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Category Archives: Oklahoma

I Need A Support Group

I am in need of a genealogical support group for NON-Native American heritage BUT with relatives that believe otherwise. They are driving me to the brink of insanity. Does any one else suffer from this?

Is there such a group? Maybe it is just other serious researchers & professionals? If that is the case, maybe I just need to get myself a genealogy group & become a member. However, I’d prefer a group of Native American professionals or ones that suffer my same dilemma.

Maybe it’s an age thing, that the generation of my parents, & some grandparents, just believe that they are native American. Is that a common belief?

Maybe it’s a geographical issue that I so proudly get to suffer from… the south! That’s where many of my roots are from. Or maybe it is just anybody who has made their way into OK via what people “believe” was the route of Native Americans into OK? That’s the only common denominator that’s find linked in all these unsolicited, undocumented, un-proven claims. They had a relative/ancestor that at one time did live in OK, even born in OK.

I am rather drawn to the latter. Like any culture, once a person is surrounded by the culture, they tend to pick up their ideologies, their customs, their way of life, even their beliefs. It usually comes from our own individual fears of being rejected, that we seek to fit in & be accepted. Some people it is a “quirk”, while others take it to their core of their being & slowly start to simulate & transform into the culture opposite from their own. As a sociologist, I find it rather amazing how such a small group of peoples (Native Americans) can alter the main stream group (Modpodge Americans). Thus, those who have migrated to OK & have lived out their days have come to this idea that somehow they too are Native American.

The Native Americans have a strong grounding with their roots, their ancestors. Most can tell your lineage all the way back to what they believe is the beginning. Though their numbers are few in comparison to the United States as a whole, they are great in a smaller populous such as the state of OK. Thus the power of their culture in the state of OK is much like many of us moving to Rome. “Do as the Romans do!” Or in this case, “Do as the Native Americans do!”

I also seem to believe that a small amount of this desire to be Native American by those not born as Native Americans is due to the myths that have been spread about that “indians get free lands & monthly checks”. The rumors that spread like wildfire because of great misunderstandings in the late 1800’s – 1900’s. Thus, if the idea that, “IF I were Native American, then I would receive some ‘free’ life long benefits”. However, they still have to pay taxes, their medical care is lacking in advancements of modern-day technology, their land wasn’t free, nor is it always just one person’s own to claim but rather part of the great whole of the reservation. There is no monthly income check from the government & many are seeking the aid of welfare benefits from the US government. Though their culture is rich, their way of life is poor. Many live with multiple families & generations in a small 3 bedroom home. Going down the socio-economic ladder, their is poor, destitute, and then there is Native Americans constantly being stripped of any gain they achieve because their way of life. Thus, the only reason to claim one is Native American, who clearly is not, would be based on myths but hoping for a change for their futures & the generations that followed.

So what drives a person to claim Native American heritage? Stories they were told? Running lists of characteristics that make a person Native American?

Does anyone else spend hours chasing away “Native American” claims that just aren’t panning out? My research, heavily documented, always lands me back in England, or Germany, or Ireland… even French Louisiana… but never Native American.

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Not My Frank Lee – Take 2

In the midst of potty training & the holidays, I finally got a little piece of exciting mail. I received a letter from the Mayes County (OK) Genealogy Society yesterday. A copy of the following obit & a sticky note saying they “finally got the obit”. So here reads the blurry obit…
“Frank Lee, School Land Donor, Die; Funeral Thursday
(there is no date… nice of them huh? but math says it in 1976’ish)
Frank Lee, 81, pioneer resident of Lee Square community, eleven miles
southeast of Nowata ,died Monday at 4:00 p.m. after an extended illness.
Mr. Lee came from Indian Territory in 1895 from Springfield, MO.
He was well known throughout this area, and donated the acre of land
for the building of Lee Square school, which also served as a community center
for many year. He was active in and enjoyed the local singing conventions,
many of which were held at Lee Square.
Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Benjamin Funeral Home,
with Rev. Harvey Hardin, pastor of First Christian Church in Chelsea, officiating.
Interment will be in the Ball Cemetery.
Survivors include the wife, Mrs. Ella Lee, of the home, three sons,
Tony Lee, Springfield, MO, Florance Lee, Beneca, MO, and Frank Lee, Bartlesville;
five daughters, Mrs. Jim McMatin, Cody’s Bluff, Mrs. Paul Milam, Bartlesville,
Mrs. F. C. Myers, MIdland, TX, Mrs. T.O. Mason, Manhattan, KS, and Mrs. Edna Grant, Wollard, MO;
one sister, Mrs. J.C. Weaver, San Gabriel, CA, and one half-brother, Guy Murray.
Casket bearers include Louis Nitters [?], Lonnie Allison, Mayden Marney,
Georger Frauenberger, Bob Cox, and Lon Myers.”
Well, I can say this is NOT our Frank Lee. Good news is that this little piece of paper saves me a lot of endless unproductive research. The above Frank Lee, buried at Ball Cemetery with his first wife Maude P[auline] Lee. The above Frank has a son Frank of Bartlesville, OK in 1976’ish who was born 1922,… our Frank Lee was born 1900 & was definitely not living in Bartlesville, OK in 1976’ish. Our times lines don’t match up at all!
The 1895 date out of “Indian Territory” jumped out at me, but they came from Springfield, MO. That isn’t what we have known to this date.
The truth is that our Neuhaus family connection moved from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL, at the same time that their mysterious “daughter” would have been pregnant with our Frank Lee b. 1900. They would have had to have met in Milwaukee or Chicago before any move to OK.
My research now turns to the old-fashioned way of requesting death records from the Cook County Clerk. Both daughters & the wife of Emil Neuhaus died before him. There has to be a record of something somewhere… and a lot of Chicago papers to search. I also need to track down the correct marriage for our Herman Neuhaus & see if there is any living cousins that can give us a helpful hint :)
I am going to work this Lee year to the very end :D

