Friday, April 10, 2015

"Cherokee Rose", Explores Life on a Cherokee Slave Holding Plantation


Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles

Cherokee Rose is a book that caught my attention, because it is an area in which many African Americans feel is part of their history.  

The author is MacArthur fellow Tiya Miles  and in this book she looks at descendants of people with connections to Cherokee and Creek Indians. I made an oral review of this book on my weekly podcast on April 3. However, it is also imperative that I bring this book to the attention of readers here, as well.

The author bases the story of Cherokee Rose, loosely on the history of the Chief Vann House, in Georgia. But she brings it to light in the lives of three women of color who all have ties to the Georgia plantation. One of them, lives in modern day Oklahoma, is active in a Freedmen's descendant's group, and is in fact, a Creek descendant of African Creek leader, Cow Tom.

My personal interest in this book, is based on my own family history  with one group of my ancestors who were Choctaw Freedmen who were once slaves in the Choctaw Nation. I will say that reading this book is was a special treat, because on the pages one can get a rare and seldom told story of life on a Cherokee Indian slave-holding estate. The James Hold plantation in the book, is a fictionalized version of the real James Vann estate. 

The Cherokee slave holding family, upon whom the story is loosely based was the Vann family, connected to Chief James Vann, a wealthy Cherokee slave holder. The three main characters are all versions of people whom we may feel that we already have known or have met. They are prototypes of women living today, one of the characters, a woman of means and education, another who has ties from the Muscogee Creek Nation and who is an active member of her Muscogee Creek community, and another--a writer seeking a valid story to tell. All of the characters found a strong interest in the estate, and what unfolds is an interesting tie that each of them has to the historic household, and estate. One even sees characters who are somehow self appointed "keepers of the flame" with their plans for the future of the estate. All are somehow familiar, yet still strangers.

The book wanders between places in time, from the present day to the plantation era, through the words of the people of the past. And as the subtitle describes it, it a story of "Gardens and Ghosts" and the reader will find him/herself seeing the grounds, and the greenery from herbs to the lovely Cherokee roses also upon those grounds. And those of us with close ties to Oklahoma will appreciate so much from the seeing the carefully chosen names of the characters to the roles that each of them in the story have in relation to the past.

As a reader, I recognized versions of  people that I have met over the years. including those who perceive a tie that they cannot document. I appreciated seeing the researcher, the preservationist, and the genealogist who eagerly sought their history on AfriGeneas, and others who have only family lore to guide them. Tiya Miles carefully brings in those with historical family lore and brings those persons in direct confrontation with the reality of events of the past. It was carefully constructed. I can only say that I saw persons that I have seen from "Dartmouth to Durant" and places beyond. This book describes so many of the various  "types" of souls who wander the trails of the African-Native experience, and one will walk away from the book understanding how some stories are often misunderstood, but yet still so important to truthfully tell.

Though fiction, this story has a thoroughly documented basis upon which this narrative is told. Author Tiya Miles won a MacArthur fellowship because of her ground-breaking work on exploring the lives of the African experience as slaves in Indian communities. The story is so well written and I can only say those with ties to Oklahoma, or parts of the south and south east need to read Cherokee Rose. I personally have to thank Dr. Tiya Miles for writing this story. 

Now for those who are interested in the historical background of the Chief Vann historic house and estate, read her work The House on Diamond Hillwhich will provide this story. And those who study Indian Territory and its history, rarely see this story told, and even more rare is the story told about life of the enslaved even before removal.

In a general sense as a descendant from enslaved people both from Indian Territory, and also of the  American South, I note that few stories ever go beyond  those tales of horror and of cruelty.  Well now someone has effectively done that. The past is there, but so are the descendants, the survivors.

Thankfully, there are new scholars who are looking into this history and I personally await the fruits of their labor. I hope to read the stories from Tahlequah to Idabel--because there are the scholars among us, who have this area as specialty, as a home, and as an academic focus.

A wider audience not only wants to hear and to read more, we need to have these stories, and Cherokee Rose is the beginning.

