Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Lela Bell Hineshaw

Carol King Carol King

posted on November 15, 2011

I have always been told that my Great Grandmother was Choctaw and that she and her sister spoke in their native tongue as well as English. On I can only find her name as listed on my Paternal Grandfather’s birth certificate as Lela Bell Hineshaw. The only other info I can find is census from 1930 that puts her born around 1904 and that she was living in Texas and married Ervin “Willie” McDonald with children. They list her as white, but my Grandmother swears that her mother-in-law was Choctaw. I cannot find a birth certificate for Lela Bell and my search has gone completely cold. My Grandmother says she was also known as Lillie B and might have had a Choctaw name but we do not know. I have checked the Dawes roles and cannot find anyone with Hineshaw as a name or Lela Bell. Anyone out there know anything about her family? If so, I would to know my native roots.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on November 15, 2011

there were many mississippi choctaw who left the reservation unofficially and migrated to texas. the trail of tears didn’t go through texas in the late 1830’s, but several unofficial migrations did. there are some state- and federal-recognized tribes in texas and they might have more information. this is the website of the choctaw tribe in oklahoma and the applicants to the five major tribes in oklahoma were on the dawes roll 1896-1906. there are 63 tribes in oklahoma.

lela bell hineshaw/hinshaw b. ~1904 location unknown, death information not given. aka/lela bell or lillie b
m. ervin willie mcdonald

her family may have accepted land given in lieu of tribal enrollment in AL/MS and this may be why your family was not enrolled in a tribe.

maybe this is the record you were looking at:
Name: Lela B Mcdonald
Home in 1930: Precinct 3, Stonewall, Texas
View Map
Age: 26
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1904
Relation to Head of House: Wife
Spouse’s Name: Jason J Mcdonald
Race: White


Military Service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents’ birthplace:

View image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Jason J Mcdonald 30
Lela B Mcdonald 26
J Cecil Mcdonald 8
Weldon E Mcdonald 6
Ervin W Mcdonald 4 6/12
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Precinct 3, Stonewall, Texas; Roll: 2389; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 5; Image: 1092.0.
this census says she was b. TX and parents b. united states.

i am not finding a lillie/lela hineshaw in texas before this time. i would suggest that you look for her death records and see if there was a birthdate, location and then you can look for her parents.

if she was alive 1/1/1937, she would have filed a social security application and shown a birth record. often this is a delayed birth certificate. you have to ask for a birth certificate AND a delayed birth certificate. there will be parents’ names on the social security application, as well as birthdate and birthplace.

i usually look for a death record first, such as a cemetery record at or the death certificate might have some clues. you might be able to find an obituary through your local public library/interlibrary loan program. if she passed away some time ago, you might contact the state historical society or the state archives, to see if they have newspapers that might have the obituary.
do you have a marriage license? this often fixes the family to a particular location and date. after that, i might have enough information to look for a birth record.

i looked through all the hinshaw records in the 1910 census and cannot find her. there were no 1910 hineshaw listings.

i couldn’t find her in the 1920 records either.

maybe she wasn’t born in TX and recently moved to TX.

there was a lela hinshaw in iowa born about that time in the 1920 census. i gather that you don’t think this was her. parents: Irvin L, Iyora.
in the 1910 census, mother is esma and father is jerin. these could be transcription errors. they were living in iowa.

maybe this one:
Name: Lelah A Hinshaw
Age in 1910: 1 7/12
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1909
Birthplace: Alabama
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Father’s Name: William A Hinshaw
Father’s Birth Place: Alabama
Mother’s Name: Sallie R Hinshaw
Mother’s Birth Place: Tennessee
Home in 1910: Harmony, Jackson, Alabama
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Female
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
William A Hinshaw 41
Sallie R Hinshaw 36
Lucy E Hinshaw 6
Lon B Hinshaw 4
Lelah A Hinshaw 1 7/12
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Harmony, Jackson, Alabama; Roll: T624_16; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0037; Image: 1162; FHL Number: 1374029.

i am just haphazardly browsing around. you need more information to find someone in 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