Our canvas for the sale of this Abstract and Index showed such woeful lack of information on the part of the public generally, of the records in the office of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes, at Muskogee, Oklahoma, that when we presented our copy it was as “Greek” to them. This lack of knowledge was not universal, but we were surprised to find to what extent it was true. Therefore, in explaining our record we must go to every detail, and will ask those who read this detailed explanation to open the book at any card they may choose and read this text in connection with that card, in order that they may fully understand it. If they once understand our plan they will have no trouble thereafter.
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The first, or title line, to each card shows that it is a Creek Indian, (not freedman) card. The number of this card is given, after which follows the last known post office address of the enrolled citizen. Then follows the date or dates of enrollment. Suppose we had six persons enrolled on any particular card, and the first four of these enrolled citizens were enrolled in the month of August 1898, the fifth enrolled on the card was enrolled July 1, 1900, and the sixth was enrolled June 24, 1904. Unless it be more specifically noted on the card these entries will be made as follows:
Enrolled August 1898; No. 5 July 1, 1900; No. 6 June 24, 1904.
It will be noted that under the first date we include the enrollment of all these citizens, who are not specifically numbered, such as Nos. 5 and 6 in this particular instance. Note also that the enrollment date is in the “title line” and not at the lower right hand corner of the card as on the original card in the office of the Superintendent.
Now taking up the tabulated matter in detail:
1. The first column is under the heading “Roll No.” This needs no explanation except to say that it is the roll number of the enrolled citizen whose name is found under the heading “name” later, on the same line. This roll number will be the roll number given in the roll book, published by the Department of the Interior.
2. The next column is under the heading “No.” and under this is given the number of those as they appear on the card. It has no other significance. It is used simply for certainty in future reference. Wherever the enrolled citizen whose name follows this number is referred to the number in front of his name is used, and not his name. Brevity was not the only reason for using the numbers, instead of the name. It may be that there will be two enrolled citizens on the same card, having the same name, and if we used the name it would lead to uncertainty. Therefore, we use the numbers. Its use may be explained as follows. Suppose we had three citizens on the card as follows:
No. 1. Smith, John
No. 2. Smith, Martha
No. 3. Smith, John
Suppose that the John Smith first named was the father of the John Smith last named. In the columns under the heading “Name of father” on the same line where the name of the second John Smith appears we write No. 1, thus meaning that John Smith, who appears after No. 1 on this card, is the father of John Smith whose name appears after No. 3 on this card. Again, in the notations at the bottom of the card you will see “No. 1 died January 14, 1913,” “No. 3 died August 6, 1904.” By using the numbers we make our references certain, and you know at once which John Smith died on January 14, 1913, and which died in August 1904.
3. Under the heading “Name” we give the name of the enrolled citizen, whose roll number appears in the column under the heading “Roll No.”
4. Next follows the columns under the headings “age” “sex” and “blood,” and these we think need no explanation. This refers to the age, sex and blood of the citizen whose name immediately precedes these notations. The ages given are the ages shown by the census cards in the office of the Superintendent, not the ages at the time of the preparation of this Abstract.
5. Above the next column is the heading “Rel.” This abbreviation is for “relationship to No. 1 on the card.” The first citizen enrolled on the card is usually the head of the family. There is usually no notation in this column after his name. The names of those enrolled, and which follow his enrollment, and who are on this card are, as a usual thing, related to him in some way, and this relationship is noted in this column. Thus, if “No. 2” on the card be the wife of “No. 1” then in this column will be the abbreviation “Wf,” if “No. 3” be the daughter of “No. 1”, then the letter “I)” will appear in this column, if a son, then the letter “S”, and here we use “StS” for step-son, “SD” for step-daughter, “GD” for granddaughter, “GS” for grandson, “Neph” for nephew, and niece, ward, etc. We think with this explanation no one will have trouble in determining the relationship of those on the card, as shown in this column.
6. Under the heading “Name of Father” is found the name of the father of the enrolled citizen. This enrolled citizen being the one whose name appears on this same line on the card. Remember names of the enrolled citizens appear only in the column under the heading “Name.” The father and mother may, or may not, be enrolled citizens. If they are enrolled their names will be found in the column under the heading “Name.” What has been said here of the names appearing under the heading “Name of Father” is also true of the names found under the heading “Name of Mother”. If the father or mother be enrolled their names may or may not appear on the card, as enrolled citizens, with their child.
7. After the names of father and mother will be found columns headed “living” and “citizen.” We now take up these two headings and ask that you carefully note what they say.
(a) “Living.” Under this heading we show whether or not the parent was living at the time his, or her, child, the citizen, was enrolled. If the parent was living at that time the letter “L” will be found under this column heading. If the parent was dead at that time the letter “D”, meaning dead, will be found in this column. On the original cards in the office of the Superintendent if the father or mother be living, or if there be any doubt of his or her death, than this column was left blank. We have made no changes in the notations of death as noted on the original cards. We have, however, added the notation as to the living and in doing so have used the knowledge gained by our continued working at the cards and have noted those whom we believe to be dead with a question mark thus (?)