You’re What?!

With a degree in Sociology & YEARS of research I’ve concluded a new unprecedented, undocumented, & completely unethical hypothesis:

If we tell enough generations that they’re “Indian” (feathers not dots), then “they” (tribes) can’t deny our claims.

Right?

Umm, OK….

I’ve been chasing Native American lineage “stories” for years now, well against any interests of mine, on many sides & branches of my family to instead find everything else: English, German, African American, Welch, Irish, Swedish,….

I can’t place exactly where the stories originated for these claims, but some go so far back that breaking away from the story would make me the liar & a rebel breaking “family” tradition.

However, I calmly keep beating the paper trail and still come up with negative results for these Native American claims,…just as they have.

So if the proof is in the evidence, then why are they still all holding so tightly to these “false” claims? And where’s their positive evidence for their claims?

My other unprecedented, undocumented, & unethical theory is that there came a time when the US government was trying to make amends for the brutal & unfair treatment of Native Americans by what appeared to be “free land, money, food, & other wealth.” (Of course after years of being persecuted that many true Native Americans denied their heritage to prevent further loss, hardship, & turmoil due to a major lack of trust in US government.) Thus many families living near these tribes (in Oklahoma, AR, KS, etc) struggling to make ends meet thought they could fool the tribes & the government into also receiving these “benefits”. So began these twisted claims that aren’t true…

By no means do I judge. I rather try only to imagine how desperate someone had to feel to try this approach, for it was tricky & if any results occurred, would take years to materialize.

And here we are years later, where “false” claims seem to be some of the family’s ghosts.

I don’t deny that my family branches don’t have a few with true Native American blood, but not on a direct line to my immediate family & 1st cousins. Respecting a people whose way of life that was destroyed & rebutted, is very honorable. Admiring it & wanting to have something unique & special is also human nature… Respecting a people, who to this very day, try with every inch of their being to hold on to the last remaining elements of their culture is also very honorable. Trying to claim it as your own under all false pretenses…is stealing!

Can we stop with the myths & focus on the truth…the evidence & for the love of Puff the Magic Dragon… Prove me wrong!

The Lee Brickwall Update

Posted on

So after months of research & return of many “checks”, it boils down to this:

1. I still know nothing of the Herbert Frank Lee said to be born about 1875 in Milwaukee, WI; the father of Frank Herbert Lee born 22 September 1900 in Pryor Creek, OK.

2. I was able to locate the Neuhaus family & verify the spelling of their name. However, one daughter remains “unknown” & still the very possible mysterious “wife of Herbert Frank Lee”.

3. However, after much research on dates & exact location at the exact dates, I do believe that if indeed the family story is true (& so far has been able to prove most of it) then Herbert Frank Lee & “Mysterious” Neuhaus did indeed meet in Milwaukee, WI, before 1900! There are many Lees in the area  & I can locate the Neuhaus family in Milwaukee from their immigration until their move to Chicago in 1899.

But the question that remains, besides who is Herbert Frank Lee & “mysterious” Neuhaus wife, but why did they go to Pryor Creek, OK, prior to statehood in 1907 & not with the Neuhaus family into Chicago if she was pregnant? Was it the land rush? Was he Cherokee, as the family story holds?

