Minnesota State Archives

Minnesota State Archives The Minnesota State Archives is a department of the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), collecting historical records from almost 4,000 units of government in the state from the territorial period to the present day.

The State Archives collections are available for public use through the Minnesota Historical Society Library (http://sites.mnhs.org/library/home). For more information on what the State Archives collects, visit http://sites.mnhs.org/library/content/state-archives

If you're interested in volunteering with the State Archives, visit http://www.mnhs.org/volunteers/volunteer

For more information on other activities of the State Archives, visit http://www.mnhs.org/statearchives

Operating as usual

Here's the August 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for t...
09/02/2021

Here's the August 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Manuscripts collection and State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. Of special note, is the digitization of the Adjutant General's Military Service Cards, which are a primary resource for genealogists and others researching ancestors who served in the military from the Civil War era through World War II. Interesting fact: SAM-1 is the library catalog designation for the Cards, and means State Archives Microfilm (SAM), and #1 was the first microfilm set of records added to the State Archives about 50 years ago; the State Archives now has over 400 sets of microfilm, ranging from one microfilm reel to hundreds of reels in each set. Gradually, microfilm in all of our collections is being digitized for wider access and use. And check out the Metropolitan Airports Commission videos, and the Migrant Affairs Office meeting recordings that have been digitized.

Unfortunately, the wild fires in California, Canada and northern Minnesota have been in the news for too many weeks now,...
08/30/2021

Unfortunately, the wild fires in California, Canada and northern Minnesota have been in the news for too many weeks now, and these 1920s-era Minnesota Forest Service posters help document that fire prevention is an ongoing concern. And here is the list of July 2021 acquisitions to the State Archives collection: https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/july.php

Better late than never!   Here's the July 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids a...
08/30/2021

Better late than never! Here's the July 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Sound & Visual collection, Manuscripts collection, and State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. Featured is a short video about how our staff preserves digital images, and an update about the extensive Hubert H. Humphrey collection finding aid. And totally unrelated, how's your Estonian? Can anyone translate this MN Forest Service poster, without doing that Google translator thing? W.T. Cox was Minnesota's first state forester and served 1911-1924.

Better late than never! Here's the July 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Sound & Visual collection, Manuscripts collection, and State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. Featured is a short video about how our staff preserves digital images, and an update about the extensive Hubert H. Humphrey collection finding aid. And totally unrelated, how's your Estonian? Can anyone translate this MN Forest Service poster, without doing that Google translator thing? W.T. Cox was Minnesota's first state forester and served 1911-1924.

Here's the June 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the...
07/20/2021

Here's the June 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Manuscripts collection and State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. The papers of Minnesota artist Mike Lynch are featured from the Manuscripts collection. Also, newly digitized records in the State Archives collection include St. Peter State Hospital death records (dated 1961-1989) http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00080.xml, and cemetery records (dated 1867-1978) http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr00085.xml. And the journals (minutes), dated 1852-1977, of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners were digitized which is a huge accomplishment! http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/gr01661.xml

Just a reminder, you can check out recent acquisitions to the State Archives collection here:  https://www.mnhs.org/pres...
06/21/2021

Just a reminder, you can check out recent acquisitions to the State Archives collection here:
https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/. Every month new records from Minnesota state and local governments are added to the collection.

Here's the May 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the ...
06/21/2021

Here's the May 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Manuscripts collection, State Archives collection, and Sound and Visual Collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. Since May was Pride Month, featured are the audio recordings from Leo Treadway's Minnesota GLBT Movement papers which have been digitized; non-copyrighted titles are now available for listening online.

Pardon the delay in sharing this with you, but here's the April 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and ...
05/21/2021

Pardon the delay in sharing this with you, but here's the April 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Manuscripts collection and the State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. The late Walter Mondale is featured in the update.

Photos from Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society's post
05/12/2021

Photos from Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society's post

Here's the March 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for th...
04/16/2021

Here's the March 2021 update from our cataloging staff featuring new and updated finding aids and catalog records for the Manuscripts collection and the State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm. You'll notice quite a bit of digital content. Enjoy!

