Research FAQ

These questions may help you get started on your research, whether you’re looking family history, house history, or just trying to learn more about a part of Anoka County.

What can I do to prepare for research at the History Center?

1) Figure out and write down the specific question(s) that you want answered.

2) Bring all the information you currently have with you.

3) Bring a pencil and paper (or digital equivalent) to take notes about what you find.

4) Bring a flash drive/USB stick with you, in case there are digital files you want to take home.

How do I find out more about an ancestor/family member?

Make sure you bring as much information as you have about that person or their near relatives with you to the History Center: full name, important life dates, full names of relatives, etc. If you don’t have that information about your great-grandmother, but do have it about your grandmother, then bring your grandmother’s information. It’s often possible to work from one relative to another.

How do I find out more about the history of my house?

House history is often difficult. Except for limited, well-known historic properties, many people don’t think to document or save things that specifically relate to the history of a building, such as blueprints or ownership records. There are ways to find information, but be aware that it is usually much easier to search for historical information about people than about buildings.

Grab this Hunting House History guide from ACHS to get started.

I don’t know how to use microfilm. Can you help me?

Yes! We provide basic training for any patrons who come in and need to learn how to do something new, like using the microfilm reader. Staff members and volunteers are always available to help. Just come with a willingness to learn and we’ll take it from there.

I’ve searched your online collections, but you don’t seem to have very much.

Our online collections are still a work in progress! As of May 2019, we have only just started to make some of our collections available publicly on the Internet. We’re going to work at steadily making more photographs, documents, and artifacts accessible that way, so please bear with us!

There are also some items in the collection that are restricted, and will not be made public.

You can search our full museum database here at the History Center, or contact us with questions.

Why are your online collections on a shared website?


Have a question that’s not answered here?

Contact Us

Ready to get started? Go back to the main Research page.