I urge you to obtain a copy of the book, as I think it is a critical one to have in your library.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

More Resources for Cherokee Freedmen Family History

The newly digitized in color images have been a pleasure to explore ever since they were announced when Ancestry partnered to bring more Oklahoma records to subscribers. Among the many new records now digitized, are some excellent resources for family history. Cherokee Freedmen, like descendants of other tribal Freedmen will be particularly thrilled to find the original color images of Dawes Cards.

Cherokee Freedman Card #850  National Archives Publication M1186 (Front Side of Card)

Back side of card

Source for Both Images: Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1186, 93 rolls); Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C. [Note Ancestry has color images of original Dawes Cards.]

I am happy to point out  that there are additional resources for family history research for Cherokee Freedmen. Some reside on subscription sites while others reside on free sites. As many of these resources as possible should be used to construct the family history. Most are described for you here.

The Wallace Roll
This roll was conducted between 1890 and 1896, and it was compiled by John Wallace, who was a Special Agent. The roll was later rejected by the tribe and was not used for enrollment when the Dawes Commission began several years later. However, the roll still exists and it resides on the National Arhives website in its entirety. 

Image of a page from the Wallace Roll

Source: Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793-1999, 
Wallace Roll of Cherokee Freedmen in Indian Territory 1890-1896

Researchers can access the entire Wallace Roll HERE, where it resides on the National Archives website.

A Break for the 1890 Census
Most genealogists are aware of the lack of records reflecting the 1890 census year. Oklahoma researchers, and Indian Territory researchers in particular have many records to explore reflecting the years between 1890 and 1900 that this missing census year is not an issue for genealogists with Oklahoma ancestors. Ancestry has captured many of these records as well as other free sites, and they should all be explored. The better news is that the collections now available include hundreds of pages of census that even preceded the Dawes Rolls and the Wallace Rolls. 

Cherokee Census of 1896
In this particular census, Cherokee Freedmen were enumerated at the end of each district section. In the image below the "Adopted" Freedmen appear in the Tahlequah District, on final pages after the Cherokees "by blood" were enumerated. (This comes from the National Archives in Ft. Worth and has the reference number of 7RA-19). Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Selected Tribal Records. The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas. Group 7RA-19 Cherokee 1896 Census

1893 Cherokee Census
Many researchers are not aware that in 1893 another census was conducted in the Cherokee Nation. And like later records they also had pages reflecting Freedmen in each of the Districts of the Nation. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT,  USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Selected Tribal Records. The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas. Group 7RA-54 Cherokee 1893 Census

In some cases notes were made in the "remarks" column to explain a bit of additional data about the family enumerated.

(Notes made about family enumerated on census page.)

The 1890 Cherokee Census 
During this census year an enumeration of residents was also conducted in Indian Territory.  There are 6 reels of microfilm for this record set, and all are digitized on Ancestry. Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Within this short collection are six different census schedules. 

Schedule 1 consists of those considered Cherokee Citizens, This schedule included Freedmen of the Cherokee Nation
Schedule 2 consists of children identified as orphans, and 
Schedule 3 consists of those considered "non-citizens."
Schedule 4 consists of those not classified as citizens but who claimed citizenship.
Schedule 5 consists of those who were considered "intruders" upon Cherokee land.
Schedule 6 consists of non-citizens who lived on Cherokee land with permission.

Sample page from Schedule 1: This page reflects Cherokee Freedmen. It clearly states their entitlement to citizenship.

1890 Cherokee Nation Census 1890 Schedule 1
This second image reflects a closer view of the names listed on the document.
(Closer view of same image)
Source for both images: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
Brief look a schedule 6

Many persons who were considered to be non-citizens were also captured in the census of 1890, on Schedule 6. The heading clearly indicated their non-Cherokee status. This particular census year is interesting, because one should note that in the year before, in 1889 the first Oklahoma Land Rush occurred. As a result many non-Cherokees were present even in the Cherokee Nation itself and were simply enumerated as "American"  and in latter pages as "white" under the column for "Race or Nationality" 
Page from 1890 census showing Non-Cherokee residents

Cherokee Freedmen were not listed on this non-Cherokee census schedule.

