Research Guide for Native Community Members

Researching Native Family History

Family at camp photographed by William Henry Illingworth (MNHS call number E99.31 p22)

MNHS has a variety of records that can help in family history research as well as access to other databases such as and for researchers who visit in-person. Researchers may also be able to access these resources through their local public or academic libraries. 

For researchers unable to visit our library in person, is a free genealogical resource which can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. 

For specific information please see Dakota, Métis or Ojibwe family history research guides.

Examples of materials relating to family history:

Episcopal Church Diocesan records, 1823-2015. Parish registers typically include records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and burials. Many also contain notes on parish history. Some parish registers contain information on more than one parish. MNHS call number: Digital finding aid

Grand Portage Chippewa: Stories and Experiences of Grand Portage Band Members, Oral Histories Collected and Introduced by Donald J. Auger and Paul Driben. MNHS call number: E99.C6 G728 2000. From the book forward by former Minnesota governor, Elmer L. Anderson: "This book is an attempt to preserve some of the traditions and experiences as recounted by members of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.... It is an important addition to an important part of Minnesota's history and culture, recorded now in the words of those who lived it". The oral histories are accompanied by personal photos and includes an interview with the artist George Morrison. 

1889 Census of Mdewakanton Sioux Living in Minnesota. This is a transcribed copy of the original handwritten census compiled by Robert B. Henton ("Hinton") that is held by the National Archives. Digital images of the original can be viewed on the National Archives website (search by the term "Mdewakanton"). MNHS call number: Reading Room CS42.M553 No. 30. Online access via the National Archives

Suggested keywords to search in our library and archives catalog and Collections Online database for additional materials related to Native family history:  

  • Genealogy
  • Enrollment
  • Allotment
  • Scrip


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