(b) “Citizen.” Under this column we note whether or not the particular parent was a member of the Creek Nation of Indians. If the parent was a member of the Creek Nation of Indians then the letters “Cr” is found under this column heading. If, however, the parent was not a member of the Creek Nation of Indians, then in this column will be found such notation as this, “Non”, meaning non-citizen; “Chick,” meaning Chickasaw, “Choc,” meaning Choctaw, “Cher” meaning Cherokee, “Sem” meaning Seminole, etc. On the original cards no notation was made in this column in a vast proportion of instances. We have studied the cards and the cross references and have given the result of the examination. In doing so we adopted certain rules such as the following:
(1) If the child was of Creek blood greater than a half blood, then of course both parents must have Creek blood.
(2) If one of the parents was enrolled as of a certain quantum of Indian blood and the other parent not enrolled and the child was noted as having Indian blood just half of the amount of the enrolled parent, then we noted the other parent as a non-citizen.
(3) Our acquaintance is large and we knew personally the status of many.
(4) By reference to other cards. There were many of whom we could not be certain and we noted these with a question mark thus (?).
(8) The notations at the bottom of each card need little explanation, when it is remembered that the numbers there used, such as No. 1 and No. 3, etc., mean the enrolled citizens, whose names are found after the numbers 1 and 3, as these numbers are used in the second column of tabulated matter on the card.
(9) The making o’ the Abstract of the New-Born and Minor Creek cards is somewhat different from that used for the Abstract of the original Creek cards. The cards themselves were different and this necessitated a different Abstract. An explanatory note will precede the New Born and Minor Creek cards.
(10) The Index to follow the record itself will be preceded by an explanatory note thereto. Everyone should carefully read and thoroughly understand the explanatory notes, which appear in this record and index. If they do not fully familiarize themselves with the manner of making this Abstract, and what each notation means much of the value of the book will be lost to them.
In the making of the Abstract and Index we made notes of matters which we believed would aid those in examining the cards in difficult cases. Though many of these “Helps” have been noted in the preface and the explanatory notes, we have made note of the following:
(1) During the year 1914 Congress admitted sixty-two persons to citizenship in the Creek Nation. These have no allotments. In making census cards for these newly admitted citizens, in the office of the Superintendent to the Five Civilized Tribes, they were given roll numbers beginning with the next number after the last originally enrolled Creek. By an error duplication was the result in numbering the cards. You will note by an examination of the Creek Rolls, published by the Department that in the last few numbers the card numbers are not in consecutive order. As a result the last enrollment number 10181 is not on the highest numbered census card.
In the making of these new cards for those whom we have designated “Congressional Enrollments” the numbers of the cards from 4015 to 4026 have been duplicated. To avoid uncertainty we have put the letter “CE” in front of the numbers in the Index, when reference is made to one of these Congressional Enrollment Cards.
(2) In searching the Index for any name look under the different spellings of the name, as Deer-Deere, Kernall-Kernal-Kernel, Heneha-Henneha-Hennehah-Henehar-Hinneha, Mahala-Maholey-Mahole-Meholi.
(3) In looking for an Indian name and finding it, then look back for a few names and also forward. The index is so arranged that if the name is misspelled you will often catch it near to where it should be if spelled correctly. Different clerks spelled the names differently in preparing the cards, but even at that the two spellings ought to be close together. Where we have been able to determine that these two spellings refer to one and the same person we have cross-indexed, but have not been able in every case to so determine.
(4) The Index may refer you to a card where you do not find the name. If the card itself does not show why the reference was made look up the cross-reference to other names on the card and this will make the reference clear.
(5) We have tried to make reference to Freedmen cards, but in all cases could not do so as we could not get sufficient data.
(6) From our investigation we believe that fully two-fifths of the Creek allottees are dead. We have worked diligently to show the dead. Only a part of this data was on the census cards and the balance scattered throughout the various divisions of the Superintendent’s office. We show about 3300. We could not show all, for the reason that the Superintendent has no record of them.
In noting the dead in some cases the dates of death are given and in others they are simply “reported dead.” In those cases where the data of death is given, proofs of death are on file in the office of the Superintendent of the Five Civilized Tribes. In some cases where the dates are not given proofs are on file, but the proofs do not show the date of death. For those who are noted “reported dead” we secured our information from the Creek Indian ledger, but this did not give the date of death. In many other instances we knew from our personal knowledge that the allottee was dead and have noted these “reported dead.” In many cases several proofs of death of any particular allottee are on file, in the office of the Superintendent, and these show different dates, varying in some instances from one to ten years in the date of death. We have selected only one date, taking the proof, which we deemed most trustworthy, but, as a matter of fact these proofs of death are not reliable in arriving at the true date, nor are they reliable in naming the surviving relatives and heirs at law. It is always well to send for a certified copy of one of these proofs of death, if you are interested, but do not rely on it.
The different laws of descent and distribution applicable at any time to these Creek allottees will be inserted in the back of the book as a sort of an appendix. They will be arranged in chronological order, and in connection therewith will be notes explanatory thereof. We have tried, however, to avoid any expression of opinion as to the effect of any or all of these laws.
NOTE: The miss-numbering in the above was how it appeared in the original.
Campbell’s Abstract of Creek Indian Census Cards, 1915