It is helpful when using census records of any source to pay close attention the instructions that census takers were given. The descriptions for each of the schedules for this 1890 Cherokee Nation census are spelled out clearly.

Full description of 1890 Cherokee Nation Census schedules.

Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.

Land Allotment Applications
A final suggestion for Indian Territory research is to look at the records for Freedmen Land allotment applications. These are fully digitized images and they reflect the actual location of the original land allotment of the family members that were approved on the Dawes Rolls. All of these pages which number over a million, are located on the Family Search website and can be accessed free of charge.

Earlier Cherokee Freedmen Records
There is a unique set of records covering a wide span of years, which are strictly Cherokee Freedmen Records.  The records like most of these images come from the Federal Record Center in Ft. Worth Texas. This is the set of records known as Cherokee Freedmen Rolls and Indexes 1867-1897. 

Within that collection, one will find the 1880 Cherokee Freedmen Census.


Original data: Selected Tribal Records. The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas. Group 7RA-51 Cherokee 1880 Freedmen Census

Hopefully these sample documents will provide more information for Cherokee Freedmen historical researchers seeking to learn more of the people in the Freedmen communities and who they were, and how they lived. Using these records will assist many historians, and genealogists, and they will thereby aid in telling the story more effectively for generations to come.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Records on Ancestry Open Doors for Oklahoma Researchers

Ancestry: Oklahoma and Indian Territory Indian Census and Rolls:
Adopted Whites, Delawares, Shawnees and Freedmen
Tahlequah District

For those researching family based in Oklahoma and who lived in the communities of the Five Civilized Tribes that resided in Indian Territory, it is important to understand all of the data, and to utilize all of the essential record sets reflecting the various populations.

On Ancestry, an amazing collection has been made available for Oklahoma researchers. But it can be tricky to learn how the records are organized and how they can be found. In the community reflected above, the image was found in a larger collection called, "Oklahoma and Indian Territory Indian Census and Rolls 1851-1959. That is a span of over 100 years. With such a span of years---it is recommended that first one confirms that the family is Oklahoma based and was for several decades before statehood, which occurred in 1907.

If the family did not live in the land that became Oklahoma for at least 4 decades prior to 1907, a search for an ancestor among these records, might be futile. (Of course there are exceptions, which included to those who migrated to the Territory, during the years of the Land Rush (1889) and other subsequent years.) However, most people found in this category of records, will be found in many other records, in particular the Dawes records. In other words, it is suggested that one not begin a search for an Indian ancestor with this collection, before exhausting the Federal Census, and then the Dawes. These records will be the beginning point for additional ties to the nations. Of course after obtaining the extremely data rich information with census and Dawes records, then earlier records such as the 1896 roll, reflected above will add additional flavor to the family narrative.

In the case of the collection above, this reflects the 1896 census of the Tahlequah District of the Cherokee Nation, and this particular collection included the populations adopted by the Cherokee Nation: Adopted Whites, Delawares, Shawnees and Freedmen--(former Cherokee slaves, and their children.)

Because of the enormity of this collection---it is important to look at all of the pages of the collection. In the case of Adopted Freedmen, about every four or five pages, a notation appears at the top of the page. A line is drawn through the words reflecting Blood quantum, and the notation points out that the data collected in that column reflects the data,  "Where Born" in regards to the birthplace of the persons enumerated. C. N. is an abbreviation for Cherokee Nation. See the following illustration:

Top of page for 1896 Census showing Adopted Freedmen

Close Up of column reflects the data recorded in the "blood" column on page for Adopted Freedmen. The words "Where Born" reflect the information recorded. C. N. means "Cherokee Nation"

For the person who is just beginning Indian Territory research, it is important to know that everyone reflected on a census such as this one, there will be much for data on the family by researching the Dawes Rolls. Hopefully Dawes records have already been obtained. (Dawes records are found on Ancestry and Fold3

A word of Caution

If the genealogy process is new to you, then it is emphasized that you must look at 20th century records first and connect your family to the generation to preceded it. Connect yourself to your parents,  your parents to your grandparents, the grandparents to the great grandparents. And there should be a sound geographic element for the family--even in the family migrated at some point in time.

