Is there interest in geneology?

Published 8:39 am Tuesday, May 11, 2010

For us old timers, the ABC television series “Roots” sent us to libraries far and wide for some help with our own genealogy. Today, the pursuit seems to have faded. However, on a recent overnight in Illinois, on the way to Georgia, I picked up a Sunday paper that carried what might be an answer to present and future genealogical challenges. It’s particularly appropriate for those who have lived in surrounding area, Wells and those who live here now. 

 The newspaper included three sections titled “Memory Lane.” Those sections featured what I’d call “keepsake” information written by their local people about the early lives of people who once lived in that community. The stories told of families, their celebrations, churches, schools, farms and community life.

A duplication of such newspaper sections on a regular basis could become a repository for historical information and data that will help new generations of genealogists to connect the dots. The Tribune is so fortunate to have Ed Shannon on its staff with all the area’s past memories he has researched. 

Email newsletter signup

A recent phone call from an Albert Lea individual who was seeking Wells family and area history has motivated this letter — to plant the idea of documenting information from past generations for a collection of area memories.

Why the importance? Once we go, our stories go with us, lost forever. 

If you agree that such an endeavor here makes sense, an organizational meeting will be planned in June in Wells. We’ll exchange ideas on methods to gather and hold stories, artifacts, documents and other evidence of generations gone by. We expect to talk about seeking potential funding sources for a possible publication of information and data and we’ll reach out to involve the entire community in the project. 

Just what can be done with assembled information is mind-boggling. Maybe it’s a publication, a series of publications, a separate library or section at current libraries. Maybe our Wells Depot, now restored, can double as a library. Or, with today’s computer technology, maybe our genealogical collection is a website full of stories, photos and copies of important documents. Maybe the collection is offered in all of the above forms. 

Community history is not just the work of individuals, of course. We want to invite and encourage organizations, such as clubs, schools, churches and businesses to get involved, too. 

Assistance is needed. If you’re interested, contact me at (507) 402-0832. Or write to me at: Jim Ramaker, 44 Third Ave. S.W., Wells, MN 56097. If you prefer, send an e-mail message to me at, subject line: Memories. 

Watch the city of Wells website or newspaper announcements for the time, place and date of an organizational meeting. 

Jim Ramaker