History through Feb 2001

What's New At Houston Co, MN GenWeb?

February, 2001 New Items

The Midwest (including Houston County, MN) was hit with another snow storm this week.  This photo of snow covered trees in Minnesota reminds me of home - I won't tell them about the 85 degrees we had last Sunday.


If you haven't posted a query on the query boards in support of your genealogy searches, I would like to encourage you to place a query by sharing a few success stories.  

Last week, I received a query from a new genealogist who had placed a query on the HC board.  "Within 24 hours", she wrote, "I was in contact with a researcher in Europe and we were able to share a combined research".  

My personal stories include two important additions to my research.  I was able to find make the connection of my grandmothers' father with an avid genealogist who had traced the descendants of his grandparents.  His family research included over 1200 descendants.  I also was put in contact with the (unknown) half brother of my grandmother living in Montana.  I don't believe this connection could have happened without the internet.  My second major find was a woman who contacted me from a posting about the paternal side of my family.  She was adopted as a baby and was researching medical information of her biological parents.  I was able to provide her with contacts who could describe her mothers family history and she identified three half brothers.

Our research is more valuable when shared.  The internet is a remarkable medium for us to share the fruits of our labor.

Getting Started

This month's updates are dedicated to the new genealogy researchers in Houston County MN.  The emphasis is on getting organized and knowing where to look for the quick wins.  You will need a little encouragement to sustain your enthusiasm when you don't have clues on resolving the next link.

Where to start - most seasoned veterans will tell you to start with yourself.  

There are five steps to this process:

  1. Write down what you know
  2. Decide what you want to learn
  3. Choose a source of information
  4. Learn from your source (AND I would add - document the source)
  5. Use what you learn 

Learn more at -


While this site cannot help you write down what you know, it can help you choose a source of information, learn from your source, and use what you learn.  With the internet, the source of information may be just a search or click away to help identify family members, learn key dates (for example the Social Security Death index is searchable online).

Where do I find information about Houston County, MN families?

                             -  Microfilms at many public libraries and LDS libraries

The US Federal Census is a great way to find family members and link back many generations.  More than one of my families have lived in Houston County for six or seven generations.  I was able to fill in many of the siblings and parents of each family using this source.  You can also get ages, birth dates, location of birth and parents location of birth on some census.  There are known problems with using the US Federal Census data for research and getting an understanding of how the use this information is recommended.

MN State Census       -  Microfilms at many public libraries and LDS libraries

The MN State Census is another great way to find family members and link back many generations.  The 1885 and 1895 Census are especially useful for the generation of children that get lost because the 1890 Federal Census was destroyed during a fire.

Stay tuned for a description of more valuable sources...


November, 2000 New Items  

Check out the new Houston County MN Genealogy Community forum on MSN.  This is an interactive site containing message boards, filing cabinet for sharing transcribed files of genealogy source data, surname listing to facilitate contacting other researchers, a chat room, and recommendation pages to share your favorite publications or online links.  This is experimental - I'd like your feedback on whether you like greater control of the content.  Anyone who would like to be added as an administrator to the community site should email me.


Township Pages 

Several pages have had an index to the 1860 US Census Data added.  The completed index pages are Black Hammer, Brownsville, Caledonia, Crooked Creek & La Crescent.

1880 Census Transcription

I've begun working on the transcription of the 1880 Census.  La Crescent is complete and Hokah is 1/3 complete. The LaCrescent file is now on the Houston County Genealogy Community site.  I also posted template files which you can download to enter your own source transcriptions and repost to the community site.


Additional Transcription Records

I have also posted files from my research over the years including birth records and death records from Houston County from my families.  If you are searching families from Mound Prairie - this is definitely worth a look because the birth records contain all recorded births for this township from 1870 until about 1909.  The "E" surname index from the death records, many of the "O" surnames and many other extractions with possible connections to my research (and potentially yours).  Look at the filing cabinet on the Houston County  MN Genealogy Community site.  This site is password protected, but you can join easily.  I've also included templates for you to share your own data.  Take 1/2 an hour and submit a census page, death record, or birth record and you may be able to save someone else hours of research.



