Learning about long lost family members takes time

Published 10:55 am Saturday, October 13, 2012

Column: Pat Mulso, Preserving the Past

By the time you are reading this article our museum research group will be back from Salt Lake City where we have been researching at the world’s largest genealogical library. Each person comes with questions and tasks to enhance their family story. It’s not only finding the direct line of information that is exciting, but it’s the little pieces of information that you pick up along the way that helps you to develop your story.

Pat Mulso

On my dad’s side many of the relatives died young, and there was not a lot of family history that was passed down. As I was researching on this trip I found that one of my grandpa’s second cousins (from Ohio) was a chemist for the Mayo medical center in 1930 and lived next door to William Mayo in Rochester, before moving to New York and later passing away in New Jersey.

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I also was able to access some obituary indexes that will hopefully lead me to new clues on my direct line. Another data base supplied me with photos of relatives that I knew existed, but had no idea what they looked like. With the addition and availability of the 1940 census we can now fill in gaps and verify information up to that date. The library opens at 8 a.m., and we work diligently all day. After a break for supper we work into the night to organize what we have found during the day and prepare our list for the next day’s research. There is no rest for the weary on this type of a trip.

If you haven’t driven by the museum lately, you will be amazed at the leap forward our building project has taken. As we enter the last quarter of the year we focus on our plans for the coming year and that includes the budget. Our membership campaign started in September and runs through the end of 2012 for the 2013 calendar year.

As you renew your membership to the museum, consider including a donation for the building expansion project. Every donation, large and small is needed to help us raise enough money to complete the project. By renewing your membership now, it makes the planning process for next year’s programs an easier task. We appreciate your continued support and are always looking for new ways to engage the community in our programs and resources.

We will be hosting a four-hour refresher defensive driving class from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 5. This special class is offered for only $5 for anyone who has been in the military or a spouse of a military person. Any others may take the class for the normal fee of $19 per person. This special offer for veterans and their spouses is offered from AARP. Space is limited, so be sure to register early to reserve your spot. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You will need your driver’s license when you register and if you are a member of AARP, we will need that number as well.

I’d like to say a special thank you to all our museum volunteers! We average more than 117 hours per week of volunteer help. Without our volunteers we would have many projects that would go undone. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to helping us build the future by preserving the past for the benefit of our future generations! We couldn’t do it without you!

Remember, what happens today is history tomorrow and without someone to record and preserve, we would have nothing to refer back to. Make a memory today and share it with a loved one, or at least make a record of it!


Pat Mulso is the executive director of the Freeborn County Historical Museum in Albert Lea.