Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Searching for Information: Mary (Elizabeth) Polk, m.Steele

Dan Briggs Dan Briggs

posted on May 16, 2012

I am trying to find if a family story is true regarding my Indian heritage. The story is that we are descended from either the Choctaw or Chickasaw tribes. I didn’t pay much attention when I was younger, but now I am and the last living member of my family.

Here’s what I have found so far:
my great grandfather is Franklin Leroy Briggs b.1858, d. 1937 TX) was married to Tommie “F” Lulu Steele (b.1867 – 1944). Her father (apparently) was a Thomas Steele and her mother an Elizabeth (Mary) Polk.

I know that both sides of the family were in the North Texas, Southern Oklahoma area during this time.

The Dawes Roll Final shows both a Thomas Steele as Chickasaw by Blood and Mary Polk as Choctaw Full Blood. I am just not certain these are same people as the ones in my line. Any help would be great! I am stuck!

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 16, 2012

no children in your post. these are common names.

heritage and tribal enrollment are two different topics. the trail of tears in the late 1830’s did not go through texas but there were unofficial migrations from the southeast reservations.

this is one family group:
Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Chickasaw Brooks Jane 0 F 998 P
Chickasaw Brooks John 0 M 998 P
Chickasaw Juzan Jackson 0 M 998 P
Chickasaw Juzan Mississippi 0 F 998 P
Chickasaw Juzan Eliza 45 F IW 998 330 BB
Chickasaw Juzan Thomas 51 M 1/4 998 3006 BB
Chickasaw Steele W G 0 M 998 P
Chickasaw Steele Overton 2 M 1/16 998 3010 BB
Chickasaw Steele Thomas 4 M 1/16 998 3009 BB
Chickasaw Steele Willie 6 F 1/16 998 3008 BB
Chickasaw Steele Amelia 24 F 1/8 998 3007 BB

bb=by blood
p=parent

this thomas steele was 4 years old when the family applied. that doesn’t seem to match your family.

Dawes Card Information

tribe last first middle age sex blood card roll misc type
Choctaw Cooper Hirman 0 M 4234 P
Choctaw Cooper Susan 0 F 4234 P
Choctaw Cooper Mattie 10 F FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw Hampton Elizabeth 0 F 4234 P
Choctaw Harkins Wallace 0 M 4234 P
Choctaw Harkins Levi 18 M FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw McClure Jack 0 M 4234 P
Choctaw McClure Lixie 0 F 4234 P
Choctaw Miashaya Forbis 0 M 4234 P
Choctaw Miashaya Susan 0 F 4234 P
Choctaw Miashaya Adeline 7 F FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw Miashaya Rinda 9 F FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw Steel John 0 M 4234 P
Choctaw Steel Nancy 0 F 4234 P
Choctaw Steel Andrew 10 M FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw Steel Thomas 39 M FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB
Choctaw Steel Lucy 57 F FULL 4234 NR ATOKA BB

this is another family. i don’t know if this family is your relative.

but i don’t see a polk surname here.

where did your family live 1896-1906?

there is no franklin briggs on the dawes roll.

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.

obituaries through the oklahoma choctaw tribe is through the history link for the tribe:
http://www.choctawnation.com/history/

social security application for a deceased person:
http://www.ssa.gov/foia/html/foia_guide.htm
form SS-5.

your public library probably has a subscription to heritage quest and ancestry.com. fold3.com is another useful database for native records and military records, but they are a subscription. however, many times their month’s subscription price is less than the price of a dawes packet, however check with accessgenealogy’s database to see if your relative’s dawes packet is exists or is available at fold3.
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/dawes.php?s_last=green&s_first=mart&s_middle=&s_tribe=
partial names are allowed.

bear in mind that many records are not online. always collect documents, as just the reference to a relative in an index informs you that a document is available.

death records:
death certificate: state vital records or if very old, state archives. ask for the person’s name at the time of death. you can look at death indices, such as the social security death index 1964-present for a date of death on rootsweb.com or ancestry.com.
obituary: see your local public library, interlibrary loan program. ask for the person’s name at the time of death. approximate date of death is helpful. if old, state historical society or state archives might have historical newspapers.
cemetery record: try findagrave.com or interment.net. ask for the person’s name at the time of death. if you find a relative, you can click on the county or cemetery to see if others with the same surname are buried there.

