Oklahoma Genealogical Resources

Both sides of my husband’s immediate family were Sooners. They weren’t the first ones over the line when Oklahoma Territory was opened to settlers, but the Stufflebeans and Sturgells were there by the 1910 census. Luckily, both of my in-laws knew a lot about their extended families so I didn’t have to spend a lot of time discovering people on line.

However, aside from census records, I have tried to find documentation for births, marriages, deaths and any other facts or stories that would tell the stories of these ancestors’ lives. I quickly noticed that, compared to many other states, relatively little is available on line for Oklahoma so I decided to create a list of record sources. Here is what I found:

Oklahoma Historical Society – The “Research Center” tab opens a good-sized menu of choices.

Oklahoma Genealogical Society – This site has a link for “Online Data,” which includes hard-to-find items like Bible records, obituaries, some early military records and limited indices to long-ago issues of their publication, “Quarterly.” There is also a link to the recent Quarterly issues, which are available on line. The “Oklahoma Links” page is a listing of all OK counties and, if there is a genealogical society in that county, a live link is provided for it. Five regional societies are listed below the county links with live links.

Oklahoma History and Genealogy – This site has many links to Oklahoma history, but includes links to some biographies, Oklahoma cemeteries, local historical and genealogical societies in the state, and an Archives and Libraries page linking to some of the town libraries.

Online Oklahoma Death Records and Indexes – Cemetery, obituary and funeral records from some Oklahoma counties.

Chronicling America – The Library of Congress project currently has newspaper titles for the towns of Oklahoma City, Sacred Heart, Guthrie, Ardmore, Anadarko, and Tulsa, OK plus some Indian Territory listings for Tulsa, Vinita, Beaver, Atoka, Darlington, Durant and Muskogee.

FamilySearch – I only checked for vital records with images available on line. There are three collections:

Oklahoma Marriages, 1870-1930

Oklahoma, County Marriages, 1890-1995

Oklahoma Probate Records 1887-2008

If you have Sooner Roots and know of a great (free) website that I’ve missed, please comment and send me the link.






Three Little Pieces of History Back Home Again

I feel very lucky to be the family genealogist for both my and my husband’s families and consider myself the guardian of its history. I am doubly lucky that, being the guardian, I have possession of literally hundreds of family photographs of people born as early as 1818 in places all around the United States and even of a few taken in Europe.

I wasn’t even aware that I had three early school photos until I started looking through pictures that belonged to my husband’s grandmother, Pearl Lillian Brasher, born in on 9 February 1898 in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas. Pearl didn’t live in Sulphur Springs for very long as the family moved to Oklahoma when she was a young girl.

One of the pictures is of the third grade class of Hobart, Oklahoma. There is a little boy helpfully holding the class sign for the photographer. Pearl is the girl third from the left in the front row. Each of the photos, which are copies, not the originals, have a little girl marked in them. I suspect that my father-in-law was the one who picked his mother out of the group.  Given Pearl’s age, this would be the third grade class of 1907.

Hobart Grade 3

Hobart, Oklahoma 3rd Grade Class of 1907

I have two other school photos, which appear to also be taken in Hobart and from Pearl’s apparent ages in them, I would say they are of her first and second grade classes, which would have been the years of 1905 and 1906.

Hobart Grade 2

Hobart, Oklahoma 2nd Grade Class of 1906

Notice that five of the boys in the front row, while dressed in their finest,  are shoeless!

Hobart Grade 1

Hobart, Oklahoma 1st Grade Class of 1905

I knew nothing about Hobart, so I googled it. Hobart is the county seat of Kiowa County, which was formed in 1901, when it was part of Oklahoma Territory. That means this photo depicts a scene from Hobart’s very early history before Oklahoma was a state.

Kiowa County is in the southwest corner of the state, next to Greer County.

The Brashers didn’t live long in Hobart. By 1910, Pearl’s family was back in Texas in Plainview, Hale County.

The photos had no names noted on the back of them, except for Pearl’s, but this is the kind of item that I always try to share with a local historical society. I contacted the Kiowa Historical Museum in Hobart. They said they would love to have a copy of these photographs so digital files were sent off this morning.

