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Researching Dakota Family History

Selected Resources Available Elsewhere

Archives and Special Collections
Minnesota Counties Most Likely to Have Useful Records


Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Archives (Roman Catholic)
226 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102; Phone: 651-291-4429.

The Archives contains microfilm copies of sacramental records (baptism, marriage, death) for most parishes in the Minnesota counties of Anoka, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Goodhue, Hennepin, Le Sueur, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Washington, and Wright. Date ranges of records depend on the parish. Earliest are from the 1840s, most recent from the 1990s. The Archives also has some burial records for the metropolitan Catholic cemeteries of Calvary (in St. Paul), St. Mary's (in Minneapolis), and St. Anthony's (in Minneapolis).

The Archives also has the Augustin Ravoux Papers, which include the names of 31 Dakota Indians baptized by Ravoux at Mankato on December 25, 1862, and of three "half-breeds" who received their first communion on the same day. All except one were hanged on the following day. The collection also contains the names of 184 Dakota baptized by Ravoux near Fort Snelling in 1863. They were part of 2,000 Dakota prisoners brought to Fort Snelling.

The Archdiocese is not a public institution, so their records are not public records. Their Archives are also not open to the general public. For more information regarding genealogy research at the Archives, please visit their website. You may also direct initial inquiries regarding genealogical research to the Archdiocesan Archivist via email. The Archives staff will estimate the time needed to do the research, and respond with a research fee quote.

Archdiocese of Dubuque Archives (Roman Catholic)
Archdiocesan Center, 1229 Mt. Loretta Ave., Dubuque, IA 52003; Phone: 563-556-2580.

The Archdiocesan Archives collects, preserves and makes available to researchers the records of individuals and organizations engaged in work which reflects the work of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. The documents are open to researchers in pursuit of historical and genealogical research. The office is open by appointment or email requests (DBQCAO@arch.pvt.k12.ia.us).

Of particular interest for Minnesota Dakota family history is the Kempker Collection, which contains sacramental records from St. Peter Church in Mendota from the late 1830s and early 1840s that are at the Dubuque Diocese. Some Dakota and Métis are in the records.

Center for Western Studies (Augustana College)
2201 Summit Ave., Box 727, Sioux Falls, SD 57197; Phone: 605-274-4007.

The Center for Western Studies at Augustana College has the "Episcopal Diocese of South Dakota Archives." The Episcopal Church began its work in South Dakota with the establishment of the Indian Commission in 1871. The Archives of the Episcopal Church in South Dakota includes church registers for Flandreau, 1894-1924, and Santee, 1878-1946. Also copies of Anpao, the Dakota language newspaper published by the Church.

Research in the archives is by appointment only. Contact Dr. Harry F. Thompson by phone (605-274-4006) or by e-mail (harry_thompson@augie.edu) to make an appointment.

Institute of American Indian Studies (SD Oral History Center, University of South Dakota)
414 E. Clark St., Vermillion, SD 57069; Phone: 605-677-5209.

The Institute of American Indian Studies administers the South Dakota Oral History Center's archives, which is a combination of two distinct collections: the American Indian Research Project (AIRP) and the South Dakota Oral History Project. The American Indian Research Project contains over 1,900 taped interviews. Each project's primary goal was to collect the history of American Indian people from their perspective. Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota language, music, lifeways, and spirituality are preserved, along with traditional and contemporary social, political, and economical philosophies.

The Center's tapes are reel-to-reel recordings and their access is limited. Researchers are not permitted to listen to original recordings; but copies of tapes may be acquired on a limited basis on cassette for a nominal fee. Currently, 85 percent of the AIRP has either a final or a rough draft transcript. The transcripts are not available on the Internet. Photocopying costs for transcripts are currently $.25 per page. The Institute does not FAX or ILL transcripts or portions of transcripts. You may, however, obtain the subject indexes and abstracts via ILL through your local library. Oyate Iyechinka Woglakapi: An Oral History Collection, a 1970 guide to the collection, is available at the MHS Library, call number: Z1209 .A45.

Write, call, or e-mail the Institute of American Indian Studies for further information about the Center's policies and procedures governing researcher access, costs, and applicable restrictions. Researchers are welcome year-round and are encouraged to arrange on-site visits to the Center, which is open during the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or evenings and weekends by appointment.

National Archives and Records Administration (Washington, D.C.)
8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001; Phone: 1-866-272-6272.
Main page: www.archives.gov
Genealogy page: www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/
Indians/Native Americans page: www.archives.gov/research_room/alic/reference_desk/native_ american_links.html

  • Great Lakes Regional Branch (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin)
    7358 S. Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60629-5898, Phone: 773-948-9001; E-mail: chicago.archives@nara.gov.
  • Central Plains Regional Branch (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
    2312 E. Bannister Road, Kansas City, MO 64131-3011, Phone: 816-268-8013; E-mail: kansascity.archives@nara.gov.


For counties not listed here, check the Minnesota Department of Health for a list of county registrars/recorders of birth, death, and marriage records, and check the MHS website for a list of Minnesota historical organizations.

Dakota County

  • Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates:
    Dakota County Vital Statistics
    1590 Highway 55, Suite 2300
    Hastings MN 55033
    Phone: 651-438-4313
    E-mail: vitals@co.dakota.mn.us

    Birth record books from 1870 through 1945, death record books from 1870 through 1945, and marriage books for the years 1856 through 1925 are available for viewing purposes at the Dakota County Northern Service Center in West St Paul located at 1 Mendota Road. Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Phone: 651-554-6602.

  • Dakota County Historical Society
    103 Third Ave. N.
    South St. Paul MN 55075
    Phone: 651-552-7565
    E-mail: dchs@mtn.orgdakotahistory.org

  • Dakota County Genealogical Society
    same address as the county historical society
    E-mail: Valbu@comcast.net

Goodhue County

Pipestone County

  • Birth, Death, Marriage Certificates:
    County Recorder
    Pipestone County Courthouse
    416 S. Hiawatha Ave.
    Pipestone MN 56164
    Phone: 507-825-6755

  • Pipestone County Historical Society
    113 S. Hiawatha Ave.
    Pipestone MN 56164
    Phone: 507-825-2563
    E-mail: pipctymu@rconnect.com

  • Pipestone County Genealogical Society
    same address as the county historical society

Redwood County

  • Birth, Death, Marriage Certificates:
    County Recorder
    Redwood County Courthouse
    250 S. Jefferson
    P.O. Box 130
    Redwood Falls MN 56283-0130
    Phone: 507-637-4032

  • Redwood County Historical Society
    33965 Laser Ave.
    Redwood Falls MN 56283
    Phone: 507-644-2490

  • Redwood County Genealogical Society
    217 W. Flynn St.
    Redwood Falls MN 56268
    Phone: 507-637-3529

Renville County

Scott County

Yellow Medicine County