marriage records:
state vital records office, county clerk or if old, state archives or state historical society.

birth records:
state vital records office, or if old, state archives or state historical society. if the birth was before 1940, ask for a birth certificate or a delayed birth certificate. many people had to get delayed birth certificates when social security came into effect because they had to show proof of age. this will be under the name used at the time of birth.

census records:
you will want to search for census records 1940 on down to the birth of your relative. the federal census was taken every 10 years, however the 1890 census was largely destroyed by fire. there are also some state census records and native census records and native rolls. ancestry.com and heritage quest are two databases that include many census records. many native census records kept by NARA (http://www.archives.gov) are transcribed at accessgenealogy.

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
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Act
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawes_Commission
wikipedia entries are sometimes opinionated; entered by volunteers.

helpful information about tribal enrollment
http://www.felihkatubbe.com/ChoctawNation/TribalMembership.html

2 ways to search:
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalroll.php
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.

http://www.okhistory.org/research/dawes/index.php
this will give you card# (family group) and enrollment #. they have some native marriage records too. other oklahoma records listed at left.
if your relative was enrolled by court action, their name might not be on this list.
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.
http://www.fold3.com/documents/46580455/dawes-packets/
other resources are NARA http://www.archives.gov

the five civilized tribes book put out by the department of the interior has testimony.
http://books.google.com/books/about/Five_civilized_tribes_in_Oklahoma.html?id=chATAAAAYAAJ
and you can read it online

and these are the microfilms at fort worth TX archives.
http://www.archives.gov/southwest/finding-aids/native-american-microfilm.html

there may be additional records about your relative:
contact NARA http://www.archives.gov for these and other records listed on this webpage.

75.23 RECORDS OF THE COMMISSIONER TO THE FIVE CIVILIZED TRIBES 1852-1919
75.23.1 Records of the Dawes Commission
75.23.2 Records of the U.S. Indian Inspector for Indian Territory
75.23.3 General records of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes
http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/075.html
(Record Group 75)
1793-1989

http://okhistory.cuadra.com/star/public.html
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.
http://choctawnation.com/services/departments/community-services/
some obituaries:
http://www.choctawnation.com/history/obituaries/

NARA http://www.archives.gov/ 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 nara.gov.

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choctaw_Trail_of_Tears
http://www.choctaw.org/

jena choctaw tribe in louisiana:
http://www.jenachoctaw.org/

MOWA tribe
http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/face/Article.jsp?id=h-1368
http://www.uab.edu/uabmagazine/2009/july/losttribe
http://www.native-american-online.org/MOWA-Choctaw.htm
MOWA Band Of Choctaws Wilford Taylor 1080 Red Fox Road Mount Vernon, AL 36560 (251) 829-5500. E-Mail: chieftaylor@mowachoctaw.com

other choctaw tribes:
http://www.aaanativearts.com/choctaw-indians/index.html

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
http://www.chickasaw.net/index.htm

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

http://www.okhistory.org/
oklahoma historical society
marriage records
http://www.okhistory.org/research/library/marriage.html
http://www.okgenweb.org/~okgarvin/kinard/chocmarriageindex.htm

other historical societies:
http://www.daddezio.com/society/hill/SH-OK-NDX.html
some oklahoma genealogical societies:
http://www.censusfinder.com/oklahoma-genealogy-society.htm
http://www.geneasearch.com/societies/socokla.htm

texas tribes
http://www.native-languages.org/texas.htm
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/texas/index.htm
http://www.texasindians.com/
http://www.texasindians.com/
http://www.lsjunction.com/places/indians.htm

oklahoma tribes:
http://500nations.com/Oklahoma_Tribes.asp
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/oklahoma/index.htm
http://www.cowboy.net/native/tribes.html

some links for the choctaw.
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/tribes/choctaw/index.htm
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.
http://www.okgenweb.org/~okgarvin/kinard/1860index.htm
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
and you can read this book online. your relatives’ testimony might be in the book.
http://www.archive.org/details/fivecivilizedtr00statgoog
see the menu at left. you can download it.