Action shots!  We're steadily working hard to acquire, process and catalog materials for the Society's collections.  Her...
03/09/2021

Action shots! We're steadily working hard to acquire, process and catalog materials for the Society's collections. Here's the February update from our cataloging staff about new and updated finding aids and catalog records for our Sound & Visual collection, the Manuscripts collection and the State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

Recently cataloged in our Library collection is the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) web page with examples of digit...
03/09/2021

Recently cataloged in our Library collection is the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) web page with examples of digital videos done by local media producers and community organizations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/equity/funding/covidexamples.html#aa. This is part of the Minnesota Historical Society’s effort to chronicle Minnesota’s response to the pandemic, and State Archives staff are working with the MDH to document the department’s public health response to the pandemic. Already, the MDH has transferred to the State Archives digital copies of many videos documenting how communities of color, American Indian residents, LGBTQ residents, residents with disabilities, and residents with limited English proficiency have responded to the pandemic. Additional digital videos, public service announcements, media briefings, and selected data from the online MDH COVID- 19 Dashboard will be transferred to the State Archives this year and next.

Our cataloging staff worked hard in January 2021, and featured this month are Jolly Green Giant records, specifically au...
02/08/2021

Our cataloging staff worked hard in January 2021, and featured this month are Jolly Green Giant records, specifically audiovisual material that was digitized in 2020. Here are new and updated finding aids and catalog records for our Sound & Visual collection, the Manuscripts collection and the State Archives collection: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm.

Here's the link to the State Archives December 2020 acquisitions https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/december.p...
01/15/2021

Here's the link to the State Archives December 2020 acquisitions https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/december.php. Court records are one of the strengths of the State Archives collection, and the records transferred from Le Sueur County will be valuable for family and local history research. The records date from the Minnesota Territorial period, and are of the district, probate and county courts. Included are registers of civil, criminal and probate actions; plaintiff and defendant indexes; oversize civil and criminal case files; and will record books. The registers and indexes will allow enhanced access to Le Sueur County court records, and the will record books complement the existing set preserved in the State Archives.

Our superlative cataloging staff has been busy the past month, and featured in December 2020 are the papers of artist Ha...
01/04/2021

Our superlative cataloging staff has been busy the past month, and featured in December 2020 are the papers of artist Hazel Belvo. The hard working catalogers added new and updated finding aids and catalog records for our Manuscripts collection and State Archives collection. The What's New list for December 2020 is available at: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

Here's the link to the State Archives November 2020 acquisitions, https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/november....
12/15/2020

Here's the link to the State Archives November 2020 acquisitions, https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/november.php,
which include Hennepin County Medical Examiner records covering a nearly 100 year period. Besides the extent of the date span, the quantity is also extensive, so this is the largest collection of its kind in the State Archives. Medical examiner and coroner records are very useful for family history research, but are also valuable for research in the areas of public health, social and local history.

Despite furloughs and limited access to the Minnesota History Center the past few months, our exceptional cataloging sta...
12/03/2020

Despite furloughs and limited access to the Minnesota History Center the past few months, our exceptional cataloging staff are bouncing back, and produced new and updated finding aids and catalog records for our Sound & Visual collection, Manuscripts collection and State Archives collection. Our esteemed catalogers' What's New List is here: http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

Today, in honor of the birthday of one of our staff members, we thought we'd feature this lovely birthday card from 1926...
11/13/2020

Today, in honor of the birthday of one of our staff members, we thought we'd feature this lovely birthday card from 1926, found in a St. Cloud State Reformatory case file. We love the little poem, but the art is really what makes this card!

To learn more about St. Cloud State Reformatory and how to research the prisoner case files, check out this handy research guide from our friends at the Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society: http://libguides.mnhs.org/prison/stcloud

Today we observe Veterans Day, and honor those who have served in the military. Veterans Day originated after World War ...
11/11/2020

Today we observe Veterans Day, and honor those who have served in the military. Veterans Day originated after World War I and was originally called Armistice Day, after the Armistice between the Allied troops and Germany was reached, thus ending the war, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918.

Our collections include quite a few records relating to military service, including the WWI Gold Star Roll; these forms, filled out by the survivors of soldiers who died in WWI, detail their lives before and during service. You can search through all our Gold Star Roll records online: https://www.mnhs.org/search/people

Interested in different military records? Our friends at the Gale Family Library have put together this excellent research guide: https://libguides.mnhs.org/milservice

Remembering our veterans today on Veterans Day 2020.
11/11/2020

Remembering our veterans today on Veterans Day 2020.

