MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

July 24, 2010

Library holds Oklahoma genealogy treasures

— Sometimes genealogical research in Oklahoma can be a “tough row to hoe,” but there are some treasures that can aid research that might not be readily known to a new researcher or to an outsider attempting to do Oklahoma research.

Confederate pensions

One of the often overlooked gems is the Oklahoma Confederate Civil War Pension Applications from the Oklahoma State Archives. Confederate Civil War Pensions were given by the state governments, not the federal as is the case for those who served in the Union Army during the conflict. The pensions were applied for in the state where the veterans lived, not where he served.

Therefore, many of the pensions applied for in Oklahoma were for service in other states, although there are some for those who served in the Indian forces. Not only the veterans, but their widows were also eligible to apply. These can provide a wealth of information. In addition to military service history, they may include spouse and date and place of marriage, death date, children, places of residence, and other items relished by genealogists.

An index to the applications is available on the State of Oklahoma Archives site. The Oklahoma Genealogical Society has also published an index. These are on sale through this organization and a copy is available in the Genealogy and Local History Department.

The library also has the applications on microfilm so the researcher and read them and make copies at the library.

Interviews

The Indian Pioneer History Collection Papers during the WPA era are also a valuable source of information about early day Oklahoma. If a researcher is really lucky, there’s an interview with a relative. But even if no relative's interview is available, they are still valuable because there can be information in someone else’s interview about a place, an incident or an individual.

The originals are available at the University of Oklahoma and at the Oklahoma Historical Society's Research Center. Each has its own index and they differ, so it is sometimes beneficial to check both. The Genealogy and Local History Department has an index and the interviews available on microfilm. These can also be read online through Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.

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