you should look at the enrollment application, census card and testimony. this post will tell you how to do that. these documents will tell you more about your heritage, but it won’t help you if your goal is to be enrolled in the choctaw tribe of oklahoma. some people were classed as mississippi choctaw if the family had a native heritage but didn’t qualify for enrollment in the tribe.

there are 63 tribes in oklahoma but only the five major tribes are on the dawes roll. look at your family’s location around 1900-1930 time period (census will help you there) and see if there was a tribe located nearby. it is possible that your relatives were affiliated with another tribe.

if they were mississippi choctaw, there is probably a land grant in MS/AL to a head of household called choctaw scrip land. this was given in lieu of tribal enrollment 1830-1880 time period. ancestry.com has a database of the MS and AL choctaw scrip land records, called mississippi or alabama land records. there are other land records in those databases too,, so you have to look at the authority/source cited. NARA http://www.archives.gov has those land record packages.

the mississippi choctaw was not removed from oklahoma. but they were largely rejected for tribal enrollment.

this website might help you in your search. some people are trying to transcribe applications.
http://www.us-census.org/native/choctaw_dawes.html
i do not know what they are trying to transcribe, but this is the volunteer page
http://www.us-census.org/states/graphics/status.htm

and this might be of interest to you:
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/choctaw/rights-of-choctaws.htm
Rights of Mississippi Choctaws in the Choctaw Nation

http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/finalrolls/
Index to the Final Rolls of the Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory
the dawes roll is composed of applications to the five major tribes in oklahoma.

good advice about native research:
http://jenniferhsrn2.homestead.com/research2.html

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.
http://www.searchforancestors.com/google/searcher.html

penny postcards. this is a website that features pictures that were on postcards. click on the state to see the postcards that they have.
http://www.usgwarchives.org/special/ppcs/ppcs.html
if you have a penny postcard, you can click on submissions to add your penny postcard to the collection.

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, shamlet76@gmail.com 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

Dan Briggs Dan Briggs

posted on May 17, 2012 and updated on May 17, 2012

Here is the information I have on Mary (Elizabeth) Polk from the Final Dawes Roll:
Polk Mary 33 Female Full CC# 3847 Page 65 Enr# 10852 Choctaws – by Blood

I just have no idea if this is the correct person.

According to my grandmother, our family lived in both southern Oklahoma and northern Texas during this time. The family farm was just east of Nocona, Tx and had the Red River as it’s northern boundary.

Franklin Briggs and Tommie Polk had a son, Carey Lee Briggs (b.1889, d. 1975)(my grandfather) who married a Nettie Stella Hamner (b.1891, d. 1975)(my grandmother).

My mother told me a similar story only in her version it was Cherokee or Choctaw. Her side of the family is mystery to me, though I know that they settled in north Texas sometime in the 1890’s.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter. I am working on collecting more information, the biggest problem I have is knowing what to do with it!

Thank you again!
Dan

suzanne hamlet shatto suzanne hamlet shatto

posted on May 17, 2012

explain this to me. why would elizabeth polk be on the dawes roll under her maiden name? why wouldn’t she be on the dawes roll under her married name?

if she was on the dawes roll, she would be on the dawes roll as a parent, probably.

carey lee briggs would be on the dawes roll, if he applied to a tribe.

only there is NO carey briggs on the dawes roll. i was generous with the name, since you can use partial names. i used car for the first name, brig for the surname.

texas indicates that you should look at texas tribes. that maybe they were mississippi choctaw, if they were choctaw.

as for what to do with it: http://is.byu.edu/site/courses/free.cfm

some people make a heritage book, present it to family members so that they have it.

about tribal heritage. if you don’t find a tribe, then they are probably called mississippi choctaw. in that case, you have to look at the heads of households and see if there was a choctaw scrip land grant 1830-1880 for them. an easy way to check is two land databases on ancestry.com called mississippi land records and alabama land records. many of the records in each of these databases are tribal scrip land grants. some families did not move to indian territory/oklahoma on the trail of tears. they opted out of this by a clause in the treaty of rabbit creek. they accepted land in lieu of tribal termination. so this would show heritage but not tribal affiliation.

see the links on the mississippi choctaw in my original post for the information you can find.

in your post, you don’t have census references.

