Monday, March 21, 2011

The Minor & Newborn Dawes Freedmen Cards

Enrollment Card of Walton Family
Source: National Archives M1186, Choctaw Freedmen Card 777

When documenting the families from Indian Territory, it is important to "read the small print" or rather the notations that appear on the bottom of the primary family documents.

In the case of my Walton family, all of whom were enrolled as Choctaw Freedmen, a small notation was made on the bottom of the card regarding the children of Sallie Walton's daughter Louisa.  

Notation on card to see New Born Freedman Card #230

It is important  to understand how the records of the Choctaw Freedmen are actually classified.  The notation refers the reader to New Born Card #230. However, there is no New Born Freedman category.  The category among the Dawes Enrollment Cards is actually "Choctaw Minor Freedmen".

Sure enough, when looking into the Choctaw Minor Freedmen, Card #230 did reflect more information about the family.  Louisa the mother of the children, had married and three of her children were reflected on the same card.

Louisa Ingram Sanders' children were reflected on this enrollment card 
of Choctaw Freedman Minors

Since there was an enrollment card for the three children, I became curious and wondered if there was possibly an interview and detailed family file, and I decided to look closely in the M1301 records, and sure enough there was.  In fact there was a 32 page file on the family that accompanied the file.  Some pages were depositions, some were letters and others were critical vital records, such as birth affidavits.  

In this case, two birth affidavits were in the file, and these documents are significant, because they are vital records that were pre-statehood vital records.  Oklahoma would not enter the Union until 1907, but in the file were birth records of some of Louisa's children (and Sallie's grandchildren).

This birth record of John Sanders (Louisa's son) was created two years before statehood.
Source: National Archives, M1301 Choctaw Minor Freedmen #230

This birth record of Ethel Sanders was also in the file. Again this is the second pre-statehood 
birth record found in the Minor's packet

In addition to the birth affidavit a testimony by their father George Sanders was also made on behalf of his children.  
Page 1 of George Sanders' Testimony for his children

Page 2 of George Sanders Testimony

This was an exciting find, because the Sanders branch of the family are cousins and it was never known for years exactly how they were related.  Louisa, the mother of the children was the sister to my grandfather, Sam Walton on Dawes Freedman Card 777.    These cousins would visit us over the years, but it was not until following the notation on the Walton Card and pulling both the Sanders family card and their packet, was the relationship clear.

The lesson here is to follow all notations on the cards and to study them and see what additional data can be found.

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