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Personal Records

If you're looking for information on people, the personal records files will lead you to both published and unpublished sources in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society. What you're looking for will be your guide to how to start.

Before beginning it may be advisable to consult the Family Research tutorial. This tutorial will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to perform family history research.

Let's say that you're looking for information on Minnesota farmers (or a particular Minnesota farmer). Among the useful sources you will find listed and described here are:

  • Census Records: Agricultural Censuses
  • Century Farm Applications
  • Directories: Rural Directories
  • Farm Crop and Labor Reports
  • Land Records
  • Pioneer Settlers Obituaries and Index
  • Tax and Assessment Records

Or perhaps you're looking for information on immigrants--or a particular immigrant. You might try these sources:

  • Alien Registration Records
  • Americanization Survey Cards (for Ramsey County)
  • Naturalization Records
  • Passenger Ship Lists

Many people want to learn more about family members. Let's say that your great-grandfather fought in World War I as a young man, then went on to become a doctor, a Rotary member, and a leader in the Episcopal Church. You might find him listed in these sources:

  • Directories: Professional Directories
  • Military and Veterans' Records
  • Organizations' Records
  • Professional Certificates, Licenses, and Registrations
  • Religious Records

In addition, there is a wealth of more general sources:

  • records of births, adoptions, marriages, deaths, burials
  • biographical records and oral histories
  • census records
  • court records
  • city directories

Check the Table of Contents to see if there are sources that are likely to be useful in you search. To consult the materials, you will need to come to the History Center Library. You can find all of the records listed here through the library catalog unless the description directs you elsewhere.

Much of the material contained in this guide was previously published in Genealogical Resources of the Minnesota Historical Society: A Guide.

A Guide to Family History Resources at the Minnesota Historical Society is also available through the MHS Press.


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