Yesterday I received a postcard from the Carver County Historical Society of Carver County, Minnesota announcing a rebuild of their website along with news of the addition of fully indexed online library of 15,000 photographs held by the society. I was excited because my family has a long history with the county.
My paternal family had immigrated to Minnesota from Sweden in 1850 making them one of the earliest settlers of the territory. My Great Grandfather was born in Carver County and grew up to be one of the original members of the town council of Cologne, MN. His first born son was born in Carver County and moved with him as he homesteaded in Cuba, North Dakota, in 1886. My grandfather was raised in North Dakota, was married and raised a family on the prairie. My father was born near that farm in 1917. I was raised on that same farm (Now owned by one of my cousins) and lived in North Dakota until 1990 when I coincidentally moved to a small town near Carver County too start a career in Insurance.
I knew my family had relatives in the area, but knew nothing about the county or the people in it. I became interested in my family tree and began a 25 yearlong investigation of my family’s history with one of the first steps beginning with research at the Historical societies in the area. Thousands of hours were spent pouring over microfiche and index cards that contained newspaper information that had been indexed and computerized.
So, while I was very happy to hear about the new service, I was not expecting too much in the way of new information. You see I had been associated with the society for nearly 20 years during which time I had researched well of 40,000 individuals associated with my family, mostly in and around Minnesota and North Dakota and thought I had mined the source completely dry.
Imagine my surprise to enter my family name into a search engine only to discover a long lost photo of my father as a baby being held by his older sisters taken nearly 100 years ago. I can only surmise that my Great Grandparents had sent a copy of the picture to one of the cousins who still lived in Carver County many years ago.
Obviously I have ordered a duplicate of the photo to share with my brothers and sisters. I am sure they will cherish the photo as much as I.
I maintain a membership in a number of historical societies and have always been amazed at the dedication and sacrifice displayed by their memberships to maintain, catalog and display our history. Over the next few years I will be retiring from my insurance business and am looking forward to many hours of volunteering at the society to repay those people who have given me so much.