Uncover Your Roots: OHS Research Center Genealogy Resources

I think people have different reasons but i do think learning about who our families were, informs our life today sometimes it sheds light on why certain things have happened in the way that they have in our families I also think it’s a very personal way to connect to history you know, I have to say looking at the records for Civil War ancestors brings that whole era of history alive, and then the homesteading the Westward migration, how people moved from Virginia and the Carolinas and then came out to this part of the country. I just think it helps us understand ourselves a little better and we just get curious, and particularly once we get to an age where we start having our own families, i think it’s sort of comes upon us and we have to know a little bit more about them. We have a pretty wide range of resources and both in print and electronically, and then microfilm, we have several databases that are available to the public for at no cost (we subscribe to them) Ancestry and Fold3 which has military some military records and it’s also a database that we use a lot for the Dawes and enrollment of the Five Civilized Tribes are also on Fold3. Our published materials are books on the shelf and we have materials from all over the United States and some states are better represented than others and some people forget that we have those published resources and but we have a lot of materials from states east of the Mississippi and pretty good holdings west of the Mississippi but Virginia in Tennessee and the Carolinas we have very good holdings for people whose ancestors came from those areas as well as the journals from genealogical societies in those areas and we can help customers best if they come with an idea of what they want to do and if they’re looking for family members if they’ll have written down just the basics names and places and dates, even estimates help us when we’re talking about births and deaths and of course if that’s what they’re looking for that’s fine too but what they do know about the person and helps us help the customers we have so much more than just the Dawes Rolls, we have missionaries the missionaries came early to Indian Territory with and the tribes when they were removed and we have lots of letters correspondence collections from those and religious organizations that sent those missionaries and we have we have tribal papers–they had governments, senates, Houses of Representatives– they may not have called him that but we have those and proceedings as well we also have a lot of Oklahoma County records records that have been microfilmed by the Latter-Day Saints and we have copies of those records. So I think those things are are unusual and our archival catalog and are over 11 million photos makes us pretty unique as well. Start with what you know…and it seems people get kind of frustrated when I start asking them okay, when and where were you born, who are your parents ,and who are your grandparents, and often people say “well I know all those people,” well you do know them but my guess is you haven’t collected the documents on them and you never know what you’re going to find when you look on those documents. Both of my grandparents fibbed on their marriage license, for example, and once I figured that out it was just kind of a fun fact to know and it also informed why they went to get married two counties away from where they’d lived, because they wanted to go where people didn’t know them, and so when you collect the documents and start analyzing them and they really do give you an insight into your family. So I say start with what you know right now. The other thing that’s really important is to interview your older relatives talk to them ask them questions and I always say ask them questions and then listen more than just the few seconds after the question because sometimes after a day or two they’ll just pop out with some additional information that maybe they didn’t even know they knew but you’ve planted this seed, so talk to those folks.

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