Municipal Records

  • According to the League of Minnesota Cities: Minnesota cities are public corporations under Minnesota law. The 854 cities in Minnesota form a powerful, grassroots system that maintains a close relationship with its constituents. The legislature describes cities as the type of government that "most efficiently provides governmental services in areas intensively developed for residential, commercial, industrial, and governmental purposes." Those governmental services may include: police and fire protection, street maintenance, sewer and water, parks and recreation, utilities, liquor sales, hospital operation, airport operation, or ambulance service.
  • "Municipality" is the title given to cities of all sizes. The term "town" is often incorrectly used to describe a small city. In Minnesota, town and township are used interchangeably for most of the land outside cities. Also see the section on Township Records.
  • The Minnesota Historical Society holds records for more than 400 of Minnesota's 854 municipalities. Municipal records most likely to have genealogical value include those of the now-defunct justice of the peace or municipal courts, and the birth and death records that were recorded in municipalities until 1953.
  • Search the library catalog by the name of the municipality you are interested in. If you know the city department you are interested in, you can add that to the search, e.g. Duluth Recreation Dept. or Duluth Charter Commission