Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Totally Bummed


posted on August 10, 2010 and updated on August 10, 2010

I’ve identified my family’s tribal enrollment cards, but the county courthouse’s all burned down in the 1800’s in the surrounding areas so all birth certificates seem to be gone.

I have a family tree. I can go to the cemetary and look at the graves of my family, but can’t produce any documents.

I could exume them (technically) and do dna proving they are all my father and grand, ggrand and gggrand parents, but I’ve got no documents.

I can look right at where there bodies lay, but I can’t document nearly anything. I have physical evidence but no paperwork.

It would take an absolute miracle, which I’m not expecting, to obtain a CDIB.

I’m totally bummed.

I know we’re Choctaw, but it’s not recognizable by anyone else outside of my family.

I plan on being buried with them one day. We’ll all be a bunch of Choctaw in one place.

But, the cemetary is not in danger of being destroyed.

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on August 10, 2010

apparently there is a complaint but no names to research. what courthouse burned down? there were a few courthouses that burned down but often records are located in different places.

this also sounds as if you don’t have the dawes application nor the dawes census card. you should ask the fort worth office of NARA or or the tribe or the oklahoma historical society . you will need the card # (family group) and enrollment # and it is helpful to have the other names of the family on that card#.

find your relatives here, click in the # in the card column and it will show you the family group. then look for them in the final roll.

there are several avenues:
anyone who was alive after 1/1/1937 has a social security application on file. in order to show proof of age, people submitted birth certificates or delayed birth certificates. i would imagine that your family did the same. in any case, the social security application will give you names and dates and spouse names and parents’ names.

if there is no birth certificate, often people applied for a delayed birth certificate.

childrens’ records often point to the parents, fix the family to a particular location and date.

many times state records exist even if county records don’t exist. and sometimes “proof” might exist in the dawes application.

census records exist. the only census that was destroyed was the 1890 census, and some records still exist in that era.

genealogists use names, dates, locations, children and spouses to match records. if you have a common surname, you need to give more information rather thann 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.

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.

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.

mississippi choctaw and choctaw tribe explained here:

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