This is mentioned because there can be a major temptation start the genealogy process by choosing to first look at 1800s Indian census records in order to "prove" Indian ancestry, before embarking on 20th century basic census and vital records research. Also remember to connecting the family year by year, to the community from which the family came. For example, if the family being researched always lived in Tennessee, but the name being researched appears on an "Indian census" in what is now Oklahoma, there is a possibility that there might be a coincidence of names, and the Indian Territory document might not be the Tennessee based family being researched. In fact it is most likely that the Indian Territory document is not the Tennessee based family. 

Also note that many names are frequently common names. So surnames such as Williams, Jones, McIntosh, Ross, Davis etc. appear in many communities in Indian Territory and also in the United States.  So it is important that one is certain of family ties to the Territory. If the family lived in Tahlequah District, then they will also be found in the 1900 and 1910 communities in the Tahlequah District. Always  ask yourself: Is this your ancestor? Or is this someone who bears the same name?

Finding the Records

Since Ancestry has recently digitized many new records from Indian Territory and Oklahoma, it is important to know how to find them.The most efficient way is to go to the Card Catalog and type in the name of the collection, and when the search box opens, one can then place the names of the persons being researched. In the case below, by typing in the words "Oklahoma and Indian Territory" the image shown below will appear.

Finding Indian Territory Records on Ancestry via Card Catalog
This screen shot illustrates what will appear,

 The collection is enormous and is an amazing collection of records from multiple tribes. There are 41 different collections to research.

The new collections recently digitized have begun to open more doors for Oklahoma based researchers. Tjere are new records to examine and this newly digitized collection should assist many genealogists in exploring their pre-Dawes era ancestry.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Creek Freedmen Association in 1930s

Source of article: Pittsburgh Courier August 18, 1934 p 5

In the early decades of the 20th century various organizations flourished, with the purpose of providing a voice of support to the various communities of Oklahoma Freedmen. Among them was the Creek Freedmen Association. The group organized in the 1920s and although most who were familiar with the organization at the time were mailny people in or near Okmulgee Oklahoma and the many Creek Freedmen settlements, occasionally news about Freedmen made it into the national Black press. One such article was found in a 1934 article of the Pittsburgh Courier.

The article describes to the readers a strong gathering of Freedmen that occurred in Tulsa. The meeting unfolded with over 300 in attendance. The Creek Freedmen Association was formed in 1924 and the group sought to work for the benefit of the Creek Freedmen. As stated, their goal was to protect "the rights of Freedmen against usurpation and exploitation". During these years persons of any degree of African ancestry had many challenges facing them in Oklahoma. Legalized segregation, land grafters, disenfranchisement from the tribal community and many more issues faced them. It is therefore not surprising that they were organized and working for a way to address their concerns and keep them in the forefront of the Creek Freedmen community.

One of their leaders was the amazing A.G.W. Sango, a popular attorney who represented the Freedmen in many cases over the years.

Source of Image:  Muskogee Cimeter, July 23, 1909

Sango was one of a long line of attorneys who worked for Freedmen and he was not the only person from the Creek Nation. The first Freedman attorney was Sugar George, who also served in the Creek Nation in both ruling houses, the House of Warriors and House of Kings. Though Sugar George died in the early part of the 20th century, Sango lived well into the early decades and continued to serve the community.

It is not known what happened to the association, but theirs is a legacy that should not be forgotten.

Friday, November 7, 2014

African Americans on the Cherokee Intruder Census 1893

Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Indian Censuses and Rolls, 1851-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. 
Original data: Selected Tribal Records. The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas.

I often hear from researchers who have a tie to Oklahoma or Indian Territory. In some cases the researchers are descendants of Oklahoma Freedmen, from the Five Civilized Tribes, but in other cases some have ancestors who migrated west an settled there. And many have sought their ancestors but were not sure how or when they arrived in Indian Territory.

