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Ojibwe Family History Research: Archival / Manuscript Collections

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State Archives Collections


Ah-Gwah-Ching Sanatorium (Minnesota State Sanatorium) Records

Access to some of these records are restricted. Patient records are closed for 75 years from the date of the last entry. Researchers may apply to use these records in accordance with the State Archives access statement. Contact Library staff for assistance.

Authorized by the state legislature in 1903, the Minnesota Sanatorium for Consumptives—popularly known as the Ah-Gwah-Ching Sanatorium—was opened in 1907. The facility treated individuals suffering from tuberculosis until it was converted into a state-run nursing home in 1962. For Ojibwe Indian researchers, the most useful records will be found in the collections of Patient Records, Patient Registers, and Patient Index Cards.

Patient Records, 1908-1975
Records contain information on patients, much of it on individual patients. Included are movement of population records, reports to the State Board/Department of Health, patient admission and applications files, examination/X-ray records, and social histories detailing individuals’ families and backgrounds. Also present are post-mortem reports, death records, cemetery records, patient follow-up letters, and birth certificate stubs. Movement of population records include statistics for males and females, residents and non-residents, and Indians. Beginning in 1935, there are separate sets of application files for Indian patients. The examination/X-ray records mainly concern non-patients served at the sanatorium or off-site by sanatorium staff, particularly among the Indian population and at schools and public screenings.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Patient Registers, 1907-1961
Patient registers include patient number, admission data, examined by, name and address, county, sex, age, marital status, religion, occupation and place of business, maintained by (county or USIS), dependent, family physician, date of discharge, payment, and data on relatives or friends. The volume for Aug. 1921 – July 1925 is missing. Also present are admission (Nov.1943-April 1960) and death registers (Jan. 1944-Feb. 1960). Admissions data includes patient number and name, admitting date and doctor, age, sex, floor, address, county, marital status, guarantee, veteran, and physician. Death data includes patient number, name and address, death date, hour, and attending physician, autopsy performed by, cause of death, and mortician.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library ( Ah-Gwah-Ching Sanatorium (Minnesota State Sanatorium)).

Patient Index Cards, 1907-1962 
Patient information cards (5” x 8”) giving name, address, sex, date of birth, admission and discharge dates, discharge condition, and other information.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library ( Ah-Gwah-Ching Sanatorium (Minnesota State Sanatorium)).

White Earth Indian Reservation Register, 1895-1906
A register that appears to have been used to keep track of new enrollees on the reservation who may have been eligible for allotments (pp. 114-243), including a death register for January thru May 1896 (10 entries, pp. 2-3). In most cases, new enrollment was occasioned by birth. Hence, a majority of entries give child’s name, birth date, sex, band with whom enrolled, parents’ names, where enrolled, and related remarks. No private data is included. Entries do not run in exact chronological order. There are frequent references to individuals enrolled in bands other than White Earth, including Gull Lake, Otter Tail, Eastern Mississippi, Pembina, Mille Lacs, and Fond du Lac, and a list of "omitted Leech Lake Pillagers" (pp. 167-168). Also laid into the volume is a student census for school district no. 15 (undated, 1 page).
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Becker County, White Earth Indian Reservation). 

Manuscript Collections

Alan R. Woolworth Papers, 1774-2004 (bulk 1830-2000)
This collection includes biographical information on Ojibwe, Dakota and other Native American people in the Minnesota region. Personal papers, project files, field notebooks, and Indian claims court exhibits (1831-1945) of a Minnesota historical archaeologist. Correspondence (1942-2002) is with colleagues, friends, and family members, including wartime correspondence between Woolworth and his family. Project files contain correspondence, archaeological and historical surveys, field notebooks, legal documents, and similar materials created by Woolworth Research Associates to assist private companies, and city and county governmental units, in locating and preserving Indian artifacts and sites on property in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Defense exhibits (1831-1945) created for the United States Court of Claims, Docket No. 363, enumerate information on those receiving claims, amounts received, and similar information. 
Note: Access to part of this collection is restricted. Contact Library staff for assistance.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Annals of Minnesota: Chronological, Subject, and Geographic files, 1849-1992, 1941-1942 (bulk 1849-1887)
Includes typed transcriptions of or excerpts from newspaper articles relating to the history of Minnesota, compiled (1938-1942) from selected Minnesota newspapers under the auspices of the Minnesota Federal Writers’ Project, a program of the Minnesota Work Projects Administration. Information on the following broad topics appears in the chronological file, and in the subject and/or geographical files as appropriate: agriculture, business and industry, conservation, cooperatives, education and culture (includes religion), federal government, folkways, geography, immigration and settlement, labor, names, nationality (ethnic and racial) groups, natural resources, politics, public welfare, social attitudes, taxation, transportation, utilities, and weather and climate.  
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Correspondence, 1827-1878. American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Typewritten copies of correspondence with missionaries at the Ojibwe and Dakota missions in Minnesota. It also includes biographies, diaries, and other records sent to the board.
MNHS call number: BA10/.A512b

Northwest Missions Manuscripts and Index, 1776-1926
Typed transcripts and negative photocopies of letters, diaries, church records, and articles pertaining to Protestant and Catholic missions to the Ojibwe and Dakota Indians in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota Territory, and neighboring areas in Canada (1810-1896), and a card index to these and other items relating to northwest missions (1766-1926). The materials in the collection include information on the hiring of teachers for and financial problems of the missions, the conversion and education of the Indians, friction between missionaries and mission organizations, relations with United States Indian agents, the treaty of Traverse des Sioux (1851) and other Indian treaties, Indian intertribal warfare, and government support of mission schools. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 

Ransom Judd Powell Papers, 1843, 1896-1938
Ojibwe genealogical and census records, land allotment rolls, transcripts of legal testimony, correspondence, notes, abstracts of title, plats, deeds, and other papers stemming from Powell’s involvement with the White Earth Reservation as (1) a member of a commission established by Congress in 1913 to investigate the blood status of Indian allottees within the reservation, and (2) legal counsel both to lumber companies seeking title to Ojibwe lands and to various individual Indians defending their allotment selections. There is a substantial set of case files comprising testimony on the blood status of individual Ojibwe, Indian estate claims, and land titles and transfers; extensive files of family genealogies, a printed report on the blood status of White Earth landholders (the “Hinton roll”), several allotment rolls and supporting documentation, and White Earth Reservation plat books.
MNHS call number:  Digital Finding Aid

Records of an Investigation of White Earth Reservation Mixed Blood Indians, 1911-1915, United State Office of Indian Affairs
Letters, memoranda, legal documents, proceedings and testimony of hearings, a report, maps, and a genealogical chart from an investigation conducted during 1912-1915 by Thomas G. Shearman, assistant attorney for the Department of the Interior, in response to a claim by certain full-blood Ojibwe Indians of the White Earth Reservation that some Indians of mixed descent were illegally enrolled on the reservation’s annuity rolls, and should be removed from the rolls. Testimony of the Indians and related documents contain information about their families, the fur trade, and treaties. Also included is information on the handling of the cases of the Indians of mixed descent by their attorney, Ransom Judd Powell. Originals in the National Archives, Record Group 75, Records of the Department of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 

United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Selected Files Regarding Minnesota Chippewa Agencies
Photocopied records selected from files in the Bureau of Indian Affairs, gathered together by a researcher for a doctoral dissertation on White Earth Reservation (MN) Indian claims. The White Earth, Red Lake, and Consolidated Chippewa agency files include some information on land claims. 
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

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