I did however, get this great little letter that said that though she found nothing in Pryor, OK, for the Frank Lee I requested, she found these individuals:

“There is a Frank Lee buried in Nowata Co., OK, at the Ball Cemetery. His dates are 1868-1950. This is probably not your Frank. He is buried next to Maud Pauline Lee 1874-1937. There are three other Lee’s in that same cemetery, Bert S. Lee 1891-?, Bonnie Lee 1898-1970, and Larry Allen Lee (stillborn in 1942). I found several references to the Neuhaus family in Chicago.”

Very interesting! There is no Lees that we are aware of in our family that go by the names aforementioned. However, the references to the Neuhaus family in Chicago has peaked my interests.  What do you think?

Delayed Certificate of Birth

One of the greatest joys of genealogy is finding the documents that verify your lineage & give you clues to the next generational line. I usually get a document & do a “happy dance” for a few minutes, before catching my breath, & sitting down to scour it for all the obvious & hidden information.

Image provided by a relative :) Thank You!

Delayed Certificate of Birth by 51 YEARS!

When it came to Frank Herbert Lee (the son) born 1900 in Pryor Creek, OK, I was certain that his birth certificate was the key to his elusive parents: Frank Herbert Lee (1875) & Clara Marie [sic: Gladys] Nuahause. That was until I got it…

His birth certificate is a Delayed Certificate of Birth… by 51 YEARS! 51 years? WOW!

My immediate first question is: “Why 51 years later?” My second question is: “Where’s the first or original certificate of birth?”

Frank Herbert Lee had to go through a lot of effort to accomplish this feat. He had to have a lot of documentation & witnesses to quasi prove his birth. So the mystery remains in tack about the events that lead to his brith in Pryor Creek, OK, 1900.

What I found even more interesting than a need for a delayed birth certificate just a few years before his death (1955), was that he was able to serve in the US Army without a birth certificate?! I quickly looked to my husband (Navy dude himself) & asked if & how this was even possible. He asked me if there was a war going in during his enlistment…. Yes, of course! World War II. He then assure me, it was possible. (As I still frown & scrunch up my forehead in doubt…)

Another interesting point is that the affidavit of personal knowledge was given by “Wilbert R. Tuttle”. The same man he was boarding with in 1920 in Chicago, IL, right before his marriage in OH the same year. Though some information seems incorrect on the census, & he is listed as just a “boarder” to Wilbert Tuttle, could this be the family he was living with in IL? I presume Wilbert Tuttle had to be close to Frank Herbert Lee to provide an affidavit of personal knowledge, right?

Also all his “witnesses” are from about 1920 in his life & onward. So, is all his family & close family friends dead by 1920? So, how “factual” is a 51 years delayed birth certificate?

I suppose the “original” certificate of birth may have never existed. Oklahoma wasn’t a state until 1907, therefore, before 1907 there was no law mandating vital record reporting. Another possible scenario is if he was indeed part Cherokee, his record of birth wouldn’t be with the state at all.

What I do know is a stork didn’t just drop him off & he wasn’t born from dirt under a rock. He has a story I can’t wait to uncover!

NOTE: this is a document to prove birth first & foremost when it was created, not his lineage. Thus, the mystery continues….

Dusting Off Little Big Tracks – Part II

After a few days of researching the last known location of Frank Lee (son) & his father Frank Herbert Lee, Pryor Creek, OK in 1900, I find that Frank’s parents are lost in a time of constant change. Dusting off their tracks is proving to be a real challenge. Within just a few years things would take another shift & change the complete history of area where present day Pryor, OK, lies.

Due to many relocation efforts by the ever-expanding United States, the Native Americans found themselves all shoved into a small area known as present day Oklahoma. Before Oklahoma became an official state in 1907, Oklahoma fell under many surrounding governments like Kansas & Arkansas, including the Five Civilized Tribes.

Finding my ancestors tracks is tricky. Trying to decided if the Cherokee family story holds water or if he is just a white man in Indian Territory… is proving to be a heck of a challenge. He was definitely in Oklahoma while it was considered Indian Territory, but by 1900 many whites were already living in Oklahoma due to “land runs” and the railroad.

As I fill in the history of the area into Frank Herbert Lee’s timeline, it continues to be confusing:
______________________________________________

1870-1871: Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (now known as Union Railroad) is started & reached current day location in Pryor, OK. At one point Dalton’s Gang attempted to rob a train right there in Pryor.

