A Success Story
The Story of How The
Began For Me.
My grandfather committed suicide in a state hospital when my Dad was just 12. I was curious to know the circumstances so I went to the Minnesota Historical Society where there are archives of all state records.
While looking in the index for the hospital I ran across another patient with the same last name. It turned out to be my grandfather’s mother who had also died there almost 20 years earlier. It was exciting finding more than what I had gone there for. That was in 2002. It is now 2007 and I continue to do volunteer look ups on patients that had been in Minnesota state hospitals. I call it my “winter hobby”. I love it when I can find information for others and I get excited to find extra bits and pieces for them.
The following are some emails about a lookup I did for a lady who lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. Her appreciation makes it all worth it.
Note: Surnames removed for a bit of privacy.
Greetings from Saskatchewan, Canada
I was very happy to find your listing with RAOGK.
My great grandmother, Ellen (not named) of Polk Co., MN was committed to the State Hospital at Fergus Falls, Otter Tail Co. MN about Sept. of 1923 where she died March 30, 1924.
Thank you kindly,
Would you want copies made of commitment papers for a Christian? I happened to run across his name in looking for Ellen. He was in Fergus Falls Hospital from 1911 - 1918.
Volunteer in MN for RAOGK
Oh, my dear Girl, YES!
You are a wonder. Christian was Ellen's husband, they were my great-grandparent and it has been a real problem trying to sort out just what happened to them after they had been through so much. And, of course, mental illness bore quite a stigma at that time so my grandparents never told my mother of their heartaches. We have searched everywhere for him and now you have found him.
How will I ever thank you?
Will you keep me posted. This is very exciting!
Here's a bit more info. from today's visit to the history center. I took a few notes from the commitment papers & patient register for Christian March 27 1918 Improved. Transferred to Willmar State Hospital July 16 1918 Died at Willmar (this was a note in the Fergus Falls book)
I'm glad this is exciting for you. I like the challenge of finding unexpected stuff.
More next week
Thank you. I don't know how you do all this!
Your help has paid off already. I was able to get Christian's death certificate with the info you had sent earlier.
Just an update. You will have your copies by the end of April. I have a total of 12 lookups to do & I am trying to do them all at the same time, each time I go to the History Center. My goal is to finish them all before May when the warmer weather calls me outside everyday for gardening & lawn work (I only do lookups in the winter).
All your hard work arrived this morning. It answers all my questions about my mom's terrible battle with Alzheimer's. The records of these poor little people are carbon copies of hers in the early stages. She survived much longer than they did so she was completely incapacitated.
Thank you, again and again.
We hope you enjoyed this story!