Genealogy research 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. Oklahoma is home to a wealth of genealogy information waiting to be discovered, so grab a pen and paper and plan a trip to take advantage of some of the best genealogy resources the state has to offer.
Oklahoma State Vital Records Index
Searching for birth and death certificates is often the first hurdle when tracing your family tree. Thanks to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, an online database 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 a document or request a copy.
Oklahoma Historical Society Research Center
Located on the first floor of the Oklahoma History Center 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birth, death and marriage indexes, biographical and topical vertical files, census records and over 2,000 rare and unpublished family histories.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.
Oklahoma Genealogical Society
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 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 are open to the public with an admission fee, and experienced researchers are available to answer research questions. As an added bonus, the OHS Research Center remains open until 7:45pm on the evenings when the society meets.
LDS Family History Centers
Branch facilities of the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Oklahoma’s LDS Family History Centers provide access to microfilmed genealogical records 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 OKC 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.
Tulsa Genealogy Resource Center
Located in Tulsa’s Midtown District, the Tulsa Genealogy Resource 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.
Cherokee National Research Center
The Cherokee National 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 helps visitors with documents, family histories and personalized research. 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.
University of Oklahoma Western History Collections
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. 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.
Oklahoma Territorial Museum & Carnegie Library
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. Carnegie Library's records, 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.
TravelOK.com Genealogy Resources
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 for 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: