Family File: Tracing your roots at the Minnesota History Center

10:54 AM, Feb 15, 2008   |    comments
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They are long-ago Minnesota moments. And genealogy research can be the key to unlocking the stories behind the snapshots? "I like to tell people to start with what you know," Library reference associate Brigid Shields says your investigation of long-ago relatives can start by adding "what you know" to present-day technology. The Minnesota History Center's website includes digital records of all kinds. Lists tracking Minnesotans from birth and death. Librarians say it's a good start, but-- "Everything is not on the internet," Shields said smiling. Heading to the History Center, lucky searchers may uncover a previous generation's genealogy homework. "This is a history of the Van der Pyl family," Shields said, reading from a book. The Center has stacks of the family files and a big collection of small town papers too. "Many obituaries, especially in smaller communities, give lots of information on a person. The person's life, their careers, their survivors. That type of information," Shields continued. Duane Swanson used the History Center resources to find out his great-grandfather was a St. Louis County commissioner. "It was interesting to find out after he left the board he was arrested for accepting and soliciting a bribe," Swanson said. By doing some more digging Swanson was able to find a happy "not guilty" ending for Great-grandpa Albert. Reference Supervisor Tracey Baker has watched lots of people like Duane pour over old records. She loves seeing the point where a genealogists' effort turns to excitement. "Sometimes people literally shout. They are so happy and many times they want to share it with us," Baker said. If you don't want to go it alone, the Minnesota History Center offers classes on genealogy research. There is also a fee-based research service available for people who don't have time to do it themselves. Read more about the Minnesota History Center's resources Produced by Jeff Olsen

By Julie Nelson, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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