I had registered for "Doing the Dawes", which was presented by Kathy Huber, a librarian with the Tulsa City-County Library and Genealogy Center, through the Friends of the National Archives, Southeast Region. During the webinar, Kathy started showing some easy steps to look up an ancestor on the Dawes Rolls images on Fold3, a subscription website. Since I have a subscription, I decided to follow her directions as she was talking.
I clicked on "Browse Records" to bring up the main category list (at left). I went to the Non-military records, and clicked on "Native American Collection" to bring up that list of publications.
Then I typed in "Taylor Smith" in the search box. Taylor Smith was my mother-in-law's grandfather. His son George Allen Smith, Eula Mae's father, was born in Baxterville, Mississippi.
Searching for the name "Smith", in any collection, is bound to get you thousands of hits, and this was no exception - over 9,000 results! But my eye was caught immediately by the first two listed, because they were in Mississippi.
Words can't describe my excitement when I opened the first record and read the location at the top - Baxterville, Mississippi!
This was only 1 record in this collection of Dawes Enrollment Cards. I had seen that there was another collection of Dawes Enrollment Packets, so I decided to explore that.
The first page (of 27 pages!!) in this packet verified that I was indeed looking at the records for my husband's great-grandfather. Four members of the Smith family applied for registration in 1901 - Taylor Smith, his brother Seth W. Smith, and his sons George A. Smith and Lewis C. Smith. The names listed in this registration packet were all familiar ones - Frederick Rester, Nancy Smith, Louisa Breland. And it appears that there is still more paperwork (these affidavits that are listed) that are not online, but are probably kept at the National Archives. I was jubilant!! My mother-in-law was right - her father DID have a roll number!
As I listened to the rest of the webinar, I set up a DropBox for extended family members around the country, and sent them invitations. Taylor Smith had 27 pages in his packet, including a priceless hand-drawn family tree, that took his ancestry back two generations, to names I had no prior evidence for. George, Lewis, and Seth Smith had 8 to 10 pages each, so I created a DropBox for each of them. For the next hour or so, I was busy online, finding confirmation of these names on census records, which I also saved to DropBox.
As a professional genealogist, I am really excited to find confirmation of what Eula Mae had said for years. At the same time, the information contained in these papers for Taylor Smith seems to disprove a belief held near and dear by family, and by Eula Mae herself - that she was full-blooded Cherokee and Choctaw Indian. Taylor Smith, in his affidavit, stated that he was only 1/8 Choctaw, through his grandmother Julia Bond. One of Eula's great grandson did a DNA test, and was puzzled and dismayed when the results showed "0% Native American ancestry for 5 generations."
The answer to this puzzle may be resolved by obtaining more records. DNA testing of Eula's four remaining children (now in their 60's and 70's) may give us some answers, along with death certificates. All of which serves to confirm what I've found throughout my 35+ years of research - there is always something more to discover!