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By Lindsay Vidrine
Genealogy has recently become one of the most popular hobbies in the United States. As home to 39 tribal nations, countless waves of pioneer settlers, and the genesis of the great Okie migration during the Dust Bowl days, many people tracing their ancestry are finding their ancestors’ footprints right here in Oklahoma.
“With genealogical tourism on the rise nationally, it’s important that Oklahoma be on the forefront of this emerging trend”, said Deby Snodgrass, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “The new genealogy resources on TravelOK.com make us a major contender by allowing visitors to find their connection to Oklahoma’s rich history.”
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department recently announced a new feature on TravelOK.com which assists those looking to connect with their familial ancestry.
The Genealogy Section on TravelOK.com is a user-friendly tool that guides visitors through a wealth of ancestral research destinations and resources all throughout Oklahoma. Searches on the site are broken down by county with quick links and information available on research libraries that contain copies of the Dawes Rolls, as well as county courthouses that house original land patents dating back to the land run. The new section on TravelOK.com also directs visitors to genealogical and historical societies, cemeteries, ghost towns and historical school houses, as well as tourism destinations in each county.
In addition to online resources, there are more than a dozen historical museums, libraries and other facilities for those who prefer to cull through pieces of history in person, one artifact and document at a time.
For example, the Talbot Research Library and Museum in Colcord, OK is a non-profit, free museum and research library consisting of resource books, microfilm and more. The library provides information for genealogy research in northeast Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas and the Cherokee Nation.
While you’re there, check out some of the other buildings on the property, including a blacksmith shop, a post office, a general store and the Adair Building which holds large farm machinery. A recent addition to the property is a 1920s era one-room school building.
The Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City is another resource for genealogy research. The John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick Research Center is located on the first floor of the center and is open to the general public with no charge to use the research facilities. Here visitors will find a repository of books, archival materials, and family research records about Oklahoma and its people.
Since 1893 the Oklahoma Historical Society’s collections have grown to 30 million pages of newspapers, 4 million documents on American Indian history, 6,000 manuscript collections, 3 million photographs, 10,000 maps, and vital statistics on families that range from U.S. Census records to cemetery and county records for most counties in the state. If a person is trying to build their family tree, a visit to the OHS Research Division is a great place to start.
For these and other ideas to help trace generations of stories and ancestry, visit www.TravelOK.com/Genealogy.