Sooner Born, Sooner Bred

April 8, 2011

My children's great-great-grandmother Virginia Armstrong with her son, their great-grandfather, Noah.

My children's great-great-grandmother Virginia Armstrong with her son, their great-grandfather, Noah.

That other university in Oklahoma — the one that isn’t Oklahoma State, those poor things — has a saying: “I’m Sooner born, Sooner bred and when I die, I’m Sooner dead.” I’ve been looking at a lot of Sooner State resources lately and came across this Oklahoma lineage society the other day. The qualification is this:

“If you can prove each generation of your lineage back to an individual who settled in one of Oklahoma’s territories on or before 16 November 1907, you are eligible for membership in First Families of the Twin Territories.”

For those of you not familiar with Oklahoma’s history, the state began as two separate territories, Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, that combined at statehood. Sadly, yours truly doesn’t qualify for membership. Bummer. But my children qualify through their father’s great-grandparents, Thomas and Virginia Armstrong. Ironically, 99 percent of my ex-husband’s lines are through Missouri. And he, like his parents, was born there. Thomas was apparently an abberation. (No comments from the peanut gallery — Texas, I’m looking at you).

Family lore says Thomas participated in one of the early Oklahoma land runs and owned property near what eventually became the site of the now infamous Murrah Building. The 1900 census shows them living in Elk, Okla. By 1910, the Armstrongs had moved on to Texas. I found Elk (which no longer exists) on a historic map that puts it near what is now downtown Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, this find came early in my research, and I didn’t document the source of that map. (I know better now, thanks to the FTU course Source Documentation 101.) Anyway, I will be researching this connection when I make my trip to the Oklahoma Historical Society sometime this month.

First Families of the Twin Territories might not be the DAR, but when you come from a state where most of its history is post-Civil War and “historic” buildings are 100 years old or younger, I’ll take what I can get!

—Nancy

Learn more with these Oklahoma resources:


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Nancy Shively of Skiatook, OK. Read all her posts at Family Tree University.

 

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