Friday, November 7, 2014

African Americans on the Cherokee Intruder Census 1893

Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. 
Original data: Selected Tribal Records. The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas.

I often hear from researchers who have a tie to Oklahoma or Indian Territory. In some cases the researchers are descendants of Oklahoma Freedmen, from the Five Civilized Tribes, but in other cases some have ancestors who migrated west an settled there. And many have sought their ancestors but were not sure how or when they arrived in Indian Territory.

Perhaps among a new set of records now uploaded by Ancestry, through its collaboration with the Oklahoma Historical Society, one might find their ancestors on the Intruder Census of the Cherokee Nation. This census data collected in 1893 might provide some answers.

In the image above one can see that people were listed on a schedule and the race was noted on the form. In the Canadian District, as seen above they were listed in the order in which they were found and race was duly noted.

In other communities some settlements were larger and they were thus listed in entire communities, such as this community of "Colored" Intruders. It should be noted that those on the Colored Intruder list are not to be confused with the larger number of Cherokee Freedmen who were native to the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Freedmen were Cherokee Citizens whereas most Intruders were from the United States and thus not citizens.

Source: Same as Above

Note that there were a few cases where not all persons on the Intruder List were really intruders. Some would contest their being considered outsiders and would would later go through the Dawes enrollment process and be able to later gain enrollment legally as Cherokee Freedmen. In the case below one will see the name Zach Foreman. He appears on this list of Intruders. yet, he was later able to establish and prove his citizenship and was therefore admitted as a Cherokee Freedman.

Source: Same as Above.

As can be noted in the following image, Zach Foreman was later admitted as a Cherokee Citizen. As can be noted he resided in the now extinct Freedman community known as "Foreman".

Enrollment Card for Zack Foreman

(Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc. 2014. Original data: Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1186, 93 rolls); Cherokee Freedman Card #300. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C. )

These images of the Intruder Census Rolls from the Cherokee Nation will be a valuable asset to researchers looking for additional information on their families in Oklahoma. Many researchers whose families originated in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas might find their ancestors among those intruders and it is hoped that many will study these records in detail.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Color Images of Dawes Cards Now Available!

National Archives Publication M1186, Choctaw Freedmen, Card #777
Sam and Sallie Walton & Family, of Skullyvlle, I. T.

Several months ago, I had a chance to speak with a representative from Ancestry, who shared with me that some good news was going to come out in November for Oklahoma researchers. Well, November has arrived, the good news has now been made public. Ancestry has acquired the Dawes Enrollment Cards, and now has all of them fully scanned in color! Although there are other online sites that contain Dawes cards, this is a treat to see the original image in full color. I was also pleased to learn that all of the cards were scanned in color, including the Freedmen of the Five Tribes.

What makes this special is that with many of the documents originally scanned in black and white, such as that of my gr. grandparents, (see images above and below) the place on the card where some tape was applied, can now be seen. On the black and white scanned image, the tape comes through as a solid black mass, and one cannot see through the faded transparent tape to view the words. (See two images.)


And what also makes having the color images available is that small details now appear more clearly on the card, some of which were a bit hard to see without tweaking the image. It should also be pointed out that there are many cards that had annotations made in different colors. The roll number was actually stamped in blue ink, and now with the color images, that can be seen.

National Archives Publication M1186, Choctaw Freedmen Card #778

Several years ago, I noticed that the first card among Freedmen cards in almost every tribe were often in very poor condition. Some were perhaps in poor condition because of exposure to sun, or had been damaged by some kind of liquid. So I was anxious to see how the new color images appeared with color scanning, so decided to look at Card No. 1, of the Choctaw Freedmen, that of Simon Clark. I know that his card had seen a lot of deterioration, and now with the color image, all of the markings appear much clearer.

Choctaw Freedman Card No.1

National Archives Publication M1186 Choctaw Freedmen Card No. 1

Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1
Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1 is also quite damaged, and the color image provides more opportunity for better analysis. Note the difference between the two, and note how having the color images allows for very faint writing to now be seen.

National Archives Publication M1186, Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1
Color Image

Chickasaw Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Chickasaw Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

Creek Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

Seminole Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Choctaw Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

For Seminole Freedman Researchers, it should be noted that there is a slight error in the way that Seminole Freedmen Cards are scanned and labeled

The numbers on the Ancestry index for Seminole Freedmen says 600-699, 

However, when looking at the first seven images, they are actually the very end of the Seminole By Blood cards. With image #8 in that set of cards designated as Freedmen 600-699, the beginning of the Freedmen cards appears on what should be #609. In reality it is Freedman Card #1, that of Ceasar Bowlegs. 

So at first the early numbered cards for Seminole Freedmen might appear to be impossible to find. However, they are there, and are found in the subset erroneously labeled "Seminole Freedmen 600-609."

In all other cases the scanning is accurate, and it is still quite wonderful to see these records now in their original condition! Hopefully for some new data will be extracted previously unknown, or unseen. Having access to these color images, breathes new life into these valuable records!