The Osage

The Osage

Osage Links

The Osage Research Page
Osage allotment cards at the McFarlin Library updated link added 15 May 2008
American Indian U.S. Census Figures
Bureau of Indian Affairs
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National Archives of the United States

              Resource Guide to Records on the Osage Indians       
                            10 April 1996
                           Melodie Sanders

If you are having trouble finding Osage information, it is possibly because of the records problem. Most tribes didn't keep written records until well into the 20th century. The records kept have been U.S. government records. Think about it a moment... The people who are *hostile*, *prejudice* (the phrase "the only good indian is a dead indian" was *very* wildly held belief), *discrimitory* are the ones keeping the records... And, the records being kept were census to determine how many people that needed to be removed (by their standards), payment rolls for lands treatied from the Indian groups, bread monies and damage monies for forced removals, forced land sells, and other types of violence... Then after oil was found... Unfortunately, these *are* the records we are working with. So, when you look at these records remember the conditions they were made under.

Recently, an excellent story of one man's discovery of his Osage grandmother's story is:
McAuliffe, Denis. The Deaths of Sybil Bolton: An American History. 1st ed. New York: Times Books, c1994. 337 p.

When you are dealing with mixed race families, just like today with black/white marriages, you have to consider the culture. Until *after* World War I, the American Indians did *not* have any citizenship privileges. Consider this for a moment. Can't vote. Can't seek redress in court of law. If two men came before the law and made claims, the white man was believed, the Indian the liar. If a white man killed or raped an Indian woman, he went scot free. If a Indian threatened a white man, even in defense of his life, home, or family, he was hung.

The Osage also had a specially challenging role. As government wards they were prey to all sorts of righteous up-right citizens who would frequently screw the people. The richness of the oil discoveries fueled quite a bit of graft, envy, and murders.

Just like in this century before the 1960s, when blacks if they could would pass for whites, mixed white/indian people attempted to also "pass" for whites. If you were white, it was not only safer, but your children could get a decent education, etc. etc.

To find more material on the background, the following bibliography may be useful to you:
Wilson, Terry P. Bibliography of the Osage. Series: Native American Bibliography Series, no. 6. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1985. LCCN 85-2087; ISBN 0810818051. [170] p. Indexed.

Another alternative is if you can telnet on Internet or have WWW access you could search the University of Tulsa Library catalog (LIAS). A keyword search on "Osage?" shows 305 hits. :)

There are two ways you can go. You can continue searching white records until you have considerably more information... and/or search Osage records. I'd suggest if you search Indian records, not to limit it to the Osage. Many times the name of the Indian group was not handed down exactly right... For many whites, all Indians were either Cherokee /nice Indians, or Plains Indian/savages, or *rich* Osages... So families that couldn't hide the color... changed names...

The following two guides are oldies, but goodies. The government one is included in the CD-ROM. The CD-ROM also has the treaties, and other nifty odds and ends. You might find ancestors who signed treaties...
U.S. Dept. of Interior. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Answers To Your Questions About American Indians. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1970. Stock no. 2402-00030.
Carpenter, Cecelia Svinth. How To Research American Indian Blood Lines: A Manual on Indian Genealogical Research. [Updated ed.] Orting, WA (P.O. Box 40, 98360- 0040): Heritage Quest, Inc., 1987. ISBN 0913985015.
Indian Question [CD-ROM] Version 1.0. Indianapolis, IN: Objective Computing, 1994. System requirements: 386 IBM PC compatible; 4MB RAM; Windows 3.1; Super VGA; 256 colors, 800x600 screen resolution; CD-ROM drive.

You need to start with the current generation and go backwards. There are 20th century rolls of the Osage. When you check those, then you take the clues the later information gives you and work your way back. When you get to the Pre-Civil War era, the Osage will not have tribal records. There still are a few missionary, explorer, and agency records. These can be found in the National Archives, church archives, and major research libraries such as Harvard's libraries, Bancroft, etc.

The Osage Agency records do sometimes have useful information. They will probably be available in the National Archives microfilm collection in Fort Worth, and probably available via the rental program. (Every issue recently of Everton's Genealogical Helper has an ad for the Rental Program. A few of the National Archives Microfilm catalogs are online. The American Indians microfilm catalog is now available online. It is also available in paper format from the National Archives and in the CD-ROM above. For anyone doing American Indian research, their catalog is a must!

The print citation for the catalog:
United States. National Archives and Records Administration. American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Series: Select Catalogs of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington, DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board. National Archives and Records Administration, 1984.

The National Archives guide book...
Hill, Edward E. Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Government Printing Office, 1981. LCCN: 81-22357; ISBN 0911333134. [490] p. Indexed.

Most of the Osage records can be found either at the Ft. Worth branch of the National Archives, Oklahoma Historical Society, and University of Oklahoma, Bizzell Library's Western History Collection.

Quite a bit about the Osage and their mineral (i.e. Oil) rights can be found in the U.S. Government Congressial records. These records can be found via the Serial sets. (See your local government documents' librarian for more information.) My Grandfather (Ted Byron Hall, Sr.) who had the Cherokee-Choctaw heritage, was one of the Superintendents of the Osage Agency during the 1950s. He and Grandmother worked there in the late 1920-1930 era. Then later in his career he was promoted to the Osage Agency Superintendency. Grandfather testified before Congress several times over the controversy of water-flooding the oil fields to boost production. These records and others can be located with the help of the Serial Set.

The Osage would be included in the 1900-1920 Federal Census records (National Archives microfilm). The 1900 census had a special Indian schedule. The Osage like the so called Five Civilized Tribes were enrolled on a tribal roll around the turn of the century. The enrollment cards for this roll are housed here at University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Special Collections. The Special Collections people has added the actual roll with peoples names. :)
Osage Allotment Cards Collection This is unavailable while the McFarlin Library is updating there server, as soon as possible I will relink to them.
 North American Indian Manuscripts and Documents This is unavailable while the McFarlin Library is updating there server, as soon as possible I will relink to them.
(And if you are interested in the books and manuscripts in Special Collections, this is a copy of the access policy and procedures. :)
Access Policies and Procedures this is unavailable while the McFarlin Library is updating there server, as soon as possible I will relink to them.
These are the files on the Osage and Indian holdings. There's more, but of less interest to genealogists. :)

If you succeed at finding your direct ancestor on the Osage Allotment Rolls, and you are ready to begin the enrollment process, you may want to find a copy of the following book. This book is useful in that it gives the reader some idea of what's involved.
Morningstar, Heather. How To Enroll in an Indian Tribe. Denver, CO (10134 University Park Station, 80210-0134): Arrowstar Publishing, 1993. ISBN 0935151206. [298] p. Not indexed.

Two titles you should find interesting:
FBI File on the Osage Indian Murders. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, [1986]. 3 microfilm reels, and 1 guide.
Burns, Louis F. Osage Mission Baptisms, Marriages, and Interments, 1820-1886. Fallbrook, CA: Ciga Press, c1986. LCCN 86-156934; ISBN 0942574087. [867] p. Indexed.

Sources of books, tapes, etc. for purchase:
Arizona's American Indian Store
Good luck in your searching!

= Melodie Sanders                 McFarlin Library =
= Opinions expressed are mine, not of the University of Tulsa (Oklahoma)=
= This message has been provided for your personal use. It may be shared=
= with others for their personal use, *if* it is not published,         =
= reposted, or reprinted without asking for permission. Please ask!     =
=     Copyright, 1996 Melodie Sanders                                   =