The Indian Territory was that portion of land in the center of the United States which in the first half of the 1800s, that no white settlers was interested in living on. Instead, the federal government thought it made more sense moving the five main civilized Indian tribes out of the southeast region to the Indian Territory, allowing the white settlers to occupy the more desired southeastern lands. By the late 1890s when available land became scarce, the Indian – Oklahoma Territories were opened up and then everyone rushed to gain a part of the once undesirable lands.
The Oklahoma Historical Society has a wonderful website with many interesting elements about the history of the Indian-Oklahoma Territory. For those with any ancestors from Oklahoma, especially of Native Indian ethnic background, you will want to go over this online site at the ‘Research Center‘.
One of the main resources are the records of the five civilized tribes – the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek / Muscogee, Chickasaw and Cherokee. Besides census records are numerous governmental records and records relating to land allotments. A good introduction is about the removal of the five tribes beginning in the 1830s. Scroll down the site to find a full listing of the many topics in the Indian Archives.
Check out the section on newspapers for Oklahoma from the 1840s to the 1920s. There is a search box with this portion to look for a surname or keyword in the collection of newspapers. A thumbnail image of the paper with its full date will appear. You can then enlarge the scanned paper to read it fully. An interesting section also with this site covers the territorial incorporation records for Oklahoma and the Indian Territories from 1890 to 1907.
Scroll further down on the site to have a nice selection of other links relating to Indian histories, Oklahoma birth and death records, along with a full outline of the counties in Oklahoma.
Postcard images of people and places in a region are very useful to knowing more about a location our ancestors lived. This link has some 424 postcards to view covering most of Oklahoma.
So there is much to learn of this region’s history and especially to cover about those ancestors who called the Oklahoma-Indian Territories home.
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