CFRC shines light on Cherokee genealogy

BY BRITTNEY BENNETT
Former Reporter &
STACIE BOSTON
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
01/16/2018 08:30 AM
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The library at the Cherokee Family Research Center contains books, periodicals, archives and other material available for visitors to use as resource material for tracing Cherokee ancestries. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Family Research Center located within the Cherokee Heritage Center has been assisting individuals with tracing their family genealogies since the 1980s.

“We educate people,” Gene Morris, CFRC genealogist, said. “We’re here to promote our mission, which is preserve, promote and teach Cherokee history and culture. That’s what we do on a daily basis with genealogy.”

The CFRC is one of two locations in Oklahoma specializing in Native American genealogy and should not be confused with the Cherokee Nation Registration Department.

“We (CFRC) have no right to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ that someone is Cherokee,” Ashley Vann, CFRC genealogist, said. “What we are able to tell them is ‘yes’ or ‘no’ about a paper trail to back up that family’s story that’s been handed down from generation to generation.”

Morris and Vann can be hired to help individuals complete their genealogies for a fee of $30 per hour, or $20 per hour for Cherokee National Historical Society members. For those wishing to conduct their own research, the CFRC resources area and the genealogy library are accessible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with paid admission into the museum.

Before visiting, Norris and Vann recommend gathering as much information as possible from several free and paid websites including www.fold3.com, www.ancestry.com,
www.oklahomacemeteries.com and www.findagrave.com.

The CFRC will also process genealogy requests by mail, but the timeframe in which the request is filled depends on demand.

“Depending upon how many folks are back here in the library at one time wanting all of our attention all at the same time and depending on if one of us is here or both us are here at that time,” Norris said. “What we try to do is do those requests in the order they are received.”

For more information, visit www.cherokeeheritage.org.

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