26 July 2011

Choctaw County OK Obituaries

If you haven't visited the Choctaw County GenWeb site then you are missing out on some great collections. They have a fantastic listing of cemeteries, many with tombstone inscriptions and photos. They also have an obituary collection with separate links to each person that has an obit or death notice. It took me three weeks going through the links and identifying those who died pre-1920 and adding them to my database.

Tonight I added 954 entries to my Pre-1920 Oklahoma Death Index. The majority of these entries are from the obituaries at the Choctaw County GenWeb. Some of the entries (about 25) are extracts from Texas Death Certificates available at . Most of the 25 died in Texas but were returned to Oklahoma for burial. Some were former Oklahoma residents who died and wre buried in Texas.

Kudos to Ron Henson for his Choctaw County GenWeb site and for compiling the obituary list, and JoLynn Self for her work on Choctaw County cemeteries.

22 July 2011

The Tulsa Star

The Tulsa Star was a newspaper in Tulsa from 1913 to at least 1922. Copies have been scanned and scanned images are available at the National Archives "Chronicling Amearica" site.

For the past week I have been extracting notices of death from this newspaper. The unique aspect is that the paper was a Black/Negro/Colored newspaper, so the vast majority of local news articles were about Blacks in Tulsa. At least that is what one would think.

This paper served ALL of northeast Oklahoma and had regular "correspondent" columsn with local news from McAlester, Bartlesville, Okmulgee, Claremore, Boley, Sapulpa, Coweta, and many other towns in Oklahoma.

Most of the death notices simply contain the person's name, death date, perhaps a relationship, date and location of the funeral, and the name of the undertaker/funeral home. BUT...a great source for Tulsans not likely recorded elsewhere.

In all, I was able to find 288 different death notices from 1913 through the end of 1919. Only a few are for the prominent in the community. Many are for infants and those murdered. Many others are from correspondent columns from across northeast Oklahoma or for the Greenwood neighborhood and Gurley Addition in Tulsa.

The search "engine" on Chronicling America leaves much to be desired. In one case I was searching for all occurrences of the word "funeral". It brought up a page with the word funeral highlighted within a death notice. But it failed to recognize the word "funeral" in the headline for another death entry on the same page. So I'm sure I missed many death notices, but that will be the case for all papers I search on-line.

Also added to the index this week are pre1920 burials in Riverside Cemetery at Mangum OK, Fairview Cemetery at Tuttle, and more entries from Oklahoma's Confederate Pension Index cards.

18 July 2011

Darlington, Indian Territory newspaper

With Oklahoma Territory being opened to settlement in Apr 1889 I am always surprised to see records predating that date. However, all of Oklahoma was Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma Territory being established. And the US government had military posts and forts scattered throughout the Territory. One Indian agency was the Cheyene/Arapahoe Agency at Darlington IT.

This Agency published a newspaper called The Cheyenne Transporter. Copies have been scanned and are available for research at the Library of Congress' site "Chronicling America".

I searched separately for 12 key words/phrases related to deaths (death, died, murdered, suicide, etc.). In issued from 1880 through 1886 I was able to find 119 recordings of deaths in the bounds of current Oklahoma. These have now been added to the Pre1920 Oklahoma Death Index. The one thing that bothers me about extracting these records is that it takes so long. To get these 119 records, I spent approximately 20 hours of research time over a 10 day period.

One must realize that I skipped over about the same number of obits/death notices for people who died outside of Oklahoma and who had never lived in Oklahoma. Many were residents of southern Kansas and western Missouri, relatives of residents of Darlington IT.

Currently, I'm working on the Tulsa Star, a Black/Colored/Negro/Afro-American newspaper. Scanned issues are available at Chronicling America from 1913-1922.

08 July 2011

Chronicling America

The National Archives has available on-line digitized images of may newspapers from across the country. In cooperation with the Oklahoma Historical Society, several Oklahoma newspapers were included in the project. I have searched some of these papers for pre-1920 deaths. Papers searched so far are from Anadarko, Beaver and Durant. Today I added 325 deaths recorded in The Farmers' Champion of Elgin, Comanche Co. OK.

These newspaper images will be invaluable to researchers. So much history AND genealogy is recorded in their pages. Currently I am extracting deaths from the Cheyenne Transporter of Darlington IT. This paper was published at the Cheyenne/Arapahoe Agency at Darlington, north of Fort Reno in what is now Canadian County. The time period of 25 Aug 1880 to 12 Aug 1886 is covered. I have found 50 "Oklahoma" deaths in the first two years of the paper.

Of course I have to do several searches. Key words I search by include died, death, burial, cemetery, obituary, along with several others. This is a very slow process, what with multiple searches, checking for duplicates, and slow loading pages. So my progress will slow down on additions to the database.

I am currently working on these sources:

• The Cheyenne Transporter of Darlington IT 1882-1886
• Choctaw County Obituaries from the Choctaw County OK Genweb
• Cemetery Records of Okmulgee County OK ©1974 v1&2
The Beaver Herald of Beaver OK 1895-1919
• Sexton's records of Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City OK