The Dawes Census Cards are an excellent source for working through complicated family connections.
At Ancestry.com the census cards can be found in the data base under; Oklahoma and Indian Territory, Dawes Census Cards for Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914
This data set contains the citizenship enrollment cards, sometimes referred to as census cards, which were prepared by the Dawes Commission. Individuals were enrolled as citizens of tribes according to the following categories:
•Newborns, by blood
•Minors, by blood
•Freedmen (former black slaves of Indians)
The census cards list information about the enrollee, and sometimes also include information about other family members.
You will need to have done your homework before you search these cards. I have found when I try to look up someone using only their name, I do not get a good return. If you are prepared with the Dawes Census card number, or the Dawes Enrollment number, and tribe you should not have any problem. It is helpful to also know the category (options listed above), although that may be one of the pieces of information that you are trying to locate.
If the person you are researching is not on the final rolls, you can use the following instructions, provided by Ancestry.com to try to locate them.
To locate an individual’s doubtful or rejected enrollment card, use the following steps:
1. Choose a tribal category, indicated as “doubtful” or “rejected”, from the browse table.
2. Choose an enrollment card number range.
3. Use the “next” and “previous” buttons on the image viewer to navigate yourself through the images.
4. Check the names listed on each image for the individual(s) you are looking for.
So, what can you find on these cards? If a person is mentioned on the card, even if it is not that person’s census card, they will still come up in your search.
I have been concentrating on one branch of my family, the descendants of my grandmother’s half-brother, Anthony Crittenden. One of my Crittenden cousins, Anthony’s great granddaughter, provided me with a search she had done on census card numbers for Anthony’s mother, Emily Crittenden Weaver. I started pulling up cards using those numbers.
Why have I been concentrating on this branch of the family? Throughout the years there was a lot of intermarriage between families related through blood or marriage to my great grandfather, Moses Crittenden.
My great grandfather died in 1899, before the interview process started for Dawes applicants. The Crittendens were a close knit family and a look at census data shows that many of the families often moved together from place to place. Through reading the interview packets of his relatives, I have been able to piece together a significant amount of information about locations and dates of moves from one place to another.
The Dawes application packets have a lot of information about spouses and children of the applicants. There is seldom any information about parents for applicants who are no longer minors. Siblings of adults are also seldom noted. However, this information is often listed on the census cards.
The census data cards have been useful in putting together family connections, especially when trying to clarify details of two relatives with the same given and surnames born around the same year. The cards almost always list the mother and father of the applicant, along with spouses and children.
The cards also have a lot of notes on them, including cross references to other census cards.
Of course, the information I have found has led to many more research questions, and hours browsing through even more Dawes applications. More about that in a future blog!