I checked the 1910 census – Hobart had four wards by then so looking for twelve year old children who might have been part of that class isn’t very feasible. I hope the Historical Museum will print out a large copies of these photos and display them. Maybe there are children, grandchildren or great grandchildren of some of these students who still live locally and might recognize their ancestors so names can be put to faces.

Charles Adams Chadwick

Several bloggers have written about collateral relatives who have left no descendants and made the point that their stories need to be told, too. That started me thinking about my cousin, Charles.  In reality, Charles was my grandfather’s first cousin, making him my first cousin twice removed. My great grandfather, Charles Adams, and Charles’ mother, Vera Pearl Adams, were siblings.

Aunt Pearl married Perce E. Chadwick in Calais, Maine. They soon moved to Masschusetts for Perce’s work. Charles was their only child., born in Somerville on 20 January 1923.  He was named for my great grandfather, Charles Adams, and Aunt Pearl’s brother, who had died a year before in January 1922.

Generations were a bit staggered in that branch of the family as Charles was a contemporary of my Aunt Barbara and my mother, Doris, although he was their first cousin once removed.

By all accounts, Charles had a happy childhood that came crashing to a halt two days after his 10th birthday. His father, Perce, died on 22 January 1933 in Boston. I don’t know the cause of death, but Perce was buried back home in Calais. Aunt Pearl and Charles moved back there about the same time, likely to be close to family and friends.

He spent a lot of summer vacations playing with my mother and her sisters from the time they were very little until my mother and Aunt Barbara reached their teens.

Charles was a member of the Class of 1941 of Calais High School. After he graduated, he returned to Rhode Island where he worked as a gauge inspector for 2 and a half years.

In April 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving in Guam at the U.S. Naval Supply Depot until February 1946.

When he was honorably discharged from the Navy, he entered the University of Maine at Orono, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Management.

Charles Chadwick, Young Man 2

At some time during the 1940’s, Charles became engaged to a young lady named Pauline Elizabeth (omitted last name) from Bangor. She was a nurse. He never mentioned having been engaged when we talked or corresponded and I don’t know why they never married. However, after he died, I received his family mementos and he had saved a clipping of their engagement announcement for the rest of his life. If I had to venture a guess, I think perhaps Aunt Pearl was a bit possessive of her only child, but that is strictly conjecture on my part.

After finishing college, Charles worked as a draftsman and product designer for a company in Rhode Island. He lived in Providence and cared for his mother until Aunt Pearl passed away in 1973.

Although I only met Charles a couple of times, we began writing back and forth when I took an interest in the family history. Charles shared many, many family stories about the various members of the Adams clan. You see, Aunt Pearl would like to go visiting with friends and relatives. She never learned how to drive so Charles took her on all of her social calls. Pearl loved keeping up with all the news and Charles said he would just quietly sit to the side while she visited and gossiped, but he listened carefully to all of the stories.

The first time we met after I began doing genealogy research, Charles opened a drawer full of old photos. He told me that he often wondered what would become of them when he was gone, but since I was the first to show interest in the family history, he wanted me to become the keeper of the photographs. Thus, I received my first treasure trove of family mementos and Charles was sharing those stories of long ago with me and I was elated.

There were a lot of photos that had names attached to them, but many, including a lot of tintypes and photos from the 1860’s and 1870’s that were unmarked. To my dismay, Charles said he didn’t know who most of the people were and there was no one left who did.

Aside from my grandmothers who encouraged my family history research, Charles did more than anyone else to encourage and promote my interest in our family roots. To thank him for all he had done for me, I researched his father’s side of the family, which were the Chadwicks, Meserves and Grovers from the St. George, Knox County, Maine. He was appreciative of that as he learned more about them and his paternal heritage.

As Charles got older, he began to have serious memory issues and he entered a care facility for veterans. He died on 24 October 2006 and, like his parents and grandparents before him, went home to Calais for the last time. He was buried next to them in Calais Cemetery, the final resting place for many of my mother’s family.

Thank you, Charles Adams Chadwick, for my 35 year old love affair with family history!


Genealogy Tips & Family History