Minnesota Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Minnesota that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Minnesota repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Minnesota archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of Minnesota Archives

Minnesota State Archives, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 • 651-259-3260
Records created by state or local governments in the state of Minnesota.

There is an on-going program of transferring these records to the Minnesota Historical Society Research Center. The collection is immense, covering a broad spectrum of Minnesota history beginning in 1849.

Representative of the collections to be found are the State Board of Auditors for the adjustment of claims for war expenditures, 1862–68; Supreme Court Naturalization Records, 1858–1906; and Stillwater State Prison, 1853–1976.

References to numerous items at this location are included under various subjects covered in this chapter.Manuscript Collections. Holds primary research materials that document Minnesota and its people.

There are over 6,000 manuscript collections in this division of the Minnesota Historical Society, including diaries, letters, account books, scrapbooks, business papers, and personal papers of politicians and farmers.

National Archives – Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001

Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Minnesota.

Immigration History Research Center (IHRC), University of Minnesota, Elmer L. Andersen Library Suite 311, 222 21st Ave S, Minneapolis MN 55455-0439; Phone: 612 625-4800

List of Minnesota Libraries & Museums

List of Minnesota Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Minnesota groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Minnesota.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

Regional and State Societies

  • Iron Range Research Center, Highway 169 West, P.O. Box 392, Chisholm, MN 55719Located at the Iron Range Interpretative Center with a full-time library and archives staff, it is designated as the government records repository for iron range communities and includes manuscripts, oral histories, and photographs.
  • Minnesota Historical Society Research Center, 1500 Mississippi Street, St. Paul, MN 55101; (612) 296-6980
  • Minnesota Genealogical Society, 1185 Concord St. N. Suite 218, South St. Paul, MN 55075-1187; (651) 455-9057Membership includes the quarterly Minnesota Genealogist and the MGS Newsletter. Meetings are held quarterly, with state and national speakers. The Minnesota Genealogical Society Library at 1101 Fort Road (West 7th Street), St. Paul, Minnesota 55116, contains over 3,000 reference books, research materials on Indian and Metis groups, and the books and research materials of several of the branches of the society. Special interest groups within the main society include Northwest Territory Canadian and French Heritage Center, Computer Interest Group, Czechoslovak Genealogical Society, Douglas County Genealogical Society, English Genealogical Society, German Interest Group, Irish Genealogical Society, The Scandinavian-American Genealogical Society, Danish-American Genealogical Society, Finnish Genealogy Group, Icelandic Genealogy Group, Norwegian Genealogy Group, Swedish Genealogy Group, Scottish Genealogical Society, and Yankee Interest Group. The Minnesota Genealogical Society office and library are staffed by volunteers, and hours are limited. Classes are provided for beginning and advanced genealogists.
  • Minnesota Historical Society, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55102-1906 . 651-259-3000The Minnesota Historical Society has been collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Minnesota since 1849, which makes the society older than the state it represents. The collections are currently located in three locations: the Minnesota Historical Society (address above), Fort Snelling History Center (Archaeology, Historic Sites, and State Historic Preservation), and the Minnesota Historical Society Research Center (address below). In 1992 the material from all three locations will be housed in the new Minnesota History Center. See Minnesota Historical Society Library and Archives Division, Genealogical Resources of the Minnesota Historical Society: A Guide (St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1989) for an excellent guide to the multitude of sources in their collection. This handbook alphabetically lists resources, cross-referenced, with a description of contents, location within the society’s departments, and means of access.At the above location are the audio-visual library (genealogists will appreciate the photograph collection of approximately 200,000 images, indexed by subject and name); the map library; the newspaper library (over 3 million issues of approximately 6,500 newspapers); reference library (over 500,000 books, pamphlets, periodicals, microforms, and documents); the largest collection of published Minnesota materials; extensive holdings on railroads, Canadian history, the fur trade, Scandinavians, and Native Americans in Minnesota; and publication offices.
