Minnesota Archives and Libraries

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Minnesota Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Minnesota Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Minnesota.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

MnPals Union Catalog

This is a statewide colleges and universities catalog online. Scores of academic and special libraries participate. It is free. Resources include a Civil War veteran card index, Minnesota alien registration card index, Minnesota biography file, photographs, a Minneapolis newspaper index, and several subscription databases.

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Minnesota[edit | edit source]

Online Records · National Archives at Chicago · Minnesota Historical Society · Minnesota Genealogical Society · Iron Range Research Center · Newberry Library · Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library

National Archives[edit | edit source]

National Archives at Chicago

NARA Chicago.jpg

7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
Phone: (773)948-9001
Fax: (773)948-9050

Serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Includes federal censuses, Indian censuses for Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin; Indian school records, passenger arrival lists, U.S. District and Circuit Courts in Illinois 1819-1982, Indiana 1819-1961, Michigan 1815-1961, Minnesota 1890-1957, Ohio 1803-1961, Wisconsin 1839-1961; bankruptcies, criminal cases, a multi-state naturalization index 1840-1950, pre-World War I military service, pension and bounty land warrnat records, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Corp of Engineers, General Land Office applications and registers, Internal Revenue Service, African American histories, fugitive slaves, and Great Lakes and inland waterways.

Statewide Archives[edit | edit source]

Minnesota Historical Society and Its Regional Centers

Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Boulevard W.
St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 USA
Telephone: 651-296-2143
Fax: 651-297-7436


The Minnesota Historical Society Library acts as a State Archives, including a great genealogical collection, histories, biographies, newspapers, indexes, local, county, school district, city, and state or county government records, historical documents, and unpublished personal papers. Ethnic groups covered: Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Germans, and American Indians.ks, and genealogical data.

Reflections Website

Newspaper, photos, diaries and much more.
MHS Regional Centers. The Minnesota Historical Society has regional research centers to preserve local records of historical value. These centers may have family papers, manuscripts, oral history interviews, photographs, maps, drawings of homes, and business and organizational records. Some centers may hold local government records.
The centers are listed below with the counties they cover. Call them for their hours, which vary from center to center, and to learn about their collections.

Central Minnesota Historical Center
Centennial Hall, Room 31
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN 56301
Telephone: 320-255-3254

This center serves the counties of Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec. Mille Lacs, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, and Wright. Original manuscripts, family folders, diaries, journals, newspapers, land ownership maps, genealogies, and histories.

Northeast Minnesota Historical Center
University of Minnesota-Duluth
Library 375
Duluth, MN 55812
Telephone: 218-726-8526
This center serves the counties of Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis. This is a very good research facility for the Great Lakes region with many county records, church records, histories, photos, and family folders.

Northwest Minnesota Historical Center
Livingston Lord Library
Moorhead State University
Moorhead, MN 56563
Telephone: 218-236-2345
Fax: 218-299-5924
This center serves the counties of Becker, Clay, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, and Wilkin. For a guide to their collection see:
Northwest Minnesota Historical Center (Moorhead, Minnesota). Guide to the Northwest Minnesota Historical Center Collections. Moorhead, Minnesota: Livingston Lord Library, Moorhead State University, 1988.

Southern Minnesota Historical Center
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Mankato, MN 56001
Telephone: 507-389-1029
This center serves the counties of Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Freeborn, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Waseca, and Watonwan. Holds periodicals, family folders, cemetery transcripts, obituaries, documents, newspapers, local histories, and genealogies.

Southwest Minnesota Historical Center
Southwest State University
Social Science 141
Marshall, MN 56258
Telephone: 507-537-7373
Fax: 507-537-7154
This center is very active in the genealogical community and has a great genealogical collection. It has some county and local government records that would normally go to the Minnesota Historical Society. It serves the counties of Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, and Yellow Medicine.

West Central Minnesota Historical Center
University of Minnesota–Morris
600 East 4th Street
Morris, MN 56267
Telephone: 320-589-6183
Fax: 320-589-6117
This center serves the counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Swift, and Traverse.

Minnesota Genealogical Society
1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN 55120-1367
Telephone: 651-330-9312

Located in the Minnesota Genealogy Center, the Minnesota Genealogical Society is an all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The goal of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) and its branches is to provide education on methods of genealogical research, social activities with other individuals with genealogy interests, and a place to research ancestors. The William J. Hoffman Library & Research Center provides a wide variety of information covering many countries, articles on vital statistics, military records, immigration, mapping records and many other areas of research. The library collection includes ethnic sources, how-to-books, genealogical periodicals, and family surname folders. They also have many indexes of court records, cemeteries, and histories. MGS is also a FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

Regional[edit | edit source]

Immigration History Research Center
826 Berry Street
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55114
Telephone: 612-627-4208
Fax: 612-627-4190

The Immigration History Research Center’s collection is national in scope but includes European immigration to Minnesota by Czechs, Poles, Byelorussians, Carpath-Rusins, Finns, Greeks, Italians, Russians, also Albanians, Armenians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Estonians, Hungarians, Jews, Latvians, Lithuanians, Macedonians, Romanians, Serbs, Slavs, and Ukrainians. The immigrants are from central, eastern, and southern European countries. A majority of their records are in a foreign language. For a guide see:
  • University of Minnesota. Immigration History Research Center. The Immigration History Research Center: A Guide to Collections. New York, NY: Greenwood Press, 1991. (Family History Library WorldCat 23694282; FHL Book 977.658 A3i. Summary of the archival and library holdings. The purpose of this guide is to assist researchers in determining the usefulness of the collection and to explain the procedure for gaining access to records.

Iron Range Research Center
Minnesota Discovery Center
1005 Discovery Drive
Chisholm, MN 55719 USA
Telephone: 218-254-7959
Fax: 218-254-5235

This center has an extensive collection of records dealing with the string of towns that extends about 200 miles east to west across St. Louis County and other counties. This was a mining area where many immigrants were employed. They have name indexes of immigrants.

Stearns History Museum Research Center
235-33rd Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301 USA
Telephone: 320-253-8424

This county facility has a statewide and nationwide scope. Their strength is research for immigrants from Germany, and lowlands of western Europe (Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, and southern France). They have amazing indexes of early settlers.

University of Minnesota Wilson Library
309 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
Telephone: 612-624-3321

Their historical manuscript collection is great, including newspapers, business records, church records, local histories, maps, Norwegian Bygdebøker, and government documents.

Out of State[edit | edit source]

Newberry Library

Newberry Library.jpg

60 West Waltron Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Telephone: 312-255-3512

A large Chicago repository with genealogies, local historiescensuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records many from Minnesota, the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, and the British Isles.[1] They have over 17,000 printed genealogies. The collection is noteworthy for its colonial America, especially New England holdings. They have church, town, and county histories from all parts of the United States, Canada, and the British Isles. This includes a comprehensive set of New England town histories, and strong collection of county histories from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. Their Civil War unit histories collection is one of the best.[2] This library has research guides on various subjects related to genealogy and library holdings cataloged from 1978.  See
  • Genealogy Collection Guides and Research Tools for more information about the collections. 
  • A surname index to genealogical periodicals and local history books in the Newberry Library was completed in 1915 and published as The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library[3] Since this index is old, be sure to use the online guide sheet to this collection before using the source.

Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library
415 West Main St.
Madison, Wisconsin 53703 USA
Telephone: 608-255-2224

This center has records of many Norwegian-Americans, including U.S. and Norwegian censuses, passenger lists, church records, family records, and Norwegian bygdebøker (farm histories).[4]

FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries[edit | edit source]

Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Blvd West
St Paul, MN 55102
Minnesota Genealogical Society
1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN 55120-1367

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Genealogy and Local History in The Newberry (accessed 27 February 2015).
  2. Dollarhide and Bremer, 39.
  3. The Genealogical Index of the Newberry Library. Boston, Massachusetts: G.K. Hall, 1960. WorldCat 83367401 FHL films 928135–928137 and FHL book 973 D22n vols. 1–4
  4. Available Research Tools in Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library (accessed 9 November 2015).