Roseau County Historical Society Research Center Family Files
By Charleen Haugen, January 18, 2006
Researching family history has increasing become a favorite hobby of many people. Often the Roseau County Historical Society has either residents or visitors who coming to do family research. They are both pleased and amazed at the historical society at what is available. It is our goal to make the research center one of the finest in northwest Minnesota. We want it to cover all areas of Roseau County history, including family history.
For this reason, we feel it is important to encourage any former or present resident of Roseau County to come in a check out their family file. Have you checked out your family file, is it up to date? There are many ways you can bring it up to date. One can make a new file, update or add to an old family file at any time.
Often we receive calls from individuals and families asking if they can make their own family file for the research center. Our enthusiastic answer is yes! So then, you may ask what does one put in a family file? We will do our best to answer to that question in this article.
Some individuals may ask, “Why would I want a file in the historical society?” There are several reasons, the most important being, all of your future family members will have access to their family’s history in one place and will have the ability to add to it and update it. Being able to have the information centrally located makes sense when you look at the immigration of your own family. Genealogy has become popular with people from all over the world; they contact historical societies seeking information on their family members.
A recent Roseau County Historical Society example brings home this point. A party from Sweden who requested information on a great-grandfather, a Dr. Norin, contacted us. Some time during 2005, Lillian Nelson wrote an article on Dr Frans Ludvig Norin for the Roseau Area Writers Workshop booklet, Regional Ramblings 2005. During Lillian’s research, she requested a photograph of Dr. Norin. We located one in his family file, which also included additional information. A couple of months later, while we were working on the Minnesota centennial photograph project, another photograph of Dr. Norin was discovered. He had served as County Coroner in the early 1900s. The man who requested the research was pleased to receive not only information on his great-grandfather, but also photographs of him. One thing that could have really benefited the file was family photographs. This request came 105 years after Dr. Norin served as County coroner.
A family file should consist of several items, one of these should be family group sheets and generational or pedigree chart (available at the historical society) of one’s family, including parents, children, and extended family members and their birth, marriage, and death dates and places. One should include a general history of ones family. Newspaper articles proclaiming special events or activities of a family member may have participated in or received special recognition for can be included in the file. Examples may include business advertisements or promotions, school activities, organizational membership, or any miscellaneous article pertaining to a family member. Immigration, census, and military records all add historical information to a file.
Looking at family history can be frustrating if the date and author are not included with the information.
Dr. Norin’s file included several pages of coroner reports, checks received, newspaper articles including obituaries, marriage announcements, his arrival in Roseau, and several small newspaper clippings pertinent to the time he spent in Roseau.
See the following article on photographs in a family file.