Saturday, December 21, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 21

December 21, 1922 – Minnesota jurist Pierce Butler was confirmed as an Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court on this date by a wide margin of 61 to 8. He is notable for being the first Justice from Minnesota, and for being a Democrat appointed by a Republican president.

Associate Justice Pierce Butler

Friday, December 20, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 20

December 20, 1979 - Construction on the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome began on this date and “was funded by a limited hotel-motel and liquor tax, local business donations, and payments established within a special tax district near the stadium site. The Metrodome itself cost $55 million to build—significantly under budget—totaling around $124 million with infrastructure and other costs associated with the project added.

Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome

Thursday, December 19, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 19

December 19, 1957 – “Governor Orville L. Freeman appointed L. Howard Bennett to a municipal judgeship in Minneapolis, making him the first African American judge appointed in Minnesota.”

After his campus appearance in 1959, Martin Luther King Jr. was interviewed by L. Howard Bennett, a local civil rights leader and the first African American judge in Minnesota, for local educational television. The video may be seen through MN Video Vault, a project of Twin Cities Public Television.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 18

December 18, 1915 – The swan song of the saloons was sung in Pennington county [today] when 12 thirst parlors closed their doors and for three years at least the authorities promise a ‘dry’ zone, so far as law enforcement can make this possible. The passing of saloons in [Thief River Falls] removes many old-time landmarks and places of amusement where in the halycon (sic) days of the lumberjack and woodsman, high jinks and good fellowship, in a rough way, to be sure, but quite common at that, prevailed. Moving picture houses, groceries, confectionaries and soft drink emporiums are to take the place of saloons here.”

The Bemidji Daily Pioneer; Bemidji, Minn.; December 20, 1915; p. 1.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 17

December 17, 1942 – The dedication ceremony was held for the Sister Kenny Institute located at 1800 Chicago in Minneapolis. Elizabeth Kenny “was an unaccredited Australian nurse who promoted a controversial new approach to the treatment of poliomyelitis in the era before mass vaccination eradicated the disease in most countries. Her findings ran counter to conventional medical wisdom; they demonstrated the need to exercise muscles affected by polio instead of immobilizing them. Kenny's principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of physical therapy, or physiotherapy.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 16

December 16, 1886 – “The Village of Golden Valley was incorporated [on this date]. During its early years, Golden Valley was an agricultural community of only a few hundred residents, full of farms, mills, and dairies. Residential development began after the Electric Luce Line Railroad was cut through the village in 1912.”

Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Dec. 16, 2013, 
as long as acknowledgement included.  

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Family Names

Does your family have names—first names—that are handed down generation after generation? Do you know where the names originated?

My mother’s name was Betty Louise. I never thought much about it, until I discovered that my grandma’s name was Ida Louise. Upon further research, I found that my great-grandmother’s name was Louise, and my great-great-grandmother’s name was Louise; four continuous generations of Louise.

My mother skipped the Louise name with my sisters and me (although I was originally supposed to be name Kathryn Louise, but my parents changed their minds after I was born, concluding I didn't look like a Kathryn). But one of my sisters gave her daughter Louise as a middle name. And so the tradition continues.

As most genealogists will attest, researching continuous generations of men with the same first and last names can be very frustrating. In my family, the same line in fact, my great-great-grandmother Louise’s father’s name was Ernst; her brother’s name was Ernst, and his son, her nephew’s name was Ernst. When I find land records for Ernst Landt in Manitowoc County, Wis., which Ernst is it? Census records, birth records, death records, etc., can help make some sense of who is who, but what if those records aren't clear or are unavailable?

Everyone deserves to be recognized and remembered. If you’re going to continue to pass down a family name, at least give your child a unique middle name or middle initial. Trust me, future family genealogists will thank you.

My great-grandmother, Louise Kampf Kniss

LLet me help you find the original “Louise” or “Ernst” in your family.

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

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

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 15

December 15, 1892 – American industrialist J. Paul Getty was born in Minneapolis on this date. “He founded the Getty Oil Company, and in 1957 Fortune magazine named him the richest living American, whilst the 1966 Guinness Book of Records named him as the world's richest private citizen, worth an estimated $1,200 million.”

J. Paul Getty,1944.jpg