Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Wendy Bebout Elliott Ph.D., FUGA for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Oklahoma sil.png
the Oklahoma Family History Research series.
History of Oklahoma
Oklahoma Vital Records
Census Records for Oklahoma
Background Sources for Oklahoma
Oklahoma Maps
Oklahoma Land Records
Oklahoma Probate Records
Oklahoma Court Records
Oklahoma Tax Records
Oklahoma Cemetery Records
Oklahoma Church Records
Oklahoma Military Records
Oklahoma Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Ethnic Groups of Oklahoma
Oklahoma County Resources
Map of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Historical Society Museum and Library

Wiley Post Historical Bldg. Library Center
2100 N. Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4997

The society has a museum and a library with several major collections that do not circulate. It has federal census records, nearly 50,000 books including, but not limited to, the extensive collection of printed volumes belonging to the State Library of the Oklahoma Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the collection of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society, and other standard genealogical reference materials. It has the largest collection of newspapers in the state, Oklahoma state records, and land records. The strength of its printed collections, however, concerns the counties formed from Oklahoma Territory. It maintains a surname file, a good collection of family histories, marriage and cemetery records, military and pension records, and quarterlies from numerous organizations. The society has also produced several categorized guides to its invaluable collection. Some are listed in this chapter under specific topics such as newspapers and churches.

The Fred S. Bard Collection of genealogical material concerning pioneers and history is included in the library. See Oklahoma Historical Library, Guide to the Oklahoma Historical Library (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1993); and Oklahoma Historical Society. Oklahoma State, County, and Town Records (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 2002). A brief online description is at www.ok-history.mus.ok.us/lib/staterec.htm.

The Archives and Manuscripts Division houses some records for the counties of Comanche, Greer, Johnston, Kiowa, Logan, Muskogee, Osage, Payne, Potawatomie, and Swanson. The Indian Archives section of the division maintains excellent resources for Native American research. The following list of microfilmed records is available:

Oklahoma Historical Society. Indian Archives Division. Catalog of Microfilm Holdings in the Archives & Manuscripts Division Oklahoma Historical Society, 1976'1989: Native American Tribal Records and Special Collections. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1989.

(See also Ethnic Groups of Oklahoma).

University of Oklahoma Library

630 Parrington Oval
Monnet Hall, Rm 452
Norman, OK 73019

Genealogical materials, including histories and general reference materials for public use, are among the accessions for the library. Special interests are history of the West, development of the Trans-Mississippi West, and Native American cultures. Its Western History Collection includes the WPA Indian-Pioneer Papers (see Manuscripts). The library maintains more than 1,500 collections pertaining to Oklahoma, Native Americans, and western frontier history. The Manuscripts Division houses over 5,000 maps of Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory, and the Trans-Mississippi West. It also has more than 1,000 sound recordings, including the Doris Duke Indian Oral History Collection and other interviews with Oklahoma's pioneers and leaders. Guides to the holdings are Donald L. Dewitt's two publications: American Indian Resource Materials in the Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990); and Guide to Manuscript Collections: Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994).

Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Division of State Archives and Records
200 NE 18th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 75105

The agency holds the original permanent records generated by state government, including Confederate pension applications and transcripts of minutes of the boards of county commissioners for forty-seven counties (1886'89). The Records Center, a few blocks away at 125 N.E. 21st Street, maintains the non-permanent records for state government and has some records for Cleveland County. A small guide to the collection is Thomas W. Kremm, comp. and ed., Guide to Special Collections of the Oklahoma State Archives (Oklahoma City: Archives and Records Division, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 1980).

Lawton Public Library

Family History Room
110 SW Fourth St.
Lawton, OK 73501

The Family History Room houses the premier genealogical and family history collection in Oklahoma, including over 24,000 books and periodicals and over 6,000 rolls of microfilm. The Civil War collection includes digitized Official Records for the Army and Navy, the Medical and Surgical History, and the Southern Historical Society Papers. It's American Indian records focus on the Comanche, Kiowa and Apache tribes. For lookups contact the Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society.

Oklahoma Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 12986
Oklahoma City, OK 73157-2986

It publishes the Oklahoma Genealogical Society Quarterly (see Oklahoma Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections) and special publications, including the First Families of the Twin Territories, Special Publication No. 13 (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1997). This work includes six pre-statehood maps.

The Oklahoma Territorial Museum

107 E. Oklahoma
Guthrie, OK 73044

It has a collection of early Oklahoma microfilmed records as well as a small collection of histories of the area.

Oklahoma City Public Library

131 Northwest Third St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

The library has a genealogical collection. On request, the staff will check family histories free of charge, and materials are available through interlibrary loan.

Southwest Oklahoma Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 148
Lawton, OK 73502-0148

Publishes the journal The Tree Tracers and many publications concerning Southwest Oklahoma genealogy. The society does Oklahoma Territory Tract Book, obituary and other lookups using the resources in the Lawton Public Library's Family History Room.

Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art

1400 Gilcrease Museum Rd.
Tulsa, OK 74127

Tulsa Genealogical Society Library

9072 E. 31st St.
P.O. Box 585
Tulsa, OK 74101-0585

Five Civilized Tribes Museum

Federal Bldg., Agency Hill
Honor Heights Dr.
Muskogee, OK 74401

Many county and city libraries have some genealogical collections, and most counties have genealogical or historical societies. The Federation of Oklahoma Genealogical Societies, P.O. Box 2531, Ponca City, OK 74602, can help locate currently operating ones (also see page 13).