Here's an update from our superlative cataloging staff about new and updated finding aids and online catalog records for...
11/02/2020

Here's an update from our superlative cataloging staff about new and updated finding aids and online catalog records for our Manuscripts collection and State Archives collection. You'll notice many references to government records, so the State Archives staff is delighted with the accomplishment of this excellent work by our valued colleagues. http://www2.mnhs.org/library/findaids/index-WhatsNew.htm

Due to the pandemic situation, staff furloughs, and limited access by staff to the MN History Center, it's been a few mo...
11/02/2020

Due to the pandemic situation, staff furloughs, and limited access by staff to the MN History Center, it's been a few months since we announced recent additions to the State Archives. The State Archives staff was busy in the months of July-September, and a number of valuable records were added to the collection. We plan to resume our monthly acquisition updates in the coming months. While it will be a while before the records are fully cataloged, and available for use in our Library, we're getting back on track. Here is the Library's website with information about distance services available, and where one should monitor for updates about the Library reopening: http://sites.mnhs.org/library/.

Here's the link to the State Archives recent acquisitions, which include Hubbard County birth and death records of townships and cities added in September. This is a particularly significant set of records, because of the extent of townships and cities represented, and will be very valuable for family history research. Also, records of the Ramsey County Boys Totem Town and Hennepin County Home School for Boys added in August 2020. Both of the entities are juvenile offender residential facilities, and while the Hennepin County facility is still active, Boys Totem Town was closed in 2019.
https://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/recent/

Here are images of the shelving shortly after installation, and then once we returned records to the shelves.  For 95% o...
09/10/2020

Here are images of the shelving shortly after installation, and then once we returned records to the shelves. For 95% of the records moved their original shelf locations remain unchanged, so no recataloging or other work is necessary The new shelving provides us with an additional 5,500 cubic feet with ample room to house additions to our archival collections for up to five years.

Soon after the old shelving was removed the new shelving, basically warehouse-type shelving, was delivered. It took less...
09/10/2020

Soon after the old shelving was removed the new shelving, basically warehouse-type shelving, was delivered. It took less than three days for the shelving vendor to erect the new shelving which extends from the floor to near the ceiling. Space had to be kept open above the shelves to allow for the smoke detectors and sprinklers (dry pipe system) in the ceiling.

Before the COVID 19 pandemic situation, and the closing of the Minnesota History Center our Collections Management (CM) ...
09/10/2020

Before the COVID 19 pandemic situation, and the closing of the Minnesota History Center our Collections Management (CM) team (Todd Topper, Dan Cagley, Jason Onerheim) started a long-awaited project to erect additional shelving in our archival storage room. The project was delayed for about four months, but was recently completed and went smoothly and effortlessly thanks to ample planning and coordination between staff and the shelving vendor. Existing shelving (what we call library shelving) was inefficiently using space in three aisles of the room (actually three sub-rooms). State Archives staff assisted the CM team with removing records (approximately 500 c.f.) from the shelves so the old shelving could be removed, and the floor examined with ground penetrating radar to determine where anchors could safely be drilled for the support of the new shelving units. Pictured here are images of the old shelving along with some of the records we moved (e.g., oversize volumes that don't fit in any of our boxes, smaller document boxes containing state agency annual reports, prison inmate glass plate negatives).

What's your favorite MNopedia article? There are so many to choose from. We regularly refer to any article on a state in...
07/17/2020
Gale Family Library at the Minnesota Historical Society

What's your favorite MNopedia article? There are so many to choose from. We regularly refer to any article on a state institution or state prison - they are a great summary of information, with so many sources listed in each bibliography.

www.mnopedia.org

Hey researchers, have you read the latest article out on MNopedia? It all about the Heart of the Earth Survival School in Minneapolis, which was part of the larger American Indian Movement (AIM) in the 1970s.

When you're first digging into a new research topic, MNopedia is the perfect place to go to get an overview and begin to make a game plan for deeper research using their bibliographies and mad citation skills.

WARNING: MNopedia articles can be particularly addicting for research geeks. Read this article on the Heart of the Earth and before you know it, you've jumped into other articles on AIM (https://www.mnopedia.org/group/american-indian-movement-aim) and Native American Boarding Schools (https://www.mnopedia.org/native-american-boarding-schools) and beyond. Just look how much Minnesota history you've learned!

Here in the library we would just like to say thank you to all of the MNopedia authors, editors, and fact-checkers who have made this such a powerful reference tool for researchers around the world. Whether on the physical or digital reference desk, we refer to it often and have seen the delight (whether on faces or via typed text) when people realize "oooooh, there's a MNopedia article on that."

