In the United States, searching for ancestors is an increasingly popular hobby. Researchers in St. Louis County are no exception, and Society staff are ready to assist with a basic toolkit of resources in Duluth, St. Louis County and the State of Minnesota. The St. Louis County Historical Society also offers periodic seminars entitled Basic Genealogy: How to Create a Working Binder. Check the Society’s Facebook for dates and times.
Start your research by using local resources to make the process more manageable, especially since there is an active and growing body of professional and amateur genealogists and genealogical societies in the County.
Start your journey at the Kathryn A. Martin Library, Archives & Special Collections, at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. They store thousands of archives belonging to the St. Louis County Historical Society, and are open to the public for research. Contact the Special Collections Librarian to learn how to access those documents. The collection contains local and regional history documents including photographs, manuscript collections, family papers, business and organizational records, oral histories, architectural records, maps, serials, books, and pamphlets, according to their website.
Continue your journey by accessing information from the genealogy room within the Duluth Public Library. With a DPL library card, patrons may electronically access the US Census from 1790 to 1940. The Library also has a digitized death index for St. Louis County residents. Click here to see a complete list of genealogical resources in St. Louis County, MN and Douglas County, WI.
Through the Minnesota Historical Society researchers may obtain copies of birth, marriage and death certificates on line or by mail for a fee. In addition, their vast collection of historical and cultural material is divided into 15 collections.
The Minnesota Genealogical Society has affiliated sub-groups for researchers needing information on their Minnesota immigrant ancestors from Germany, Czechslovakia, Romania, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Canada, the UK, as well as a DNA interest group.
Through the Wisconsin Historical Society has world-class collections which contain a range of artifacts and information about American history, from the remote archaeological past to current events. North American genealogy and Wisconsin history are particular collection strengths.
Ancestry.com contains a growing body of data, which you may access from your home computer with a subscription fee, or you may access the institutional versions through the Family History Centers in Duluth (on Upham Road at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), or the Family History Center in Detroit Lakes are within easy reach. Call their Centers to get dates/times that they are open. Their services are free.
Three more resources will assist researchers collect the information they need to allow their ancestors to “tell their own story.”
Find-a-Grave is free and easy to use. People searching for the burial place of a family member may read what cemetery walkers have recorded and uploaded to the website. Or searchers wanting to contribute vital death/burial information to the website by setting up an account to enter family members’ data. This action makes researchers managers of their family members’ burial information.
Fold3 is a growing database of military information on individual soldiers and sailors from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War. It also contains conflict-related databases on American Indians (the Dawes Rolls) and the Holocaust.
The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database provides photocopies of individual enlistment records, chronicles the battles each combatant was in, and includes the branch of service for each on both the Union and Confederate side of the war. The database is managed by the National Park Service.