Researcher's Notebook weblog

March 9, 2009

Minnesota State Census Available

Filed under: Research Tools, Resources — @ 3:10 pm

The Minnesota Historical Society now has available on its website an index for and images of the Minnesota State Census, 1849-1905. This is the same index and images currently available on but unlike Ancestry, MHS will be able to correct the index and even replace bad images. 

The index works like the Minnesota Birth Certificates and Minnesota Death Certificates indexes, with drop-down menus for “exact,” “contains,” “starts with,” and “ends with” for both last and first names; Soundex and extended Soundex; and the ability to limit the search by year and county.

The Society’s innovative WOTR (Write On The Record) comment feature is usable on the census index. This means that you can report errors and MHS will make corrections. Also, the census images can be purchased online, with electronic delivery within minutes, just like the birth certificate images.

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November 14, 2008

New Online Census Atlas of the U.S.

Filed under: Resources — @ 12:32 pm

Here is a link to a new online version of the Census Atlas of the United States

According to the State Data Center in the Indiana State Library, it has been more than eighty years since the last Census Atlas was published. This volume is rich in information about the American population from 1790 to 2000. The Ancestry section, in particular, shows many maps, including the Prevalent Ancestry in the U.S. for the year 2000 (Ch. 9, p.141). The Income and Poverty chapter is also helpful, with detailed maps (to the county level) as these topics relate to education, age, gender, and ethnicity.

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November 12, 2008

New Oral History Book

Filed under: Books, Resources — @ 4:06 pm

Mentioned at the October researchers meeting, and now out:

The American Indian Oral History Manual: Making Many Voices Heard

by Charles E. Trimble (Lakota), Barbara W. Sommer, Mary Kay Quinlan
Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press, Oct. 2008
160 pages; $22.95 paper
(25% discount on web orders through November 16)

Oral history is a widespread and well-developed research method in many fields, but the conduct of oral histories of and by American Indian peoples has unique issues and concerns that are too rarely addressed. This essential guide begins by differentiating between the practice of oral history and the ancient oral traditions of Indian cultures, detailing ethical and legal parameters, and addressing the different motivations for and uses of oral histories in tribal, community, and academic settings. Within that crucial context, the authors provide a practical, step-by-step guide to project planning, equipment and budgets, and the conduct and processing of interviews, followed by a set of examples from a variety of successful projects, key forms ready for duplication, and the Oral History Association Evaluation Guidelines. This vital manual will be the go-to text for everyone involved with oral history related to American Indians.

“This is an excellent guide and sourcebook for anyone conducting oral history projects in Native American and Alaska Native contexts. The guide is equally helpful for those working in villages, reservations, and heterogeneous schools. Although written with the Lower 48 in mind, the book’s suggestions and information are relevant throughout North America. The writing is good and clear, the organization helpful, the suggestions right on point. The section on intellectual copyright is a particularly valuable contribution to the literature. The guide is both timely and timeless: its treatment of the ever-changing realm of recording equipment, which wisely references Internet resources, will remain useful for many years to come.”

-Patricia H. Partnow, Ph.D.
Vice President of Cultural and Educational Services
Alaska Native Heritage Center

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July 29, 2008

Indian Agency Annual Reports on Google Books

Filed under: Books, Research Tools, Resources — @ 4:33 pm

Linda B. reports:

Indian Agency Annual Reports are now online through Google Books. I can’t tell how many are there–they are not listed chronologically. But the price is right; you can read material, copy it as text, and hug it if you like. As for printing, so far all I can do is lasso page segments, and paste elsewhere. The Print command only prints blanks for me, sigh.

It’s fabulous to be able to search for particular names or tribes. Just remember to use 19th century spellings!

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June 30, 2008

Library & Archives News Launched

Filed under: Interesting Information, Resources — @ 4:26 pm

A new MHS e-newsletter launched today. The Library & Archives News will be a bi-monthly e-newsletter with information on the library, archives, and collections’ blogs and podcasts, new acquisitions, new resources, the latest display in the library lobby, a research tip of the month, and anything else we can think of to add.

Want to subscribe? Go to the e-newsletter subscription page to sign-up.

It is too late to get the June issue delivered to your email in-box, but you will be able to find that issue online shortly.

Got ideas you would like to see in the e-newsletter, or a tip of the month to suggest? Send your comments to Kathie.

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March 18, 2008

“Camping With the Sioux” Now Available on Internet

Filed under: Resources — @ 12:49 pm

Mary B. found Camping with the Sioux: Fieldwork Diary of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, now digitized, available on the Internet.

The website explains: In the fall of 1881, Alice Fletcher traveled to Dakota Territory to live with Sioux women and record their way of life, accompanied by Susette La Flesche, an Omaha Indian, and journalist Thomas Henry Tibbles. Her trip was unprecedented. An unmarried woman of forty-three, Fletcher had no salary to speak of, no knowledge of Native American languages, and only informal anthropological training. Few people believed she could succeed.

Fletcher chronicled the trials and successes of her 1881 field trip in two journals accompanied by her drawings of the plains, reservations, and her many campsites throughout eastern Nebraska and southern South Dakota. Although they contain scant ethnographic information, Fletcher’s writings provide an important insight into the attitudes of many white scientists and administrators in the late nineteenth century with regard to what they termed “the Indian Question.”

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