General Guides to Minnesota Research
Two online sources cover each state. Throughout this page I will provide links to each of them, but take a moment now to look at the whole of each of them. I don't provide links everything on each of them.
- Family History Library Research Wiki: Minnesota
- Remember: from this main page you can also click links to pages for each county in Minnesota
- Ancestry Redbook Wiki: Minnesota
- (note you will click the links to the right to see further topics)
Books you might purchase or use in a library include
Each of the three reference books listed below has a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for that state. (note: some libraries may have earlier editions; those are usable)
- Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library)
- Ancestry's Redbook, 3rd ed, revised. (find in a library) (see above for online copy)
- The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)
Atlases, Maps & Gazetteers
For more information on finding and using maps,
see Your Guide to Atlases, Maps and Gazetteers.
- Query the American Memory Project Maps Collection for maps containing the word Minnesota
- State Maps
- County Formation maps
of individual counties in the state. You will want to see maps that show where the townships, cities and villages are located within each county.
- Topographic Maps
- Online Map Collections; I find it difficult to successfully use many of these
maps, but you will want to see if you can find one that fits your needs.
- FamilySearch Wiki: Minnesota Maps and Minnesota Gazetteers
Statewide Genealogy Web sites
Next, see what is available for your counties of interest at at one of these statewide sites. For each, use the county selection list to find out what is available for the various counties.
Content will vary, but often you will find the GenWeb site to be the most robust. All are volunteer driven sites; all data free, but as time goes by, the upkeep of many of these sites seems to be falling by the wayside.
Societies, Libraries and Archives
For more information on using libraries and archives, see genealogy guides to Libraries and Archivese
Finding and Using Records
FIRST.. use the catalog at the place name box in the Family History Library catalog to find out what has been filmed covering the state of Minnesota the counties of Minnesota and the cities, villages or townships within the counties.
- As you type Minnesota in the place box, you will see an alphabetical listing of counties in the drop down;
- once in a county, you can click in the place box on the left to see an alphabetical list of the towns, cities and villages within that county.
- This only shows areas for which material is available at the Family History Library.
- An item will likely be in one of the three, perhaps two of the three and almost never in all three of these searches --you need to check each
NEXT... see what is Minnesota material records are available online on the FamilySearch.org Records Collection
AND REMEMBER The Family History Library is not the only place you will find material. A great deal is available online or in libraries and archives, courthouses or other institutions and organizations across the nation.
To find more....
- You can search WorldCat to find publications on Minnesota
- For locations: you will be looking for publications that cover the state as a whole, as well as a specific region, county or city/village within the state.
- The Allen County Library at Fort Wayne has an excellent collection that includes books covering the whole state. For each state they have created a pathfinder that provides a listing of the most commonlyused books covering the whole state or a large region of the state. No one library has everything, but this bibliography will list many of the well known books for the state of Minnesota.
- This bibliography won't include books that cover the counties for any state except Indiana. You will find those through WorldCat, the Family History Library Catalog and other sources.
Below is information on some of the records you will seek; these links are intended to help you educate yourself on the use and value of the records, as well as find them. :
African American, bible, cemetery, census, church, city directories, histories, court & legal, military, land and property, naturalizations, Native Americans, newspapers, probate, vital.
Adoption: For general information, see Guide to Orphaned and Adopted Ancestors, this website
African American; For general information, see Guide to African American Ancestors, this website.
- Family Search Wiki: Minnesota African Americans
- AccessGenealogy: Minnesota African American Genealogy (links)
Bible: For general information, see Guide to Bible Records, this website.
Cemetery: For general information, see Guide to Cemetery Records, this web site
Census: For general information, see Guide to Census Records, this web site.
Church: For general information, see Guide to Church Records, this web site.
City and County Directories: For general information, see guide to City and County Directories, this web site.
County and Local Histories: For general information, see Guide to County Histories, this web site.
Court & Legal; For general information, see Guide to Law Libraries and Guide to Courthouse Research on this web site.
Land & Property: For general information, see Guide to Land Records, this web site.
Military; For general information, see Guide to Military Records, this web site.
Naturalizations; For general information, see Guide to Naturalizations, this web site.
Newspapers: For general information, see Guide to Newspapers, this web site.
- FamilySearch Wiki: Minnesota Newspapers
- Ancestry Redbook Wiki: Minnesota Periodicals, Newspapers & Manuscript Collections
- Find newspapers published in Minnesota at Chronicling America Directory 1690-present (this finds what was published; it is not the portion of the site that searches the digitized newspapers)
- Use the dropdown to select state, county, city.
- click a title to get more information
- Once you know which newspapers were published in the county or city during the time you are researching, you will try to find digitized, microfilm or (less likely) paper copies of that newspaper.
- Here is a list of Minnesota newspapers in Chronicling America
- Remember: you can search any Minnesota newspaper digitized at Chronicling America by using the drop down to limit your search to the state, county or city.
- Not all digitized newspapers are at the Chronicling America site.
- Minnesota History Center Newspaper Collection
finds microfilmed newspapers.
- Most microfilmed newspapers can be borrowed on interlibrary loan
Probate: For general information, see Guide to Probate Records, this web site.
Tax Records; For general information, see Guide to Tax Lists, this web site.
Vital: For general information, see Guide to Vital Records, this web site.
Queries & Help