I am currently finishing up on a spouse list for Wabasha County. Unlike other ones I've done in the past, this one also includes a lot of the children of the main index persons, and the names of their spouses. I only do this for people who continue to reside in that county. The others that moved away I ignore for the list. So you get a fairly broad cross sample of names.

Goodhue County is next, with many names from the Wabasha bios being added to it, since many of the parents on the index originally settled in Goodhue before moving to Wabasha, but I also have Goodhue bios to get spouse names from.

This greatly expands the names beyond just what is listed in the index of the bios.

My parents had a locked metal box that belonged to my grandparents with all their important papers inside. I was able to scan all of these documents which shed much light on their lives. If you don't have a family member who has saved these sort of tangible memories, it is very hard to find more expansive knowledge on websites or state census files which tend to be not too helpful. The first resource is always family members. If nobody saved anything, then you're left with a lot of guesswork. Everybody should leave behind some records of their lives for future generations, but some folks don't think their lives are worth recording apparently. A lesson to the rest of us!

Good luck in finding something. I expect people to do their own examining of index files. I don't offer research into family names unless a possible match exists somewhere in an index file.

I know absolutely nothing about my grandfather's side of the family from Norway, but my grandmother who was married to him is quite well documented.

In the case of Norway, the place where a person was born is part of their name. My grandmother was Gertrude Olsdotter Avangen. Avangen is a place name, the farm community in which Gertie lived before she came to America. This seems strange to us. When she married all that other stuff got dropped off. But once you discover her maiden name, a lot of history is captured there. The problem is that many names become Americanized and you can never find out what their original names had been.

My grandfather's dad's name was Thord. So my grandfather was Haugen Thoreson Lokken. But this is standard Norwegian naming. It never differs. If you know the father's name, you know the son's name has that as part of their name too. So my last name is a location on the map rather than a family name. At least that is the way I've come to see it. I could be wrong, I suppose, but that appears to be true for my family line.

Unless you have some saved papers you would probably never figure this stuff out. It is just too complex, and states probably don't keep records of prior info to coming to America. But it is in the names.

When my grandfather emigrated to the US, he changed his name from Haugen to Haaken, for some unknown reason. Without the naturalization papers in the box, this would have been impossible to figure out and doing a search for a Haaken Lokken in Norway would turn up no results whatsoever.

I have all my free index on Google drive which makes it easy to share them with interested persons. I can share the address of the files to anyone who asks.

Try this link and see if it works or not before you contact me.


If you are looking for index and the folder has multiple files, look for the one that has bios.idx in the file name.

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My innigrant ancestors arrived in St. Paul in the 1880's. The one missing document I'd really like to have is the marriage record of my paternal grandparents, Stanley Dachtera and Tekla Raczynska.

What really interests me is learning what life was like for them in those days. Published history tends to deal with the movers and shakers of the time, but I am more interested in the social history. I'd like to learn more about life on the Upper Levee in the the late 19th century..

I've learned a lot reading the St. Paul Globe on Chronicling America

And finding info on Digital Public Library of America https://dp.la/

I'll be grateful for suggestions for other resources. I'm in Florida so visits to MHS are not possible.


As part of my look up service, I use in addition to the index of books, a copy of a Minnesota Historical Society volume that has every name of Minnesotans who have appeared in publications. This adds thousands of names to the search.

The bios in the MHS one are condensed and understandably short because of the space restrictions of having so many names in one volume. But it is a good resource for seeing what else is available, if you want to do some more digging to see if you can find any of those earlier publications mentioned. I have been astounded at some of the discoveries I have made just looking into this other source.

I'm pretty sure this volume of the MHS is on line but as I recall the optical scan was not very accurate and there are a lot of errors in character reading. But if errors don't bother you, I could share a link of where the download is located. I haven't scanned the book myself, so I can't offer it to you at this time in a more accurate version. But I can scan individual pages for you, if the info is relevant.

When I say that I don't own some books, but took them off the internet, this is not to say that the files I have are the exact same copies that you will find on the net.

I usually correct the errors and turn the files into pdf or something easier to read. The advantage is that you get to see error free copy. I don't know why the ocr files are not spell checked by the people who post them, but they rarely do. One of my pet peeves about doing genealogy, is that you have to decipher what is being shared in most cases. It would be nice if people would take some pride in their work, but I guess they don't have the time to do the job right!

Fortunately, I've taken that time to redo some of them.

From my own experience in dealing with persons in the past, most people are not interested in the entire works of a multi-volume set. They only want the info that is related to their own family line. If a book only has 100 or 200 entries in the index for names, the chances are that your family line probably isn't there, but it might still be possible for me to do a search through all my index and find related names that might help you in some way. I don't want to be pessimistic about anything.

I must be honest, some of my index are from works that I don't actually have copies of the books, or scans of. They are readily available on the net. If this is the case, I will just come out and tell you so. I'm not interested in pretending that copyright materials belong to me. But for books that I have personally scanned with thousands of pages, I have no problem with asking for a small fee, especially if the info that I'm providing to you is useful.

Only if the info is no longer available on the net will I consider sharing the bios with you in those cases. But genealogical files usually remain on the net forever from my experience.

Here's how I scan a book. I came up with this format right from the beginning.

All the photos in the books (This includes steel engravings of persons.) are placed at the front of the files with the page number as the file title. You can easily match up the photo with the bio with the page number. The photos or engravings also have the signature of the person as a rule, so there is no confusion about who the person is. This makes it easy to do a slide show of all the photos without having to move them into a separate folder.

The remainder of the files are of text and they will have something before the page number, that would be the author of the set. So if the author's name was Coe, the file name would be: coe001.txt.

This means that every page is in order. If you go to the index and find a name you want to read the bio of, you just click on the image of that page which opens into windows viewer and the next pages are right there if it is more than one page long. This is not a pdf file where you have to go back and forth from the index to the page you want to read. You can have the index file open and the bio page open at the same time. They are completely separate. This really is the ultimate way to study it. No dirt gets on the pages of a book. It is all digitized.

There are no multimedia files with music soundtrack or videos. Just image files.

My disks work with either MACs or IBMs. No one has ever complained they couldn't get the images to load. But if you do have problems, let me know. I don't do this for a living, just a hobby.

All of the sources I use are older books. If you are looking for someone who was born in the last 30 years or so, don't waste your time. I'm not able to accomodate that kind of look up. You might want to go on white pages or one of those type of sites to search for a person and then contact them directly yourself to see if they are interested in sharing family history. I don't dabble in recent history.

Sometimes I can find things in the index of other publications of the MHS, such as farmer diaries. I can't really explain all of these other resources. I just use them if it seems possible that your ancestors might be included in one of them.

If your family has no farmers, it would be senseless to go there.
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