Minnesota Archives and Libraries

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Archives and Libraries

Online Resources

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

Online Records

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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

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

National Archives at Chicago
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7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
Phone: (773)948-9001
Fax: (773)948-9050
E-mail: chicago.archives@nara.gov
Internet: http://www.archives.gov/chicago/

Includes federal censuses 1790–1930; selected military service indexes, pension indexes, passenger lists, and naturalizations. Free computers for Ancestry, Heritage Quest, or Fold3. Federal agency, civil, and criminal court records of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.[1]

Statewide Archives

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
Internet: www.mnhs.org/library/
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biographies, newspapers, indexes, local, county, school district, city, and state or county government records, historical documents, and unpublished personal papers.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.[2] Two guides are:
  • Minnesota Historical Society. Genealogical Resources of the Minnesota Historical Society: A Guide, 2nd ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1993). WorldCat 866163173; FHL Book 977.6 A3mh 1993.
  • Minnesota Historical Society. Guide to the Personal Papers in the Manuscript Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, 3 vols. (St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1935, 1955, 1977). WorldCat 866170143; book 977.6 A3m. Lists the time period covered and a brief description of what is included, such as newspaper clippings, diaries, scrapbooks, and genealogical data.

Reflections Minnesota Digital Library 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. Two guides are:
  • James E. Fogerty, Preliminary Guide to the Holdings of the Minnesota Regional Research Centers (St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society, 1975). WorldCat 1254953; FHL Book 977.6 A3f no.1. This guide is divided into two sections: "Manuscripts" and "Oral History Interviews." Listed alphabetically, these include title of collection, person or organization, time frame, collection size, reference number, and an abbreviation that indicates which research center holds the collection.
  • James E. Fogerty, Manuscripts Collections of the Minnesota Regional Research Centers: Guide Number 2 (St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society, 1980). WorldCat 6890064; FHL Book 977.6 A3f no.2.)
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.

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.[2]

  • Northeast Minnesota Historical Center
    University of Minnesota-Duluth
    Library 375
    Duluth, MN 55812
    Telephone: 218-726-8526
    Internet e-mail: pmaus@d.umn.edu
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.[2] For a guide see:
  • Northeast Minnesota Historical Center (Duluth, Minnesota). Guide to the Collections of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center. Duluth, Minnesota: University of Minnesota and St. Louis County Historical Society, 1988. WorldCat 866627725; FHL Book 977.6 A1 no.57.

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. (Family History Library WorldCat 18898230; FHL Book 977.6 A1 no.58.

  • Southern Minnesota Historical Center
    Minnesota State University, Mankato
    Mankato, MN 56001
    Telephone: 507-389-1029
    Internet: http://lib.mnsu.edu/archives/
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.[2]

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.

This center serves the counties of Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Swift, and Traverse.

Minnesota Genealogical Society
5768 Olson Memorial Highway
Golden Valley, MN 55422-5014
Telephone: 612-595-9347
Internet: http://www.mngs.org/

Their 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.[2]


Immigration History Research Center
826 Berry Street
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55114
Telephone: 612-627-4208
Fax: 612-627-4190
E-mail Address: ihrc@gold.tc.umn.edu
Internet: http://www.ihrc.umn.edu/

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.[2] 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
Internet: Iron Range Research Center

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.[2]

Stearns History Museum Research Center
235-33rd Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301 USA
Telephone: 320-253-8424
E-mail: info@stearns-museum.org
Internet: Research Center

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.[2]

University of Minnesota Wilson Library
309 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
Telephone: 612-624-3321
E-mail: Contact us form
Internet: Wilson Library

Their historical manuscript collection is great, including newspapers, business records, church records, local histories, maps, Norwegian Bygdebøker, and government documents.[2]

Out of State

Newberry Library
Newberry Library.jpg

60 West Waltron Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Telephone: 312-255-3512
Email: reference@newberry.org.
Internet: Newberry Library

A large Chicago repository with genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records many from Minnesota, the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, and the British Isles.[3] 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.[4] 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[5] 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).[6]


  1. Genealogy in National Archives at Chicago (accessed 27 February 2014).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 63. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Book 973 J54d.
  3. Genealogy and Local History in The Newberry (accessed 27 February 2015).
  4. Dollarhide and Bremer, 39.
  5. 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
  6. Available Research Tools in Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library (accessed 9 November 2015).