Perhaps among a new set of records now uploaded by Ancestry, through its collaboration with the Oklahoma Historical Society, one might find their ancestors on the Intruder Census of the Cherokee Nation. This census data collected in 1893 might provide some answers.

In the image above one can see that people were listed on a schedule and the race was noted on the form. In the Canadian District, as seen above they were listed in the order in which they were found and race was duly noted.

In other communities some settlements were larger and they were thus listed in entire communities, such as this community of "Colored" Intruders. It should be noted that those on the Colored Intruder list are not to be confused with the larger number of Cherokee Freedmen who were native to the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Freedmen were Cherokee Citizens whereas most Intruders were from the United States and thus not citizens.

Source: Same as Above

Note that there were a few cases where not all persons on the Intruder List were really intruders. Some would contest their being considered outsiders and would would later go through the Dawes enrollment process and be able to later gain enrollment legally as Cherokee Freedmen. In the case below one will see the name Zach Foreman. He appears on this list of Intruders. yet, he was later able to establish and prove his citizenship and was therefore admitted as a Cherokee Freedman.

Source: Same as Above.

As can be noted in the following image, Zach Foreman was later admitted as a Cherokee Citizen. As can be noted he resided in the now extinct Freedman community known as "Foreman".

Enrollment Card for Zack Foreman

(Source: Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 [database on-line] Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc. 2014. Original data: Enrollment Cards for the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M1186, 93 rolls); Cherokee Freedman Card #300. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75; National Archives, Washington, D.C. )

These images of the Intruder Census Rolls from the Cherokee Nation will be a valuable asset to researchers looking for additional information on their families in Oklahoma. Many researchers whose families originated in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Texas might find their ancestors among those intruders and it is hoped that many will study these records in detail.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Color Images of Dawes Cards Now Available!

National Archives Publication M1186, Choctaw Freedmen, Card #777
Sam and Sallie Walton & Family, of Skullyvlle, I. T.

Several months ago, I had a chance to speak with a representative from Ancestry, who shared with me that some good news was going to come out in November for Oklahoma researchers. Well, November has arrived, the good news has now been made public. Ancestry has acquired the Dawes Enrollment Cards, and now has all of them fully scanned in color! Although there are other online sites that contain Dawes cards, this is a treat to see the original image in full color. I was also pleased to learn that all of the cards were scanned in color, including the Freedmen of the Five Tribes.

What makes this special is that with many of the documents originally scanned in black and white, such as that of my gr. grandparents, (see images above and below) the place on the card where some tape was applied, can now be seen. On the black and white scanned image, the tape comes through as a solid black mass, and one cannot see through the faded transparent tape to view the words. (See two images.)


And what also makes having the color images available is that small details now appear more clearly on the card, some of which were a bit hard to see without tweaking the image. It should also be pointed out that there are many cards that had annotations made in different colors. The roll number was actually stamped in blue ink, and now with the color images, that can be seen.

National Archives Publication M1186, Choctaw Freedmen Card #778

Several years ago, I noticed that the first card among Freedmen cards in almost every tribe were often in very poor condition. Some were perhaps in poor condition because of exposure to sun, or had been damaged by some kind of liquid. So I was anxious to see how the new color images appeared with color scanning, so decided to look at Card No. 1, of the Choctaw Freedmen, that of Simon Clark. I know that his card had seen a lot of deterioration, and now with the color image, all of the markings appear much clearer.

Choctaw Freedman Card No.1

National Archives Publication M1186 Choctaw Freedmen Card No. 1

Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1
Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1 is also quite damaged, and the color image provides more opportunity for better analysis. Note the difference between the two, and note how having the color images allows for very faint writing to now be seen.

National Archives Publication M1186, Cherokee Freedman Card No. 1
Color Image

Chickasaw Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Chickasaw Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

Creek Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

Seminole Freedman Card No. 1
National Archives Publication M1186 Choctaw Freedmen Card No. 1
Color Image

For Seminole Freedman Researchers, it should be noted that there is a slight error in the way that Seminole Freedmen Cards are scanned and labeled

The numbers on the Ancestry index for Seminole Freedmen says 600-699, 

However, when looking at the first seven images, they are actually the very end of the Seminole By Blood cards. With image #8 in that set of cards designated as Freedmen 600-699, the beginning of the Freedmen cards appears on what should be #609. In reality it is Freedman Card #1, that of Ceasar Bowlegs. 

