Genealogy Forms

Getting started with your family history? Check out How to Plant a Family Tree and the following blank forms:

Family Sheet

Individual Dossier

Personal Data Form


  1. I’m having difficulty locating a birth record for my ancestor (Ada Florence Hamilton, born 9 Sep 1876). I have located her living in Little Falls MN on the 1880 US Census, although her name is misspelled Eda F. Hamelton. She & I think her brother (Edward G. Hamilton, age 9 in 1880) were living with Mary & Samuel M. Hamilton (their aunt & uncle?), along with Mary’s father, Robert C. Masters, farmer & head of household. Would you be able to shed any light on Ada? Were she & her brother orphaned? Morrison county & Hennepin co. did not have a birth record for Ada. I know that she went on to marry Frank Stevens Selden on 17 Sep 1896 in Minneapolis, was the mother of my husband’s grandmother, and eventually died on 28 May 1904 in MN. Thank you for any assistance in this regard.
    Angela Harrington Norton
    Hillsborough, CA

  2. Angela – You have run up against one of the difficulties of research in Minnesota. Birth and death certificates were not required to be registered with the counties or state until 1907, so any before that can be hard to find. For finding birth and death records prior to 1907, you have to pinpoint where a person was born and check at the township level. Likely, the birth was merely recorded as a listing in a ledger, with no certificate available. Church records of baptisms can also help prove a birth.

    A number of Hamiltons lived in the Belle Prairie area of Morrison County. This is just north of Little Falls. I checked our Hamilton Family File, but could find no mention of Ada Florence, so I couldn’t tell whether she was any relation to the Hamiltons in the Belle Prairie area. I also checked the Minnesota Historical Society’s death index online to see if I could narrow down a birth place (the death index includes birthplace if known), but had no luck. I also looked for an obit in two of our county newspapers for that birthplace, but couldn’t find an obit for Ada, which could mean that she didn’t die in the county. (Death & birth certificates are required to be filed at the place of death or birth. If a person has a close connection to a location, but moves prior to death, sometimes the family will send an obit back to the person’s hometown newspaper.)

    If you suspect Ada and Edward were orphaned, you could try contacting the Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls. They used to have an orphanage and their archives have information on it (although they might not have info on orphans who were there only a short time). The contact number for the Franciscan Sister is 320-632-2981. When you call, ask for the archives.

    If you need more in-depth research, please send us an email at Our research fees can be found on this page:

    Good luck on your search!

    Mary Warner
    Museum Manager

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