Abt. 1875 BIRTH: [Milwaukee, Milwaukee], WI – male, unknown date, Frank Herbert or Herbert Frank Lee.

1880 CENSUS: unknown

1887: The area known as Coo-y-yah (“Huckleberry” in Cherokee) was changed to Pryor Creek, OK, by the Post Office.

1889: First Land Run – “unassigned lands” were purchased from the Native Americans by federal government opening up white settlement …the birth of Oklahoma Territory. From 1890-1906 a number of reservations were absorbed into the formation of OK.

April 1889 – First Land Run
September 1891 –
April 1892 –
September 1893-
May 1895 – Last land Run

Homestead Records @ Bureau of Land Management- General Land Office – which I searched & only find a Frank Lee for two years: 1909 & 1925 both far west of the state around the panhandle, not near Mayes County, OK. Also well after the birth of his son Frank Lee, so I am not sure he was driven into Oklahoma for free land.

1890 CENSUS: if wasn’t lost in fire, unknown; There isn’t a solid match on the Indian Territory Censuses 1890-1906, via Ancestry.com either.

1897: Whitaker Orphan’s Homes was established for white orphan’s in Cherokee Territory.

1898: The City officially took Pryor Creek as their name under the laws of Arkansas.

Abt 1900: Okmulgee, OK – Family story holds he met & married Clara [Gladys] Marie Nuahause [Newhause, Nayhouse, Newhouse, etc] about this time in Okmulgee,OK…

1900 CENSUS: Not listed in Pryor Creek, OK census, all 12 pages of whites & Indians.

1900 CHILD: Pryor Creek, Indian Territory (Cherokee Lands), OK; male, 22 September [1899] 1900, Frank Herbert Lee

1907: 16 July, Mayes Country is officially a county in the state of OK. This also marks the beginning of required records reporting. Prior to this, Mayes County was in Cherokee lands.

1909: “Creek” was dropped from Pryor Creek by the post office,

1911: Water, sewage, & gas was established in Pryor.

1942: “more that 50 people were killed during the tornado that struck on April 27, 1942”

DEATH: Unknown – But family story says he probably died in OK, buried in Pryor Creek, OK.
_____________________________________________

I am hoping that you are starting to see the importance of timeline, especially in locating an elusive relative :D

A Time Line In Their History – Part I

Your ancestors had an entire life that not only predicted their lifestyle, but also tells you so much about the person they were & had became.

A collection of records merely give you small scopes of a moment in their life…just a day… A day in which they were born. A day in which the census taker stopped in & gathered their information. A day in which they were married. A day in which they were buried. All just snapshots of a day in their whole life.

When it’s time to create a bigger picture, much like a puzzle board, you have to take into account of their location’s history. (Again, this is where time lines really come in handy!) This is where a general “family historian” crosses over from an amateur to a “genealogist” going professional.

“Aunt Susie” who keeps the family stories, photos & some records (maybe even every record) may have never considered much more to the family’s time line other than the dates on the paper. However, a time line on locations & events, with history, can totally alter what “Aunt Susie’s” stories have been repeating all these years… especially in Native American Research, where specific locality as everything to do with a specific time :)

__________________________________________________________

My elusive Frank Herbert Lee was at one time, at least at the birth of his son in 1900, living in Pryor Creek, OK. His life & his story remain a mystery. So these last few days I wanted to look into his time line more.

Based on family stories & what little facts , here is what we have:

Abt. 1875 BIRTH: [Milwaukee, Milwaukee], WI – male, unknown date, Frank Herbert or Herbert Frank Lee.

1880 CENSUS: unknown

1890 CENSUS: if wasn’t lost in fire, unknown

Abt 1900: Okmuglee, OK – Family story holds he met & married Clara [Gladys] Marie Nuahause [Newhause, Nayhouse, Newhouse, etc] about this time in OK…

1900 CENSUS: unknown

1900 CHILD: Pryor Creek, , OK; male, 22 September [1899] 1900, Frank Herbert Lee

DEATH: Unknown – But family story says he probably died in OK & buried in Pryor Creek, OK…

________________________________________________________________

This is a great way to also keep your notes in your genealogy software program. It will give you a very helpful quick reference not only to the records you are missing, but to the information you need to still gather with the dates & locations! It is like a locations & evidence time line all-in-one! Many individuals over look this step because they think it is redundant or unnecessary. However, this is where the truth starts to build & take shape. It’s VERY IMPORTANT to keep notes.

Follow along over the next few weeks to see how this time line shapes up & more examples and information on how to keep some good notes!

So it is time to fill in some blanks….

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