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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published September 18 2011

Halgrimson: Organizations can help with historical research

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell therein.”

– Zora Neale Hurston

For those interested in digging into the history of our area and the families who have lived here, the following organizations are some places to satisfy your curiosity:

Institute for Regional Studies

Location: Skills and Technology Training Center, Room 117, 1305 19th Ave. N., Fargo.

Mailing address: NDSU Libraries, PO Box 5599, Fargo, ND 58105-5599

Phone: (701) 231-8914

Fax: (701) 231-5632

Email: NDSU.Library.Archives@ndsu.edu

Website: www.ndsu.edu/archives

Hours: Academic year:

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to

8 p.m. Wednesday; closed Saturday and Sunday.

Summer hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; closed Saturday and Sunday.

The Institute for Regional Studies at North Dakota State University encourages regional scholarship. Its purpose is to promote research and the study of regional life.

The institute’s collections are available for research to North Dakota State University students, faculty and staff as well as the general public. Anyone with a legitimate historical research need can contact the archives staff, either in person, via email or phone.

No materials may be removed from the research room, and all materials must be returned to the desk attendant.

No requests for material will be accepted 15 minutes before closing time, and researchers should finish their work and return materials to the desk attendant five minutes before closing time.

The collection includes Cass County marriage records; pioneer biography files; North Dakota federal and territorial census records, tract books, naturalization records; microfilm newspaper holdings; indices and obituaries from The Forum; and manuscripts, books, databases and indices, digital materials, genealogy and biography, photographs, NDAC and NDSU history.

Cass County Historical Society

Location: 1351 W. Main Ave., West Fargo

Mailing Address: Bonanzaville, PO Box 719, West Fargo, ND 58078

Phone: (701) 282-2822

Email: info@bonanzaville.com

Website: www.bonanzaville.com/index.html

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: $8 for adults, $5 for ages 6-16, free for ages 5 and under

Membership: $30 an individual

History: The Cass County Historical Society was organized in 1954 and became a nonprofit corporation in 1955. The museum started with the donation by the Pioneer Daughters of the contents of it historical museum, then housed at NDSU. The 12-acre village of Bonanzaville began in 1957, and 43 old buildings have been gathered from around the area.

An addition to the museum is now under construction. It will be finished by summer 2012, and at that time a library and archives will be open to the public.

Red River Valley Genealogical Society

Location: 112 N. University Drive, Suite L-116, Fargo, N.D.

Mailing address: PO Box 9284, Fargo, ND 58106-9284

Phone: (701) 239-4129 (during library hours)

Email: rrvgs@fargocity.com

Website: www.redrivergenealogy.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and by appointment. Call to make arrangements at other times.

The genealogical society’s library holds an extensive research collection, including cemetery data at www.rootsweb.com/~ndgenweb; some census indices, Cass County marriage and naturalization records; funeral home records and local newspaper obituaries; city directories, plat books and maps; and pioneer biographies. The library holds more than 5,000 family history research books for the following counties, plus books for eastern states and foreign countries. It also houses the Hallinglag Norwegian research library.

Red River Valley counties include: Cass, Barnes, Benson, Burke, Cavalier, Dickey, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Griggs, LaMoure, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, Stutsman, Towner, Traill, Walsh and Wells in North Dakota; and Becker, Clay, Kittson, Marshall, Norman, Polk and Wilkin in Minnesota.

Membership dues are $15 a year, which includes a quarterly newsletter and use of their resources.

Fee-based research services that support the library’s operating costs are provided by volunteers and are collected before research begins. They do not search in county courthouses.

Next week we’ll run a list of similar organizations in Clay County.


Readers can reach Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com