Oklahoma Biography

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Beginning Research
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Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies provide useful genealogical information such as a person’s birth date and place; names of family members, including maiden names; education; occupation; and social, political, and religious affiliation. They may also contain a physical description of the person, previous residences, and immigration information. Biographies are the product of family knowledge or previous research about early settlers and prominent citizens of a state, county, or town. Local histories may contain biographical sketches of lesser-known people.

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

Statewide Collections[edit | edit source]

The best collection of published biographies in Oklahoma is at the Oklahoma Historical Society http://www.okhistory.org/. The Family History Library has several helpful biographical works. There is no statewide biographical index or major manuscript collection. State, regional, and county histories often have biographical sections containing valuable information. Some representative biographical encyclopedias are:

Portrait and Biographical Record of Oklahoma: Commemorating the Achievements of Citizens who have Contributed to the Progress of Oklahoma and the Development of Its Resources. Chicago, Illinois: Chapman Publishing Co., 1901. (Family History Library book 976.6 D3p; film 874,324.)

Thoburn, Joseph Bradfield. A Standard History of Oklahoma: an Authentic Narrative of Its Development from the Date of the First European Exploration Down to the Present Time, Including Accounts of the Indian Tribes, both Civilized and Wild, of the Cattle Range, of the Land Openings and the Achievements of the Most Recent Period. 5 vols. Chicago, Illinois: American Historical Society, 1916. (Vols. 2-5 on Family History Library film 1,425,716 items 1-4.)

Hill, Luther B. A History of the State of Oklahoma. 2 vols. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Co., 1908. (Family History Library book 976.6 H2h; film 1,000,353 items 1-2;
fiche 6,051,224.) Volume 2 contains biographies

Oklahoma Historical Society. Chronicles of Oklahoma (see Oklahoma Periodicals).

Biographical sketches of residents of Indian Territory (see Oklahoma History) are published in: O'Beirne, Harry F. and Edward S. The Indian Territory: Its Chiefs, Legislators and Leading Men. St. Louis, Missouri: C. B. Woodward Co., 1892. (Family History Library film 989,201 item 2.)

O'Beirne, Harry F. Leaders and Leading Men of the Indian Territory with Interesting Biographical Sketches: Choctaws and Chickasaws. Chicago, Illinois: American Publishers Association, 1891. (Family History Library film 1,000,354, item 1.)

Indian Pioneer Papers, 1860 - 1935 (Millwood, New York : Kraus Microform, 1989) FHL 6016865-6016981 Contains interviews of 11,000 early settlers of Oklahoma who were still alive in the 1930's. The interviews contain a information regarding their migration to Oklahoma and life in those early days. The Indian Pioneer Papers Index is located at OkGenWeb Oklahoma Genealogy. To view a separate index of the “Indians in the Indian Pioneer Papers” click here. Actual online records are found at The University of Oklahoma Western History Collections.

Indian-Pioneer History Papers, Grant Foreman Collection. During the days of the W.P.A., (Works Project Administration) The Oklahoma State Historical Society and the University of Oklahoma sponsored a project to interview pioneers, Indians and old settlers. These interviews were taken in 1937 and 1938 resulted in 112 bound volumes of 500 pages each.

Futher Reading[edit | edit source]

See theUnited States Biography for information on nationwide biographical collections. See also the "History" and "Genealogy" sections for additional sources. You may wish to explore biography, history and genealogy sections in the wiki at county levels also.

Biographies can be found on state, county and local levels. The Family History Library has many collected biographies and local or county histories with biographical sketches on residents. Links to county pages appear below.