1900 United States Federal Census about Carey Briggs
Name: Carey Briggs
Age: 10
Birth Date: Jul 1889
Birthplace: Texas
Home in 1900: Bowie, Montague, Texas
[Montague]
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Name: Frank Briggs
Father’s Birthplace: Texas
Mother’s Name: Fannie Briggs
Mother’s Birthplace: Texas
Occupation: View on Image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Frank Briggs 46
Fannie Briggs 33
Carey Briggs 10
Colley Briggs 8
Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Bowie, Montague, Texas; Roll: 1660; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 54; FHL microfilm: 1241660.

there are other people researching this family. try rootsweb.com worldconnect records and ancestry.com records and contact them – exchange information and resources.

Texas Death Index, 1903-2000 about Carey Briggs
Name: Carey Briggs
Death Date: 18 Dec 1975
Death County: Lubbock
Gender: Male
For information on how to order a copy of a death certificate, visit the Texas Department of State Health Services website (www.tdh.state.tx.us) or write to:

Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics
P. O. Box 12040
Austin, TX 78711-2040
(512) 458-7111

Social Security Death Index about Carey Briggs
Name: Carey Briggs
SSN: 467-32-0807
Last Residence: 79329 Idalou, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America
Born: 2 Jul 1889
Died: Dec 1975
State (Year) SSN issued: Texas (Before 1951)

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 about Carey Lee Briggs
Name: Carey Lee Briggs
County: Cottle
State: Texas
Birthplace: Texas;United States of America
Birth Date: 2 Jul 1889
Race: White
FHL Roll Number: 1952597
DraftBoard: 0

1910 United States Federal Census about Rary L Briggs
Name: Rary L Briggs
[Kary L Briggs]
Age in 1910: 20
Birth Year: 1890
Birthplace: Texas
Home in 1910: Justice Precinct 4, Montague, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Name: Frank L Briggs
Father’s Birthplace: Texas
Mother’s Name: Tommie P Briggs
Mother’s Birthplace: Texas
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Frank L Briggs 57
51
Tommie P Briggs 43
Rary L Briggs 20
Wm Ollie Briggs 18
Emma Briggs 54
Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Montague, Texas; Roll: T624_1579; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0169; Image: 228; FHL microfilm: 1375592.

1920 United States Federal Census about Carey L Briggs
Name: Carey L Briggs
Age: 30
Birth Year: abt 1890
Birthplace: Texas
Home in 1920: Paducah, Cottle, Texas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Son
Marital Status: Single
Father’s Name: Frank L Briggs
Father’s Birthplace: Texas
Mother’s Name: Tommie Briggs
Mother’s Birthplace: Texas
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Frank L Briggs 64
Tommie Briggs 53
Carey L Briggs 30
Collie B Briggs 28
Emma Braggs 65
Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Paducah, Cottle, Texas; Roll: T625_1788; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 36; Image: 477.

you can correct the names on ancestry.com so that others can find your family.

1930 United States Federal Census about Casey L Briggs
Name: Casey L Briggs
Gender: Male
Birth Year: abt 1890
Birthplace: Texas
Race: White
Home in 1930: Matador, Motley, Texas
View Map
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Spouse’s Name: Nellie S Briggs
Father’s Birthplace: Texas
Mother’s Birthplace: Texas
Occupation:

Education:

Military Service:

Rent/home value:

Age at first marriage:

Parents’ birthplace:

View image
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Casey L Briggs 40
Nellie S Briggs 39
Lula L Briggs 16
Frank L Briggs 14
Mary J Briggs 12
Verna C Briggs 9
Willie L Briggs 7
Virginia M Briggs 4
[4 3/12]
Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Matador, Motley, Texas; Roll: 2378; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1; Image: 566.0; FHL microfilm: 2342112.

the 1940 census will be indexed in the next few months. the census has been released and you can find people if you know where to look, but the names are not yet indexed.

grave information on findagrave.com.

carey lee briggs

Birth: Jul. 2, 1888
Death: Dec. 18, 1975

Burial:
Resthaven Memorial Park
Lubbock
Lubbock County
Texas, USA

nettie s. briggs
Birth: Aug. 13, 1890
Death: Dec. 1, 1975

Burial:
Resthaven Memorial Park
Lubbock
Lubbock County
Texas, USA

you start with what you know, gather documents, then you can go backward in time.
do one generation at a time so you don’t get mixed up. keep a log of what you looked for, what you found.

gl.