  • Minnesota Territorial Pioneers,
    176 Snelling Ave N Suite 328, St. Paul, MN 55104-6338, Phone: 651 379-1849
  • Minnesota Regional Research CentersThis network was originally established by the Minnesota Historical Society. James E. Fogerty states in Preliminary Guide to the Holdings of the Minnesota Regional Research Centers (St.Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society, 1975) that its purpose was to expand research possibilities within the state by collecting and preserving sources at various locations in the state. See also, James Fogerty’s Manuscript Collection of the Minnesota Regional Research Centers: Guide Number 2 (St. Paul, Minn.: Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Minnesota Historical Society, 1980).The centers, which are located on the campuses of, and now associated with, colleges and universities in the state, concentrate on topics of regional importance. They are not all staffed on a full-time basis. Material varies at individual centers from information on the Stephen H. Long expedition of 1823 to the account of an auto trip from Minnesota to California and back in 1929. There are oral history interviews and such items as the register of a nineteenth century inn on the Mississippi River. The eight centers and the counties they cover are as follows.
    • Central Minnesota Historical Center, Centennial Hall, Room 148, St. Cloud University, St. Cloud, MN 56301Serves Aitkin, Benton, Chisago, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Pine, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd, Wadena, and Wright counties.
    • North Central Minnesota Historical Center, The A. C. Clark Library, 1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #28, Bemidji, MN 56601-2699; Phone: (218) 755-3342Serves Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, and Lake of the Woods counties.
    • Northeast Minnesota Historical Center, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Library 375, Duluth, MN 55812Serves Carlton, Cook, Lake, and St. Louis counties.
    • Northwest Minnesota Historical Center, 1104 7th Avenue South, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, Minnesota 56563Serves Becker, Clay, Kittson, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, Roseau, and Wilkin counties.
    • Southern Minnesota Historical Center, Mankato State University, Mankato, MN 56001Serves Blue Earth, Brown, Fairbault, Freeborn, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Waseca, and Watonwan counties.
    • Southwest Minnesota Historical Center, Social Science 141, Southwest Minnesota State University, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN 56258; (507) 537-7373Serves Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, and Yellow Medicine counties.
    • West Central Minnesota Historical Center, University of Minnesota–Morris, Morris, MN 56267Serves Big Stone, Chippewa, Douglas, Grant, Pope, Stevens, Swift, and Traverse counties.
    • Minnesota Historical Society Research Center, 1500 Mississippi Street, St. Paul, MN 55101, (612) 296-6980Serves Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona counties.
  • Minnesota Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Minnesota Society of Sons of the American Revolution
  • National Genealogical Society,
    4527 17th Street North, Arlington, Virginia 22207-2399; (703) 525-0050 or (800) 473-0060
  • International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry, P.O. BOX 436937, CHICAGO, IL 60643-6937; Phone: (773) 238-2686

County, Township and City Societies

Religious and Ethnic Societies

Minnesota Newspapers & Publications

Minnesota Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.


Minnesota newspapers can supply all sorts of clues about historical events, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and much more.

Starting in 1849, the Minnesota Historical Society became a “day-books of history” repository. James Madison Goodhue published the first issue of the Minnesota Pioneer.

That was published on April 28, 1849. As of July 14, 1849, there were three newspapers being published in the city of St. Paul.

The first Minneapolis newspaper, the St. Anthony Express, first came out in 1851. All of the early newspapers were published with the goal of encouraging new settlement in the area.

Every major newspaper for St. Paul and Minneapolis has been indexed and those indexes are housed at the city libraries in those cities.

Some community newspapers may be indexed by local genealogical and historical groups, as well as Minnesota Regional Research Centers.


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable somewhere else.

  • The Minnesota Genealogist, quarterly publication of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, includes a variety of genealogical articles, cemetery readings, newspaper and vital records extractions, book reviews, queries, and miscellaneous information of interest to the Minnesota researcher. Indexes are available through the society.
  • Minnesota History usually contains three to four full-length historical articles. It is indexed and published quarterly by the Minnesota Historical Society.