Whether a beginning genealogist or a seasoned veteran, this list of the top genealogy resources in Oklahoma will take your family research to new heights.
As family research enthusiasts can attest to, genealogy doesn’t have to be intimidating. All it takes to get started is a blank family tree, the willingness to dive right in, and a helpful list of resources to help get you started. Oklahoma is home to a wealth of genealogy information waiting to be discovered, so grab a pen and paper and plan a trip to Oklahoma to take advantage of some of the best genealogy resources the state has to offer. Explore the following list and get started researching your family history in Oklahoma today.
Searching for birth and death certificates is often the first hurdle when tracing your family tree. Now, thanks to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, there is an easy online resource that can instantly pull results from over eight million records, including 125-year-old birth certificates and 50-year-old death certificates. Visit the Oklahoma State Vital Records Index to search by name, date of birth or death, county and gender. Although it is free to search for the record, there is a $15 fee to view your document or request a copy.
Located on the first floor of the Oklahoma History Center near the state capitol complex in Oklahoma City, the OHS Research Center is the preeminent location for researching genealogy in the state. Open to the public, the OHS Research Center houses an extensive and valuable collection of records, published volumes and microfilm. The center’s collection includes birth, death and marriage indexes, biographical and topical vertical files, census records and over 2,000 rare and unpublished family histories.
Consisting of over 4,000 titles on approximately 30,000 reels of microfilm, the OHS Research Center’s collection of newspapers is the oldest, largest and most complete collection in the state and includes the Oklahoman Obituary Index. Other highlights of the center’s holdings include an index to the 1890 Oklahoma Territorial Census, American Indian heritage resources and Oklahoma County marriage records. Computers and trained research staff are also available to visitors. There is no charge to use the research facilities.
In operation since 1955, the Oklahoma Genealogical Society offers regular seminars and workshops that assist members and non-members with their Oklahoma genealogy research. Meetings of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society are held on the first Monday of each month at the Oklahoma History Center and feature prominent genealogical lecturers and specialized program topics. General meetings of the Oklahoma Genealogical Society are open to the public with an admission fee, and experienced researchers are available before the meeting to answer research questions. As an added bonus, the OHS Research Center remains open until 7:45pm on the evenings when the society meets.
Branch facilities of the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Oklahoma’s LDS Family History Centers provide access to microfilmed genealogical records that are housed in the main Family History Library. The primary Oklahoma branch, located off NW 63rd Street in Oklahoma City, offers interlibrary loans of more than 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed records, which overwhelmingly contain records prior to 1930. The LDS Family History Center also provides computer access to premium family history software and websites that generally charge for subscriptions. Visit the center for collections that include birth, marriage, death, probate, land and military records. Everyone is welcome to visit the center and use its resources. Small fees do apply to loaned microfilm and photocopies. For a complete list of LDS Family History Centers in Oklahoma, click here.
Located in Tulsa’s Midtown District, the Tulsa Genealogy Center houses one of the largest genealogical collections in Oklahoma. Equipped with computers, research and lounge areas, print and microfilm collections and regular genealogy workshops, the Tulsa Genealogy Center is a premier location for Oklahoma genealogy research. Visitors have access to vital records, complete census records for Oklahoma, state and county histories, immigration lists and military records, as well as rosters of Union and Confederate soldiers, the final rolls of the Five Civilized Tribes and a heraldry section. Other highlights of the collection include the Cemetery Index of Oklahoma, a 77-volume series which lists all known cemeteries in the state, and the DAR Lineage Book.
Not to be confused with the Tulsa Genealogy Center, the Tulsa Genealogical Society Library features over 7,000 books, microfiche and microfilm available for research. Free and open to the public, the library will also make special arrangements for out-of-state visitors and offers monthly meetings and genealogy classes. The majority of the library’s materials are books, which are conveniently organized by state. While Oklahoma receives the most attention, the library also offers significant coverage of Missouri and Arkansas. Holdings include a microfiche index of Tulsa County marriages 1907-1994, voter registration books, birth and death notices in Oklahoma and Indian Territories from 1871 forward, a catalog of oral histories and microfilmed copies of The Tulsa Daily World through 1914.
Located within the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, the Cherokee Family Research Center aids anyone searching for their Cherokee roots. With resources detailing the Cherokee people from the Trail of Tears (1838-1839) to the Dawes Enrollment (1900-1906), the center is able to help visitors with Cherokee documents, family histories and personalized research. Open to anyone with paid admission to the museum, the research center also features skilled genealogists on staff to help provide research into your family tree. Resources include the 1890 Census for the Cherokee Nation, the Dawes Roll and Cherokee Advocate newspapers from 1845-1906. Specific research requests require an appointment and hourly fees. Donations are always appreciated.
A wonderful resource for early Oklahoma and Western history, the Western History Collections on the University of Oklahoma campus in Norman provides genealogical information on settlers and pioneers of the Trans-Mississippi West. The highlight of the collection is the Draper Manuscript, also referred to as the Draper Papers, which contains a collection of pioneer interviews from the 1740s through the War of 1812. The documents include names of parents and grandparents, as well as birthplaces, military service and more. The Western History Collection also includes a vast array of primary materials such as diaries, journals, personal correspondence, sound recordings and oral histories by Oklahoma pioneers spanning from 1861 to 1936.
Known as the oldest existing Carnegie library in the state and located in Guthrie, Oklahoma’s territorial state capital, the Oklahoma Territorial Museum & Carnegie Library is a great resource for early statehood history and Logan County research tools. The records within the Carnegie Library, which include a database of all known burials in Logan County and marriage records from 1890-1906, are available to researchers by appointment. Volunteer staff are also on-hand to provide assistance with microfilm and other materials.
Conveniently organized as a gateway to county-specific resources and local genealogical societies, TravelOK.com’s comprehensive genealogy section is one of the best places to start for the genealogy novice or those specifically seeking information about Oklahoma ancestors – and it’s only a few clicks away! Simply narrow down your search by county and discover an astonishing amount of clickable information including everything from American Indian tribal material to interment rolls for cemeteries. Each county page also features county courthouse information, a list of libraries, detailed maps and places to visit while you’re there. Completely new to genealogy? Take the first steps with our handy Genealogy Starter Kit and download pedigree charts, family group sheets and individual research checklists for free!
For area-specific genealogy information, check out these local sources for family history research statewide: