To make searching for historical documents easier the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) and the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s Office partnered to digitize and index Oklahoma and Indian Territories incorporation records.
Debra Spindle, OHS research librarian, explained on her website that the ledger books—dated 1890 to 1907—were created as new businesses and municipalities began operating.
“Keep in mind that included are transactions for churches and lodges and private business as well as the larger banks and coal and, of course, oil companies,” she says. “While the database is not searchable by personal name, it is quite user friendly if you spend a bit of time getting use to the terminology.”
To get used to it, we chose a familiar term, “Cherokee,” and searched all the available years in Indian Territory. The search returned 21 results, including an entity called Cherokee Publishing and Printing Company incorporated in 1906 in Tahlequah, Indian Territory.
Spindle used the records to track down relatives who may have worked at mill in the Taloga area. She was led there by the 1910 Census, which lists her grandfather’s father and uncle as working at a mill in the area.
“If you had people pre-statehood Oklahoma, take a look. You might find information on a church or a lodge they were a member—or, if you’re related to a mover and shaker, perhaps even the incorporation papers for their oil and/or gas company,” Spindle suggests.
Access the database at OKHistory.org.