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!

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