many people leave messages on messageboards naming an ancestor, their spouse, their children, their dates of birth and dates of death, hoping to find information. approximate information is fine. however just leaving a surname and a state is usually not enough information.
natives usually disclosed their heritage (and blood quantum) when they enrolled with a tribe. if they didn’t enroll, though, it might be difficult to find information. natives didn’t keep records because choctaw wasn’t a written language until the mid-1800’s and this is true of all native languages. the war department kept records until the 1880’s or so.
if you know your ancestors’ names, the dawes webpage might be a good place to start.
if you do not know many ancestors, you start with what you know, gather your documentation and then you can go backward in time. childrens’ documentation points to the parents and fixes the family to a location and date. so get your birth certificate, your parents’ birth certificates and marriage license and then you can start looking for your grandparents. if you get stuck, anyone who passed away after 1/1/1937 has a social security application on file and they probably filed a delayed birth certificate to show proof of age.
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.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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