Anyone want to share links to their favorite MNopedia articles in the comments? We'd love to see them and geek out on learning Minnesota history with you.

Our hearts are heavy for our furloughed and laid-off colleagues, who are a talented, passionate group of people.
07/16/2020
MNHS Announces Second Round of Layoffs

Our hearts are heavy for our furloughed and laid-off colleagues, who are a talented, passionate group of people.

Due to the ongoing closure of many Minnesota Historical Society sites and museums, MNHS has made the difficult decision to lay off 40 employees and extend the furlough of 34 staff. At the same time, MNHS will recall 16 people from furlough. With last month’s staffing announcement MNHS has now laid...

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International Society of Commoners Heraldry registration number 2018155 blazon of arms : Per bend sapine Or and Sable, in chief a Boar's head of the second armed Argent and langued Gules and in the base a Hunting horn of the first, for crest A garb Or bound Gules debruised by a shuttle Sable threaded Or, and for mantling Sable doubled Or. Design rationale of arms The eber = wild boar is a pun on the annunciation of the surname of Aberle.The hunting horn on the (berg) or mountain within the black fir trees is suggesting the location of the Parish of Hornberg, nestled in the Schwartzwald or Black forest. Black and gold refer back to the stem or tribal Grand Duchy of Swabia. The crest on the helm is trade related, the garb of wheat is for farming and the weaver's shuttle is for weaving. The red band refers to Baden along with the gold. Paternal Lineage Craig Scott Aberle (1963-) Westminster CA, USA, son of Kenneth Eugene Aberle (1927-2007) Minneapolis, MN, USA, Purchasing agent/ Buyer son of Erwin Bassett Aberle (1903-1950) Hopkins, MN, USA News paper circulation manager later CPA, for the USA Army Air Force Inglewood, CA, USA, son of Jesse/Jessie Herbert Aberle (1872-1937) Eau Claire E. Eau Claire County WI, USA, Machinist for the Soo line rail road Minneapolis, MN, USA, son of Matthias Aberlen was born on 22 September at Schwarzenbach, near Tennenbronn, and Baptized on the 27th 1829 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Tennenbronn-Villingen, Baden, Germany. He arrived in the USA, 1849-1850, Mathias Aberlee Dwelt in NY, IA, WI, MN, and worked as a laborer, store clerk, farmer, fuel dealer/teamster, and landlord. He died at Minneapolis, MN, USA, on 9, February 1915. He was laid to rest at Crystal Lake Cemetery in Minneapolis. MN, son of Johann Adam Aberle (1796-1870) Evangelical Lutheran Parish of Hornberg, Baden, Germany Weaver and soldier in the Badiche Infantry Regiment Von Neuenstein at Freiburg, Baden, in 1825. son of Johannes Aberle (1766-1842) Parish of Hornberg, farmer, owner, and laborer son of Johann Georg Aberle (1738-1788) Weaver and Judge of the Ecclesiastical court at Schwanenbach, for the Evangelical Parish of Hornberg, and cottage owner at upper Reichenbach, or Rothenbach, same location. son of Christian Aberlin (1696-1753) Parish of Hornberg, Baden, Journeyman weaver son of Michael Aberlin (1665-1746) Parish of Hornberg, Baden, farmer son of Hans Aberlin (1637-1690) Parish of Hornberg, Baden, farmer son of Christian Aberlin (1605-1689) Parish of Hornberg, Baden, more than Probable son of Christian Aberlin (1570-1651) Parish of Hornberg, Baden,Germany. —
Hi I am still looking after my dad´s onkel L-E Norin or Lars-Erik Norin. He was born i Falun, Sweden. 1854 30/7. He come to USA 28/3 1880 USA. I did find a adress Ely. P.O., St Louis co Minnisota. It was from a swedish friend who was looking after him in a newspaper ( Svenska Tribunen) in US 13/2 1890. But what happens to him, nobody knows and my dad is now 94 year and it was so fun if we could find some relatives. I did a DNA test on my farther on myfamilytree. But I cant find anybody from US yet.
Do you know if the Minnesota State Fair has its own archives, or is it part of the Minnesota State Archives? I am trying to find a contact for Keri Huber, whom I believe is the State Fair archivist. I'm doing research into farming history in the Spring Grove (Houston County) area of MN. Thank you!
Joyce Lewis
William T Lewis
Another Minnesota WWI story worth sharing.
Hello my names is Sue Welch live in akron ohio. I am working on my family tree and have hit a wall I am trying to find information on Olga Duffy She would be my great grandmother. The story's my gram always told me was she died after giving birth but no where seen to know anything on her. I found that is buried at Mt.Pleasant Cemetery in chaska but can not find a death record or burial record for her in 1920. She was married the Arthur Duff but can not find marriage records for that either. If anyone could help me that would be great Thanks Sue
