Saturday, September 7, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 7

September 7, 1876 – “The James and Younger gang botched an attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minn. [on this date]. Joseph Heywood, the bank teller, was shot and killed when he refused to open the safe. The 3 Younger brothers, Cole, Bob and Jim, were captured 2 weeks later in a swamp near Madelia [Minn.]. 3 others were killed. Photos of all 6 were taken at the time and identified by Cole Younger, who wrote the names on the pictures. The pictures sold at auction in 1999 for $39,100. The raid was reenacted in 1948 and became a regular event in 1970.”

Friday, September 6, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 6

September 6, 1861 – Frederick E. DuToit enlisted in Co. “A” Fourth Minn. as a private on this date, participated in the siege of Vicksburg, and mustered out as a first lieutenant in Louisville, KY, on July 4, 1865. When he returned to Chaska, he bought a half-interest in the local newspaper, The Weekly Herald, and eventually became the sole owner. He continued to publish the paper until his death in 1922.1

The Herald Block, the newspaper’s office beginning in 1871, is a commercial building of cream-colored Chaska brick that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 4, 1980.2

1The Weekly Herald; Frederick DuToit’s Obit; May 24, 1922; p. 1.

Frederick E. DuToit

The Herald Block, Chaska, Minn.

Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Sept. 6, 2013,
as long as acknowledgement included.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

On this Date in Minnesota History: September 5

September 5, 1920 - The main attraction on the opening day of the 1920 Minnesota State Fair “was a ‘Gigantic Locomotive Collision’ at the grandstand, with two 160,000-pound engines slamming into each other at 60 mph.”

Photo from Heritage Square, Minnesota State Fair

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 4

*September 4, 1862 - The town of Hutchinson “was founded in 1855 by a group including the famous Hutchinson Family, who were singers/entertainers. The town was attacked by Little Crow on this date during the Sioux Outbreak. A stockade 100 feet square was erected on the present public square, and was successfully defended by home guards, but several unprotected buildings were burned."

Guide to historic markers erected by the State Highway Department cooperating with the Minnesota Historical Society
All rights reserved by bookworm1225

This tablet marks the site of a stockade built by the settlers of Hutchinson and vicinity for protection against the Sioux Indians. Sept. 4, 1862, Chief Little Crow’s band attacked the stockade and was repulsed. Erected Oct. 4, 1905.
All rights reserved by bookworm1225

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 3

September 3, 1917 – “Residents of five central Minnesota counties believed they experienced earth tremors” lasting for six to eight seconds around 3:30 p.m. “A distinct rumbling sound [much like] an engine running on a railroad track was heard simultaneously in” Benton, Crow Wing, Stearns, Todd and Wadena counties.

The Duluth News-Tribune; “State Has First Earth Tremors, Five Central Minnesota Counties Jarred by ‘Shocks’ Monday Afternoon“; September 4, 1917; p. 1.

Monday, September 2, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 2

Theodore Roosevelt,_1904.jpg

September 2, 1901 – On this date, “one of the most significant dates in the Minnesota State Fair's history, then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was visiting and first uttered the famous phrase, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick.’ Roosevelt became president just 12 days later after William McKinley was assassinated.”

Photo from Heritage Square at Minn. State Fair

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Pedigree Charts: Not Just for Animals Anymore

When most people hear the term “pedigree chart,” they think dogs or horses. Genealogists, like me, think family tree.

A genealogy pedigree chart is a map of family lines. I use it to keep track of a client’s main lines, e.g., from the client ® their parents ® their paternal and maternal grandparents ® their paternal great-grandparents and maternal great-grandparents, etc.  Siblings and cousins are not included in the main line pedigree chart, so I put them on a separate chart. 

Begin with the individual whose line you want to research in the box that says “You.” Then fill in his or her parents, using the mother’s maiden name for her surname, and their birth and death dates (at least the years). Next, if you can, fill in the names and birth and death dates of the grandparents and the great-grandparents.

You don’t have to track your whole family on one chart; you can concentrate on following just your mother’s line or your paternal grandmother’s line, or follow one family—mother, father, children, children’s spouses, children’s children, etc., as far back as you can. Following a family requires a variation of the main line pedigree chart.

I usually start following the main lines because for me it’s a critical guide back in time: surnames, maiden names, birth dates, death dates, etc.  It’s extremely helpful in finding related census, military, birth and death records.

Many families have first names that are passed down generation after generation; for example, in one German line of my family, grandfather, father and son were all named Ernst (and the grandfather and son both married women named Fredrika—mind-numbing). When I discover documents or newspaper references, the pedigree chart helps me determine which Ernst I’m looking at by their birth date and death date; e.g., it can’t be the grandfather if he’s already passed, or the son if he’s only five years old at the time.

Interested in researching your family tree?  Send me an email at and I will send you a Word doc pedigree chart.

LLet me help you find out what parts of Minnesota history your family played a role in.

Discover your roots and watch the branches of your family tree begin to grow.

For more information on my Family History Research services, visit and click on Family History Research in the left-hand column.

On This Date in Minnesota History: September 1

September 1, 1976 – “The legal drinking age [in Minnesota] was raised [from 18] to 19 in 1976 (Laws of Minnesota 1976, chapter 66).”