Research Prior to
To research prior to statehood, it is important to know the history that created the state and subsequently the counties. Marshall County did not exist until 1907 (therefore the county courthouse does not have records prior to 1907), when the state of Oklahoma was created out of Indian and Oklahoma Territory. To over simplify: research tribal records because federal government did not exist in Oklahoma. Which in my opinion maybe why some whites settled here and didn't want to be found which is why they are missing on census records.
1812 - Present day Oklahoma was a part of Missouri Territory.
1819 - Most of present day Oklahoma was a part of Arkansas Territory. Arkansas became a state in 1836.
1830 - Most of present day Oklahoma which was a part of Arkansas Territory was designated as Indian Territory. Indian Territory being described as all lands west of the Mississippi River.
1837- Chickasaw and Choctaw Nation created. Area known as the Indian Nations were then subdivided into counties under tribal government NOT federal government.Did the town exist in 1895, did it have a post office, railroad etc.
1854 - Indian Territory boundaries where changed to only the area which is now Oklahoma.
1866 - Indian Territory boundaries where changed again to create unassigned lands for white settlement in central Oklahoma.
1889 - Unassigned lands were purchased by the government and opened for white settlement.
May 2, 1890 to Nov 16, 1907 - Oklahoma was known as a territory for 17 years Chickasaw Nation 1895 Map very detailed map!
It is not an easy take prior to 1900. Only a few thousand non-Indians lived in the area before 1889.
Try Census/Rolls pertaining to the Chickasaw Nation- 1818 Chickasaw Census Roll (Partial), 1837, 1839 & 1847 Chickasaw Muster/Census Rolls, 1839 Chickasaw "Upshaw" Roll, 1855 Chickasaw District Roll of 1856, 1857-1860 Chickasaw Rolls: Annuity Rolls, 1860 US Federal Census Arkansas (lists those west of Arkansas -not Indians), 1878 Chickasaw Annuity Roll, 1890 census of Chickasaw Nation, 1890 Oklahoma & Indian Territory Census of Union Veterans and Widows, 1900 Chickasaw Nation Census of Chickasaw Census Cards, 1910 and 1920 Oklahoma Census - Most of these are not online! Chickasaw Historical Research Page - Contains many Chickasaw documents, letters and marriage records Also, don't over look school records when they can be found. There were many schools in the area prior to statehood. Genealogical Libraries (Marshall and Bryan Co.) have many of the records and some pictures.
Records that can be used to help locate families in the area instead of census records: tax rolls, land records, court records, voters' records, military records, church records, school records, legislative records, directories, etc.
Land records (private ownership) did not exist prior to 1889. Remember only a few thousand non-Indians lived in the area before 1889. Before 1889, each tribe had their own reservation (land assigned to tribes not individuals). Private ownership did not happen until 1889, when individuals could acquire land from the government through cash purchases or by homesteading. Claims were registered at land offices. (Keep in mind that most of the land runs and claims were for Oklahoma Territory not Indian Territory: Records of the land offices can be found at the National Archives and the Bureau of Land Management. Indian land allotment records - the DAWES roll (1896-1909) was used to determine eligibility for land. (see also the Bureau of Indian Affairs records) Remember also that the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census show whether the individual owned or rented their home or farm. After statehood land records (deeds and mortgages) can be found at the county courthouse, contact the county clerk.
See Oklahoma Land Runs
Chickasaw Historical Research Page - Contains some Chickasaw land sales
Probate records prior to statehood were kept by the United States district courts. From 1884 to 1889, check the Western District of Arkansas, they had jurisdiction over criminal and some civil matters in Indian Territory. In 1889 the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas assumed the jurisdiction. After 1890, check the county court records, because the Territory was divided into several court districts that serve as county courts. After statehood they are kept by the county courts. Probate records include wills, dockets, administrator's records, guardianships, inventories, appraisements and minutes. Indian probate records can be found at the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas. (see also the Bureau of Indian Affairs records) Chickasaw Historical Research Page Contains some guardianship records
Vital records prior to statehood are almost non existant. Births and Deaths took place in homes not hospitals. Even after statehood in 1907, births and deaths were not always reported many taking place in homes. The best sources for birth dates prior to the 1920's are family Bibles and census records. The best sources for death dates are family Bibles and funeral home records. Early marriages were often held in the homes of the brides with the justice of the peace or the presiding probate judge officiating. Therefore, searching for marriage records prior to statehood (1907) is not an easy task. Many individuals did not get married in the areas they lived in. However early Marriage Records do exist: one available resource prior to statehood is the Chickasaw Nation Marriage Records Books A and B- which are on microfilm at the courthouse in Ardmore, Oklahoma (Carter Co.) some marriages dating back to 1894. Another source: those which were recorded or mention in the surviving records of the old Chickasaw Nation, the majority of which were performed under tribal license") Marriage records after 1907, were kept at the county courthouse contact the county clerk. (See also the Bureau of Indian Affairs records at the National Archives in Fort Worth, Texas. Chickasaw Historical Research Page Contains many Chickasaw documents, letters and marriage records
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