Census Records for Oklahoma
This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott Ph.D., FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
• Indexed—1860 (partial), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930
• Soundex—1900, 1910 (Miracode), 1920
• 1860 (partial)
Union Veterans Schedules
• 1890 (Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory)
Those who were not Native American but who were residing in Indian Territory were enumerated in the federal census of 1860. These schedules are recorded under “Indian Lands” and follow the enumeration for Yell County, Arkansas, in the microfilm editions. Some Native Americans were also included in the slave schedules of 1860. See Sharron Standifer Ashton, “1860 Slave Schedules: Indian Lands West of Arkansas,” Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly 36 (June 1991): 67-71, and Frances Wood, Indian Lands West of Arkansas (Oklahoma) Population Schedule of the United States Census of 1860 (n.p.: Arrow Printing Co., 1964).
In the 1890 and 1900 census enumerations, the present-day state was divided into Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. None of the population returns for 1890 survived, but returns for both territories in the special schedule enumerating Union veterans and widows of Union veterans of the Civil War in 1890 are available on one microfilm reel. The only extant population census enumerations for 1890 for Indian Territory is for the Cherokee Nation (see Census Records—Native American, below). An Internet site for an index to the 1890 Oklahoma Territorial Census is www.ok-history.mus.ok.us/lib/1890/1890index.htm.
Census enumerations for 1900 for both Oklahoma and Indian territories are on separate microfilm reels. Reel numbers for the area called “Oklahoma” follow those for Ohio but include only schedules for Oklahoma Territory counties, Oklahoma Territory Indian Reservations, and Indian military and naval jurisdictions. The 1900 census for Indian Territory is grouped separately in microfilm reels following the territories of Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii. Indicating a final resolution to the dispute over jurisdiction of Greer County, which functioned as part of Texas between 1886 and 1896, Greer County was included in the 1900 Oklahoma Territory census. In 1910 the first federal census for the state of Oklahoma was enumerated.
Microfilm copies of all these federal census returns are at the Oklahoma Historical Society, National Archives, other major libraries, and the FHL.
• Cherokee—1880, 1890, 1896
The Cherokee Nation took its own censuses in 1880 and 1890, and according to the Indian Archives at the Oklahoma Historical Society, the censuses are considered fairly accurate. The originals are at the Indian Archives where microfilm copies are available for sale but not for interlibrary loan. Other repositories may have copies. In 1896, in association with the Dawes Commission in determining Cherokee citizenship, another census was taken but is not considered as accurate, with many claims of citizenship eventually overturned.
Other enumerations are included at the Indian Archives, Oklahoma Historical Society, and among the Bureau of Indian Affairs resources (see page 16). Some published censuses of Native Americans include:
- Hook, Charlene. 1851 Census Drennen Roll of Cherokee and Court Claims Records. Tulsa, Okla.: Indian Nations Press, 195–.
Wagner, Rosalie, comp. Cherokee Nation 1890 Census, Index of Persons Living Under Permit in the Coo-Wee-Scoo-Wee and Delaware Districts. Vinita, Okla.: Northeast Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1986.
An Oklahoma Territory census was taken in June 1890 for the seven territorial counties. Finding aids include a card index at the Oklahoma Historical Society and James W. Smith, Smith’s First Directory of Oklahoma Territory: For the Year Commencing August 1st, 1890 (Guthrie, Okla.: the author, 1890). Brian Basore, Basore’s Name Finding List for Smith’s First Directory of Oklahoma Territory August 1, 1890 (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma History Society) is a helpful guide to the unindexed directory. In 1907 a census was recorded, but the only remaining schedule is for Seminole County.
Some school censuses are available at the respective county’s superintendent of schools. These records may contain full name of student, birth date, and parents’ names.