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Minnesota Genealogical Society

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Mendota Heights, MN  55120-1367
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Midwest migration Institute


This institute-style course includes eight 75-minute classroom sessions over two days. Some of the Upper Midwest’s most accomplished genealogy researchers and educators will lead students on a geo-genealogy tour that will give students the background and tools to better understand migration of ancestral families to and through the Midwest and beyond. In a short closing session, instructors and students will review what they’ve learned and brainstorm about next steps for students' family migration research.

Friday, August 18

 Session  Topics  Instructor


Migration Problems and Strategies

  • Midwest geo-genealogy
  • Decisions to migrate
  • Trans-Appalachia migration
  • Direct European migration
  • Migration research methodology
  • Migration Sources
J. H. Fonkert, CG

 Geography, Migration, and Settlement

  • North American physical geography
  • Cultural seedbeds and streams
         Upland South
  • Routes and transportation
  • Midwest migration magnets
J. H. Fonkert, CG

 Midwest Land Records and Research

  • Genealogical gold in land records
  • State land vs. public land states
  • Alienation of public lands –preemption, bounty lands, private land claims land grants, homestead acts, private land transactions
  • Plotting the land
  • Finding ancestors’ land records
Tom K. Rice, CG

 Midwest Railroad History and Records

  • Increased speed and proliferation of migration routes in railroad era
  • Shift from investment in water travel to railroads
  • Role of railroads in promoting immigration and settlement
  • Railroad land grants and land sales
  • Employment and other records created by railroads
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

More Info...

Saturday, August 19

 Session  Topics  Instructor
Midwest Ethnic Settlements and Migrations
  • Ethnic settlements in the Upper Midwest
  • Push-pull factors for migration
  • Why ancestors emigrated and settled or migrated where they did within the U.S.
  • Records and sources for tracking Midwst ethnic settlements and migrations
Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG
Midwest Archives and Other Repositories
  • Kinds of records that document ancestral migrations
  • Survey of major Midwest archives and repositories
  • Using catalogs and finding aids
  • Personal papers, business papers, and membership records of social and fraternal organizations
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
Finding Manuscript Materials Online
  • Defining manuscripts
  • How they can enrich family history research
  • Finding and accessing manuscripts: libraries and archives
  • Online discovery tools: Google and online collections, online collections
  • Searching within catalogs
  • Searching within documents
    Tom K. Rice, CG
    Mapping and Writing a Family Migration Narrative
    • Finding historic maps
    • Kinds of migration stories
    • Mapping family migrations
    • Tips for writing a family migration history
      J. H. Fonkert, CG
       Wrap up Discussion
      • What have we learned?
      • Now what?
       Faculty Team

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