27 August 2013

Progress Update!!

     I thought I would update the progress of the Pre-1920 Oklahoma Death Index:

  • Just finished extracting death information from Canadian County Probate Packets.
  • Nearing the end of the Cherokee Dawes' Enrollment Cards. I have about 2500 more cards to go through, so should be finished by the end of September. So far I have 23,600 death references from just the Cherokee cards.
  • When I finish the Cherokee cards, I will go back to the Chickasaw cards. I had stopped working on them when over 50 pages in a row were unreadable (too faint to read). They will probably take til the end of the year to finish.
  • I finished the following "minor" Indian Census Rolls: Iowa, Kaw, Kickapoo, Miami, Citizen Pottawatomie, Absentee Shawnee, Sac & Fox, and just Saturday, the Cheyenne/Arapaho. I have yet to import these into the database.
  • Finished volume 2 of "Oklahoma South of the Canadian". This set was published in 1925. I made a decent start into volume 3. It is surprising how many deaths are recorded in the biographical histories!
     The database is currently just short of 450,000 entries. For a few people, I now have references to a death notice, obit, funeral home record, cemetery/tombstone record, probate record, pension record, etc. This is the whole purpose: Bring together all available references to deaths in early Oklahoma in order to help people researching their family history.

     More info to come...

11 August 2013

Indian Census Records: Unusual Names

     For the past few months, on my weekly Saturday forays to the Oklahoma History Center's Research Library, I have been reading page by page through the microfilmed Indian census records. It is interesting seeing the multi-syllable Indian names, followed by the English name translations. Censuses with both names serve as a type of Rosetta Stone for names of the tribal members for the years on either side of 1900 in what is now Oklahoma.

     One household I find quite amusing and ironic. A 78 year old male named Sweet Water was married to a 30 year old female named Old Woman.

     Another entry from the late 1880s or early 1890s had only the Indian names for each individual. However, I came across twin 18 year old boys who had been orphaned, one of whom died during the year following the census being taken. Their names were Julius Caesar and Roberson Crusoe. I assume that they were named by the superintendent of an orphan's asylum, but that's just conjecture.

     You never know what names you'll come across. But you should enjoy the irony in many of the names. You should also appreciate the ones that make you chuckle and share the reasons for your chuckles with others!

02 August 2013

"New Computer", regained access!!

     Several months ago (in April) my laptop ceased to be compatible with the Blogspot platform, with Firefox and Expolorer, and most other applications. With my daughter going over seas to study for the next year, she received a new computer and I received her old computer. Now that I have become semi-proficient with Windows 7 (after using a Mac since 1982) I have regained access to Blogspot.

     So...I should be posting at least once each week. My "plans" are to post each Wednesday and Saturday, so twice each week. I have come across some interesting records, as well as some funny and ironic records. I'll post about those as well as availability and location of various sources that contain/include deaths of Oklahomans who died before the year 1920.

     I have been asked lately why I don't record obits in Oklahoma papers for people who died out of state. I only include them if the formerly lived in Oklahoma or if they ended being buried in Oklahoma. Since my index as an Oklahoma Death Index, I choose not to enter deaths of those who died out of state and whose only connection to Oklahoma was having relatives in Oklahoma.

     That may seem inappropriate or arbitrary to some, but I had to choose some parameters for my database. They are as arbitrary as choosing 31 Dec 1919 as my cut-off date. But, as my dad who was a geologist would say when showing his maps during the decision making process in drilling wells, "That's my story and I'm sticking by it!"

NEW UPDATE: 446,493 Entries

     Since my last post, I have been extracting information from many different sources. I am about a month away from finishing the Cherokee Dawes' Roll Enrollment Cards, half way through Canadian County probate packets, working through "minor" tribes (non-5 Civilized) census records, and various online and in library books/manuscripts.

     The grand total of records in my database is now 446,493 entries! I should hit the 450,000 entries mark by the end of August. Extracting will fall off in the Fall during football season as I work OSU football games and will lose my wonderful Saturday research time at the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Library and Indian Archives.

     More to come....