Sample Freedman Documents
The researcher of the Oklahoma Freedmen is most fortunate as they are among the few in the Black Indian community who have a resource of thousands of documents to research.
Dawes Final Roll
This roll is often spoken of when one mentions the Rolls of the Dawes Commission. To get to this stage, the families and persons listed below had to go through a series of interviews that involved being sworn under oath, questioning by the Commission that operated from 1898 - 1914. This Freedmen Roll, shown below, reflects those who underwent the close scrutiny. Often the Freedmen applicants had to "prove" that they were indeed citizens of the nation---the proof often being the word of one of the citizens, "by blood". (This is ironic since many of the Freedmen themselves had Indian blood. However, the Dawes Commission sought to prevent further enrollment of descendants of Freedmen, by refusing to note their "blood quantum" a measurement of no scientific merit but was used to exclude people from the rolls.)
(Inclusion on the rolls did however, eventually grant land allotment to freedmen. The Choctaw Freedmen received typically 40 acres although Choctaws by blood received more than 100 acres..)
CHOCTAW FREEDMEN MINOR CHOCTAW FREEDMEN
Enrollment Cards--These are the primary documents needed to research the Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes. Included on these cards are the name, age, name of Slave Owner of the enrollee, and on the reverse image appears the names of the father, mother, and slave owner of the enrollee.
Application Jackets--These files contain the actual testimonies and interviews conducted by the Dawes Commission between 1898 - 1914. There are several thousand of these interviews that will of greatest value to the genealogist.
Creek Freedmen Cards Reflecting Blood Quantum
There is constant discussion about the possibility of Freedmen having Indian blood, to the point that even members of the nations themselves believe that such is not the case. However, there are several thousand documents of the Creek Freedmen, that illustrate that many of the Freedmen, not only were related by blood to their Muskogee brethren, they were removed, by the Dawes Commission, for the sole reason of their having African blood. This practice remains to this day, and contributes to the exclusion of many persons, who have a direct blood tie to others enrolled on the same racially biased roll. This documents illustrates Creek Freedmen with such a situation. The reference to the blood quantum appears in the notes at the bottom of the census card.
Wallace Roll--Conducted in the 1880's this Roll, compiled by Indian Agent John Wallace was eventually rejected by the Cherokee Nation. However the list is useful nevertheless, to find ancestors on a roll, prior to Oklahoma statehood. The roll contains the names, ages, and Cherokee Nation district of each enrollee.
Kern Clifton Roll--An earlier roll of Cherokee Freedmen. This roll is often referred to in later rolls such as the Wallace Rolls and the Dawes Rolls. All persons listed are Cherokee Freedmen.
Land Records---Indian Territory Freedmen received acres of land that varied from 40 acres in the case of Choctaw Freedmen to over 100 acres for Creek and Cherokee Freedmen. Such records found in court houses, in Eastern Oklahoma will often show the exact location of where lands were given to Freedmen.
(sample Land Allotment record)
Allotment Application Certificate)
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