So at first the early numbered cards for Seminole Freedmen might appear to be impossible to find. However, they are there, and are found in the subset erroneously labeled "Seminole Freedmen 600-609."

In all other cases the scanning is accurate, and it is still quite wonderful to see these records now in their original condition! Hopefully for some new data will be extracted previously unknown, or unseen. Having access to these color images, breathes new life into these valuable records!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dawes Records are only Part of the Story

Two cards reflecting Charles Alexander Creek Freedman
When researching families from Indian Territory, especially those whose families are reflected on the Dawes rolls it is important to know that the entire story does not rest with Dawes Records.  The Dawes Records began when the allotment process started in the 1890s that would eventually lead to Oklahoma statehood in 1907. The Dawes records primarily cover the years 1898-1914. In those final years the New Born and Minor children were completed to include those children born after the initial interviews had begun. Nevertheless the Dawes files do reflect a useful record set for those who descend from families tied to the Five Civilized Tribes, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole nations. With Freedmen files the data is especially treasured, because the information can reflect the parents, and the names of slave holders as well.
However---not every file was completed in the same manner, and it is always wise to look at earlier documents. The tenacious researcher will benefit greatly from exploring as many documents as possible. It is hoped that the ultimate goal is to tell the family story. Unfortunately for some people the only goal is citizenship, and many once completed they might terminate their research. And some, if tribal enrollment is not obtained, they too abandon the research although much more data might be found on the family's unique history.  The greater loss is that the family may be missing out on more details of a rich family history. Hopefully these few records might encourage the researcher to keep going.
In the case of Creek Freedman Charles Alexander whose card is shown below, one sees a man from the Creek Nation, who lived in Bearden I.T. His card was on Creek Freedman card 1855. He was a member of North Fork town, and his name had also appeared on the Dunn Roll.
National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Freedman Card #1855
Unfortunately, the reverse side of his enrollment card yields no information about his parents, nor any additional ties to the nation.
The reverse side of the card for Charles Alexander revealed no additional information
Prior to the creation of the Dawes Rolls the Creek Nation had begun their interview process earlier and a set of records that still exists is known as the Old Series Cards. The Old Series Cards preceded the Dawes Cards, an in some cases additional information about the family can be obtained.  Charles Alexander had a card that was part of the Old Series and it reveals a good amount of information about him.
Old Series Card of Charles Alexander, Card #12
From the Old Series card, it is learned that he is the son of Isaac Alexander of the Chickasaw Nation, and Polly Ann Grayson Alexander. He is the uncle to Priscilla and Sam King, who were residing with him at the time. All were residents of North Fork Town (colored) and the relationships are clearly spelled out.
The Old Series Creek Cards need to be addressed more in depth, for in many cases they can unlock doors into more of the family history, and may be the key to revealing more family stories. These cards are arranged by district and card number, and they typically do not correspond to the Dawes cards by numbers. More information about the Olds Series Cards can be found HERE.
In some cases both cards will provide good information. The Old Series cards, often describe the relationships between family members in more detail, and explain relationships often more clearly.
A good example is the case of Caroline Bruner, another Creek citizen. The data is rich on the Old Series Card bearing her case.
The hand written piece on the right side of the card describes clearly several relationships between parties listed on the card. 
Front Side of Caroline Bruner Card
National Archives Publication M1186 Creek Nation Card #523
Reverse Side of Caroline Bruner Card
The Dawes Card reflects people in the household but not as clearly as the written text on the Old Series Card. However, the critical information pertaining to the identity of the Creek slave holder on the Dawes Card, and this is data useful to the family historian, and information that the careful researcher will want to incorporate into the family data.
These are two small examples of how all records bearing the name of the family are essential to telling the story completely and accurately. Hopefully it will inspire others to look at earlier records as part of the research process.