Today for part of the today I staffed the booth for the Oklahoma Genealogical Society. It is always fun to talk to people about their Oklahoma roots. Persons researching family in Oklahoma express a great deal of frustration–Oklahoma won’t turn loose of their vital records, not even an index. And since it’s a relatively new state, entering the Union in November 1907, vital records are really not all that consistent until the mid 1930s. I was talking to a Texan who was frustrated by this, but she also asked some questions that reminded me how much we have to get out of our skin when doing research. Because Texas kept birth records at the county level, she assumed Oklahoma did too. Not so, as a general rule. And then she asked how long people had to be deceased before their death certificate could be released. In Texas, people have to have been deceased at least 25 years–I blogged about my extreme frustration with the Texas system earlier. As far as I know, there is no time requirement nor do you have to prove relationship, as is also the case in Texas.
One of my favorites was Meg Hacker’s talk about the criminal case files for Fort Smith housed at the National Archives in Fort Worth. She says if you have family in western Arkansas or Indian Territory during the time period, you can probably find them in the index. She said she usually makes this statement and some audience members are just sure that their relatives would not be in the index to criminal cases. She says she hasn’t been wrong yet–there were just so many ways to get into trouble in Judge Parker’s court. So if your family was in this area, take a look at the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) at NARA. Some members of my family are in there–they were in western Arkansas and they were evidently in violation of one of the liquor laws. Meg indicated that it was common to sell pound cake or candy and include a free shot of whiskey. I’ll be interested to see if my family were this entrepreneurial of if they just went for the straight sale when I order a copy of the file.
My really serendipitious find today was a post card depicting the huge inn and livery stable building operated by my husband’s great-grandfather in Stamford, Texas. There are little girls standing out front who may be family members–there were only 12 children. :-) I’ll post a picture of the postcard later–I evidently put it in my car with the load of books I bought for the library. I was prowling through the Texas postcards to see if there were any for my hometown in the panhandle–didn’t find those but I was thrilled to find the photo of Thomas Spindle’s Stamford enterprise.
Tonight is the banquet and tomorrow it’s back home. I picked up literature about the next conference in Knoxville. Hope I can make that one too.