 Oct 1947
Marriage Place: Marion, Indiana, USA
Marriage Record Number 112673
Marriage Date 10/25/1947
Page Number 630
Ref. Book Number 179

Name: Dessie Hardon
Age in 1910: 18
Estimated Birth Year: 1892
Birthplace: Alabama
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Father’s Birth Place: Georgia
Mother’s Birth Place: Alabama
Spouse’s Name: Johnie Hardon
Home in 1910: Crossroads, Lauderdale, Alabama
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mulatto
Gender: Female
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Johnie Hardon 27
Dessie Hardon 18
Johnie Hardon 2
Susie L Hardon 3/12
Lillie Hardon 16
Mauveree Hardon 10
Edquit Hardon 8
Georgia Hardon 47

Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Crossroads, Lauderdale, Alabama; Roll: T624_20; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0052; Image: 1353; FHL Number: 1374033.

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