Oklahoma Military Records

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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
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the Oklahoma Family History Research series.
History of Oklahoma
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Census Records for Oklahoma
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Oklahoma Probate Records
Oklahoma Court Records
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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

Military records are available for Oklahoma prior to statehood. Bounty-land and military service records are located either at the National Archives or the Southwest Region branch in Fort Worth (see page 12). See also Odie B. Faulk, Kenny A. Franks, and Paul F. Lambert, eds., Early Military Forts and Posts in Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1978). For a historical perspective, see Brad Agnew, Fort Gibson: Terminal on the Trail of Tears (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1980), who argues that the troops served as a cultural buffer between whites and Indians. Names of soldiers who accompanied Native Americans during the federal government's forced removal of tribes can be found in U.S. Senate Document 512.

Confederate and Union service as well as other military service records are available from the National Archives (see pages 11-12). Some Civil War applications for pensions and pension records are extant at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, State Archives Division (see Oklahoma Archives, Libraries, and Societies). Included are records for Confederate veterans (and their widows) who served elsewhere but were residents of Oklahoma when allocated pensions. These are filed numerically and indexed separately. See Oklahoma Board of Pension Commissioners, Confederate Pension Applications for Soldiers and Sailors (Oklahoma City: Archives and Records Division, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, n.d.). Data on a Confederate pension from Oklahoma may be obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Welfare, Capitol Office Bldg., Oklahoma City, OK 73103.

Index to Applications for Pensions from the State of Oklahoma Submitted by Confederate Soldiers, Sailors and their Widows (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1969), Special Publication No. 2, gives veteran's name, application number, and number of the reel for locating the pension file on microfilm.

Native American military units were part of Texas organizations, and are filed with those units, not as separate units for Indian Territory. Some confederate service records may be filed with the State Adjutant General's Office or the Oklahoma Historical Society, Archives and Manuscripts Division. See also Grant Foreman, History of the Service and List of Individuals of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Confederate Army, 2 vols. (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Historical Society, 1948); and Frank Cunningham, General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians, with a foreword by Brad Agnew (1959. Reprint. Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998).

Other publications include N. Dale Talkington and Deone K. Pearcy, Tributes of Blue: Obrcy, ituaries of Civil War Union Soldiers and Sailors Buried in Oklahoma. (Tehachapi, Calif.: T. P. Productions, 1996) and Oklahoma Genealogical Society Special Publication No. 15, Veteran Burials in the State of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Genealogical Society, 1999).

Online sources include the USGenWeb (see page 16) project for Oklahoma military records, and an online guide to Oklahoma Historical Society materials in its collection is available www.ok-history.mus.ok.us/lib/military.htm.

The Oklahoma Historical Society maintains a card file of veterans buried in Oklahoma. These data cards may include full name, birth date, death date, burial place, and military service unit data. The society also has incomplete records for the Confederate Home located in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Other records at the society include those contained in the Indian Archives section, such as muster rolls of the Indian Home Guard, which are on microfilm. These are arranged by tribe, then by unit.

A description of records held in the National Archives for World War I draft records is:

United States. Selective Service System. Oklahoma Historical Society. Oklahoma, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917'1918. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M1509. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1987'1988.