Dear Ms. Holman,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
When embarking on Native American genealogy, please note that the records in the custody of NARA often only detail those living on the reservations or being administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If an ancestor was Native American and left the reservation or did not have interaction with the United States Government as such, they will not be recorded in NARA’s records and tracing their genealogy may be difficult.
If William Riley East or his parents were documented members of a Native American tribe they may be listed in the series titled Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940 (M595) in the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Record Group 75). For more information about these non-digitized records, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at email@example.com.
If Mr. East or his parents applied for membership in the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, or Seminole tribes they may appear in the series Applications for Enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898 - 1914 (also known as the Dawes Rolls) in Record Group 75. Most of these records have been digitized and are available using the National Archives Catalog. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate a file unit regarding William East among the digitized records. For more information about the non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at Fort Worth (RM-FW) at firstname.lastname@example.org. We suggest that you review the NARA web page for Dawes Rolls as an overview of how to research that resource.
Another potential resource for your research is probate records. These are primarily maintained in state and county records but since Oklahoma did not become a state until 1907 some of its probate court records were maintained by the U.S. District Court system. We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Probate Case Files, 1892 - 1907, Probate Records Book, 1906 - 1907, Case Files, ca. 1895 - ca. 1915, and Records Book, 1891 - 1907 of the Eastern District of Oklahoma in the Records of District Courts of the United States (Record Group 21). For more information about these records please contact the National Archives at Fort Worth (RM-FW) at email@example.com.
You may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RM-FW. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.
Further probate records that may be useful to your research on Mr. East and his family are in the custody of the Clerks of the Chancery Courts in Mississippi, Clerks of the Kansas state District Courts in Kansas, and Clerks of the Oklahoma state District Courts. The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Oklahoma State Archives, and Kansas Historical Society may be able to assist you in locating these records as well.
In addition if you have not already done so, we suggest that you contact the Mississippi State Department of Health to request a search for marriage and death certificates for Mr. East. You may wish to note any name variants or broaden your search for the surrounding years. Also, you may wish to contact the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics to request searches for his parents’ marriage and death certificates. The FamilySearch Research wikis for Mississippi Vital Records, Kansas Vital Records, and Oklahoma Vital Records may be useful as well.
We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!