 September, 2000 New Items 

Another Source

Here's a suggestion just came in!

http://lplcat.lacrosse.lib.wi.us/genealogy/ - The LaCrosse Library Web site lists the dates that Obituaries, births, etc were published in the LaCrosse Tribune. 

The Obituary's date back to the early 1900's and there is a major effort underway to expand the cemetery section.  I spent a few minutes looking for my families and found dozens of matches in just a few minutes.  

This is definitely worth the virtual trip for those researching families from Houston County!

How to Help

I've outlined a number of ways to contribute from your own resources and research to help other genealogists from Houston County, MN.  I look forward to hearing from you! 


 We have a volunteer added to the Lookups page willing to do look-ups from the 1919 History of Houston County.  Check this out.

How to Help   Lookups


Review the township pages for Black Hammer and La Crescent

The LaCrescent township page now includes links to an online publication for La Crescent and Houston County News.  In addition, an index page for the 1860 census La Crescent township has been added.  The index includes a link to each of the La Crescent townships pages as well as an alphabetical listing of the names which includes the page, family, line number, sex, and age of the individual.  I trust you will find this easier to identify and navigate the names you are researching.  This township page now includes a listing of all of the churches currently in the La Crescent area.  If you family came from La Crescent - this is worth a look.  Stay tuned....I am working on extracting the 1880 Census for La Crescent township, as well.

La Crescent  1860 La Crescent Census Index

The Black Hammer  township page now an index page for the 1860 census Black Hammer township  The index includes a link to each of the Black Hammer townships pages as well as an alphabetical listing of the names which includes the page, family, line number, sex, and age of the individual.  I trust you will find this easier to identify and navigate the names you are researching.   If you family came from Black Hammer Township  - this is worth a look. 

Black Hammer   1860 Black Hammer Census Index

August, 2000 New Items 

Updates to the Census Sample for 1860, Houston County, MN

After several marathon weekends transcribing the remaining pages, the 1860 census draft is complete for all pages.  There were several pages on the microfilm that were almost unreadable, but now the 176 pages and 6700+ individuals are included in the sample census

Review the index for the 1982 History of Houston County 

The index under sources for the 1982 history of Houston County has been completed.  Check this list to see if your family has a biography to add to your genealogy sources.  If you find your family and would like information from this book, send me a lookup request and I'll scan the biography for you.

1982 History of Houston County Index


Request for Houston County Genealogists

Do you have a copy of a page of census data, birth records, cemetery transcriptions, or other sources from your research? Consider addition your data to the ftp archive for Houston County on the US GenWeb Archives.  



Check for the Query Boards

I've received several entries in the guestbook asking suggesting a query board, so the Boards page has been renamed.  Hopefully, this will make the navigation more obvious.  Let me know what else you'd like to see on the site

Sources, Publications Page

The publications pages now contains the reference information for each of the US Federal Census microfilms for Houston County between 1860 & 1900.


!!!!   More than 10 families added with references to Houston County MN   !!!!  

Families Online

Description of Major Categories

The What's New Page (this page) keeps you up-to-date on the recent changes to the Houston County, MN GenWeb page.  As improvements in the content occurs, they will be highlighted here.  This page is expected to be updated about once each month.

The Townships Page contains a history of the township, along with reference information for specific churches, cemeteries, libraries, etc. which are found in the township.

The Boards Page is renamed to Query Boards Page and it contains links to each of the USGenWeb boards for queries, pensions, wills, deeds, bibles, etc.  The boards allow you to queries other genealogists for additional information about your families as well as posting information you have found in your research to share with others.  I have found that sharing information I have is an effective way of connecting with other researchers.  Please take a minute to post one item (obituary, deed source, etc) to the boards every time you visit.  The more robust this information gets, the more valuable this site will be.

The Lookups Page is still being developed, but this will contain a list of individuals who are willing to do limited look-ups for other researchers.  Please let me know what types of information you would prefer to be included here.

The Valuable Links  Page contains three categories on on-line information related to Houston County.  The first group represents the common heritage found in Houston County, the second represents on-line research links, and the third contains a list of published Houston family genealogy and history information on the internet.

The Source contains a list of locations in Houston County which house source documents useful for genealogy research.  In addition, a sub-page provides a listing of documents found to be very useful including Census listings, Birth & Death records, etc.