Debra Osborne Spindle is the librarian in the Research Division of the Oklahoma Historical Society. She has been a professional genealogist for five years and an avid genealogist for over 30! She was the manager of the downtown library in the Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County for 10 years prior to her work at the Historical Society. Debra has served as an administrator for the University of Oklahoma’s School of Library and Information Studies as well as adjunct professor. Her prior teaching experience includes working with adults returning to university to finish a degree, teaching communication at the university level for 16 years and 7th grade for two years. She holds a PhD in Communication and an MLIS (masters in library and information studies) from the University of Oklahoma.
Debra’s current position utilizes her knowledge of American Indian resources, assisting persons seeking to document Indian ancestry as well as locating people in early Oklahoma and Indian Territories. As an affiliate of the National Archives, the Oklahoma Historical Society Research Division holds original records for the Five Civilized Tribes. Debra has extensive knowledge of these holdings, and used them in researching for the Who Do You Think You Are? television show. Her article “Claiming Native Heritage: Iron Eyes Cody and Chief Thundercloud” is included in the Society’s publication “Oklahoma @ the Movies.” She provided genealogical research for the “Governors of Oklahoma” opening exhibit and located relatives of the inductees into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. “Researching the History of Your Home”, “Researching Your Civil War Ancestor”, “County Histories” and “Finding Your American Indian Ancestor” are among the research guides Debra has published for the Library.
Debra has attended multiple IGHR courses including Advanced Methodology, Military Records, African American Research, Writing and Publishing, and Southern Research. She is an alum of ProGen (6) and attended the RIGSA Workshop in Fort Worth. In addition, she has completed graduate courses in government documents, Indian resources in Washington, DC, and archive management. She has researched in repositories across the United States, including national and state archives as well as public libraries and courthouses. Debra has taught genealogy courses for community education and is a regular lecturer on a wide range of topics such as finding females, use of internet resources, internet search techniques, beginning genealogy, blogging, vital records and their substitutes, African American and American Indian research. She holds membership in multiple genealogy societies, including the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Lone Star APG Chapter, and now, the Council for the Advancement for Forensic Genealogy.