08 March 2015

Native American Death Records

It is interesting that I have been told for the past 39 years of doing genealogy that "You just can't find any vital records for Native Americans (Indians) before statehood in Oklahoma". I have talked with officials at the Iowa Tribe (when working on my Payne County OK Cemetery Index) and the Pawnee Tribe (when working on my Pawnee County OK Cemetery Index) and in both cases was told that no vital records were kept for their tribes.

Well...for the past 2 years or so I have spent one to 2 hours just about every Saturday at the Oklahoma History Center reading page by page through microfilmed records of the various Indian Agencies. And you wouldn't believe the types and wealth of vital records! Since I'm interested in deaths, here are some of the types of records microfilmed:

Kiowa Agency correspondence regarding cemeteries
Pawnee Agency Death Record books
Kiowa Agency Report of Death cards
all Agencies: Correspondence on Deaths
all Agencies: Census records (usually list death date if died during census year).
     - these were taken somewhat yearly!
Cheyenne Register of Families
Sac & Fox Record of Births and Deaths
Sac & Fox Estates
Pawnee Guardianships
Ponca Births and Deaths
Pawnee Estates
Pawnee Record of Deaths of Allotees
Otoe Estates
Kaw Agency Deaths
Pawnee Agency: Indian Service Book for Deaths and Births

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I still have hundreds of rolls to go through, but suffice it to say that for pre1920 Indian (Native American) deaths in Oklahoma, the record appears to be much more complete that for pre1920 "white" pioneers and settlers!

No comments:

Post a Comment