What i really enjoy is the barn with its hundreds of farm tools from hand made wood rakes, plows, hammers, etc, etc. The music events and Christmas events are another favorite of mine. Really like that little one room cottage and small log church. https://gammelgardenmuseum.org/visit/ Meaning “old farm” in Swedish, the Gammelgården Museum is the only open air museum devoted to preserving, presenting and promoting Swedish immigrant heritage in the United States. In buildings that have been carefully preserved and restored, visitors can get a glimpse of the daily lives & artifacts of these immigrants and participate in events and classes. The main exhibit in the Välkommen Hus and the Butik gift shop are open daily May – December. Before Minnesota became a state dozens of Swedes travelled up St. Croix river and settled in the area and that’s why Gammelgården. Check out couple videos I made when i visited Gammelgården Swedish Fiddler Gathering, MN Swedish Museum Gammelgarden, Swedish Farm museum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faMemtpHFiQ Brian Wicklund One of Minnesotas best fiddle musicians Gammelgarden Museum https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0w-YJs9vg Couple music videos I made My Home Land Song for Scandinavian musicians https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz_tXyTAZdw Emigrantens Farvel Til Norge 1800 Poem https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFBw5c7xU80
Hello, just a note to inform you of a 1905 photo album with lots of Ramsey County photos in it. Thank you
What makes the Minnesota History Center so valuable to a genealogist are the death records and the newspaper collection on micro film. In the death records you’re able to look up most of my parents and brothers and sisters, get the correct spelling and when they died and more. The newspaper collection can help you me find death notices and things your parents where involved with such as politics. Recently i found some newspaper articles about a Norwegian-American painter in Duluth and the 1942 project he was involved with. Many great articles in newspapers. WW II articles are very interesting. To visit the library is free. To find free parking you will have to park about half mile away in the James J Hill Neighborhood behind the Cathedral. Or I ride the bus to History Center. Hourly parking in a lot next to History Center
Two weeks ago I posted (on the Sons of Norway District 1 Facebook) images I captured of the St. Olaf College Genealogy Bygdebok (farm books) Collection and dozens of internet resources. An outstanding free library if you live close to the school and don’t mind the parking during the school term. One week ago i was able to photograph the University of North Dakota Genealogy - Chester Fritz Library - Arne G. Brekke Bygdebok Collection. A collection is as large as St. Olaf with the same parking problem durning the school term. Here’s photos i captured of the Genealogy bygdelag book collection created by members of the Norwegian-American Genealogy Association http://www.norwegianamerican.org located in the all new Minnesota Genealogy Society Center 1385 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, Minnesota. https://mngs.org Thought you would want to see what the resource looks like before you visit or use. The Norwegian-American Genealogy Association (NAGA) collection may not compare with NDSU or Olaf but is located in the Twin Cities, easy to get too, lots free parking, lots of computers, dozen of other Genealogy groups sharing the facility, each group having special classes, and most of all access to internet genealogy “sites few can afford”. Most important many of the members are Genealogists for “Sons of Norway Lodges” and Lag Genealogists for “Bygdelags” Check out the MGS web site for hours and days open (its a volunteer organization) https://mngs.org To pay for for operating costs of the MGS center all the groups pitch in $20 year for membership. If join NAGA you also belong to MGS. NAGA has some best N/A Genealogists in the USA. Join the NAGA members. What area of Norway did your kin folk came from - then contact a Bygdelag genealogist who often belong to NAGA. (Bygdelags are members from certain areas of Norway) Contact Norwegian-American Bygdelag Fellesraad for help from a Bygdelag genealogists to start and join NAGA to compliment your research. http://www.fellesraad.com/fell_roots.htm#Mylag Pictured on the wall are the organizations that share the MGS center.
Click on image for larger more readable jpg the could be down loaded and printed