Newspapers publish notices of marriage, divorce, death, funerals, obituaries, and wartime casualty lists. Notices include names of the persons involved, the date of the event, and may contain maiden names, names of parents, and other relatives.
Newspapers also publish articles of local interest, including religious and social events, with the names of those involved. Some newspapers devote columns to the everyday happenings in the area. Newspapers also include legal notices, estate sales, and advertising for local businesses.
The first newspapers in Minnesota were published in 1849. The best collection of Minnesota newspapers is at the Minnesota Historical Society Library, which attempts to collect and microfilm all Minnesota newspapers. Many of these records may be loaned to other libraries. Some of the library’s 4,000 different newspapers are especially valuable because they are published by ethnic and religious groups.
Resources for Minnesota Newspapers
Inventory on the Internet
Over 4,287 Minnesota newspaper titles containing 4.1 million pages on microfilm are cataloged in the Minnesota Newspaper Project. You can learn what newspapers were published in any Minnesota city on the MnPals Internet site described in Minnesota Archives and Libraries. The Internet address to identify newspapers is:
Newspapers Listed in the PALS Online Catalog. In Minnesota Historical Society [Internet site]. St. Paul, Minnesota: MHS, 1998 [cited 12 January 2000]. Available at: http://collections.mnhs.org/newspapers/arsearch.html. Describes over three million issues of over 5,000 newspapers published in Minnesota since 1849. Microfilm copies of newspapers can be requested through interlibrary loan.
Online newspaper searches are available at:
"AskRon Newspaper Database" In Minnesota Historical Society [Internet site]. St. Paul, Minnesota: MHS, 1998 [cited 12 January 2000]. Available at:
You can search on a keyword, newspaper title, state, Minnesota county, or range of dates. For more information, call 651-296-2143.
For a listing of newspapers at the Minnesota Historical Society Library see:
- Minnesota Historical Society Holdings of Newspapers on Master Negative Microfilm: February 1987. St. Paul, Minnesota: MHS, 1987. (Family History Library film 1490151.) The films do not circulate to Family History Centers. Newspapers are listed alphabetically by town or city, name of newspaper, beginning and ending dates, number or microfilm rolls, and whether it is available for purchase. Other states and countries are listed at the end.
Family History Library
The Family History Library acquires obituaries, indexes, and other newspaper abstracts. A guide to early Minnesota newspapers is:
- Hage, George Sigrud. Newspapers on the Minnesota Frontier, 1849–1860. St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Historical Society, 1967. (Family History Library book 977.6 B3m.) This book contains a historical study and list of newspapers from 1849 to 1860, when the telegraph reached Minnesota.
To find newspapers check the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
MINNESOTA – NEWSPAPERS
MINNESOTA, [COUNTY] – NEWSPAPERS
MINNESOTA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] – NEWSPAPERS
Minnesota Historical Society - http://www.mnhs.org/index.htm+
For a statewide Newspaper Article database search see the Dalby Database.