Even the St. Paul police need genealogists

On Wednesday evening I saw an article at Twincities.com that told of a tombstone being found in St. Paul and that the police had been unable to determine where it belonged. It read “Marie Olsen 1879-1932.” The article stated police had done a search of birth and death indexes but had not found her. I called the phone number that was in the article and left a comment that I had found at least two possibilities for this Marie doing some online searches.

Additionally, I wonder what birth index they checked? The statewide Minnesota birth indexes at Ancestry.com and the Minnesota Historical Society’s website do not include 1879 era births. If she was born in Minnesota, there might be a city, township, or county level birth record. However, most births in that time period were not registered. Marie may not have been born in St. Paul or even in Minnesota and a death record might provide that clue as would censuses. 

I checked the Minnesota death indexes at Ancestry.com and on the Minnesota Historical Society’s (MHS) website. One possibility at Ancestry.com was a woman listed “Marie Andrew Olsen” who died in Ramsey County on November 21, 1932. Then I found a “Mrs. Marie Andrew Olsen” on the MHS website with a death date of November 21, 1932 in Ramsey County.

My next check was the 1930 census at Ancestry.com using the name Marie Olsen, born 1879 and with a spouse Andrew and living in Minnesota. I didn’t hit pay dirt this way so searched for a Mar* Olsen, born 1879, husband Andrew, living in Minnesota. I tried several different search strategies but didn’t spend much time on it as I have some work deadlines to tackle.

The online newspaper article was upated at 11:17 P.M on Wednesday and this was added: (yes, it really did say ancestory instead of ancestry). 

“A Pioneer Press search of ancestory.com Wednesday found a woman named Marie Andrew Olsen died in Ramsey County on Nov. 21, 1932. It could not be determined where she was buried. In addition, a city directory showed that in 1931, Andrew A. Olsen, a carpenter, lived with his wife on Bradley Street.” 

Next steps? Just several ways to continue the search:

  • Visit the Minnesota Historical Society and check city directories to see if a wife is listed in 1931 and what her name is.
  • Then check the next few years of directories to see if this Andrew no longer has a wife if the wife had been listed as Marie or Mary.
  • While at MHS obtain a copy of the death record for just 35 cents to see if the cemetery is listed.
  • At MHS also check the St. Paul Pioneer Press and St. Paul Dispatch on microfilm for an obituary or death notice for Marie that will hopefully list survivors.
  • Bring those survivors forward in the city directories and other records to maybe find living descendants.
  • If that didn’t yield some people to contact, I would also check at the Ramsey County Courthouse to see if a probate was filed for either Marie or Andrew.   

© 2011 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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