About the Mankato Free Press Obituary Index
The indexing of the Mankato Free Press began at Minnesota State University, Mankato in the 1980s under the direction of Marilyn J. Lass. Student assistants in the Southern Minnesota Historical Center (SMHC) looked through the microfilm of the Mankato newspaper and copied citations onto 3x5 index cards any time an obituary, death announcement, funeral announcement, or article about the death of an individual was located. Obituaries vary in length, style, and content.
Obituary Dates Found in Index
The indexing for this project began with obituaries from 1970. Several retrospective projects were done and obituaries from earlier years were included. Currently the database includes obituaries from the following years.
- 1869 (May 25) - 1879 (December 30) - Mankato Weekly Review
- Missing issues: May 27, 1873, November 4, 1873, July 14-21, 1874, August 11, 1874, and November 10, 1874.
- 1880-1887 - No obituaries indexed
- 1888 (March 15) - 1944 (December 17) - Mankato Daily Free Press and Mankato Free Press
- 1945-1969 - Limited indexing (very few obituaries are indexed) - Mankato Free Press
- 1970- November 1989 - Mankato Free Press and Free Press
- June, 2009-March 2013 - Free Press
The scope of the index is the service area of the Southern Minnesota Historical Center. Accordingly, the obituaries of individuals from the following counties are indexed: Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Freeborn, LeSueur, Martin, Nicollet, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Waseca, Watonwan. This means that news articles that discuss the death of a famous individual or deaths from other parts of Minnesota are not included in this database. The only exception to indexing outside of these geographic limitations is if a long-standing resident or pioneer of a community dies outside the area and the obituary appears in the Mankato newspaper.
Birth/Death Dates in the Obituary Index
Often the date of birth was not given in an obituary; instead the individual's age may be given in years and occasionally in terms of years, months, and days. In these instances the birth date was calculated for the listing by subtraction. If the exact date could not be determined, at least a year of birth is included.
Frequently the date of death is simply stated as "died yesterday" or "died last Monday." In these cases the date of death was determined by using the Perpetual Calendar. Sometimes the date of death is given as "died 14th inst." Inst. Stands for instant and means the current month. Or, the date may be given as "died 20th ult." Ult. Stands for ultimo and means preceding month.
Online Obituary Index
In 2004 student assistants in the SMHC began entering the data from the index cards into a Microsoft Access database. The data entry was completed in 2009. New content (1970-1986) was entered directly into the database from 2006-2008. The Library Systems area dedicated Graduate Assistant time to the creation of the searchable online database.
Project Contributors (2004-2009)
Daardi Sizemore, C.A., Archives and Special Collections Librarian
Anne Stenzel, Archives Technician
Online Database Development
Peg Lawrence, Systems Librarian
Dawn Clyne, Information Technology Specialist
Bimala Koju, Systems Graduate Assistant
Lance Leipold, Librarian (emeriti)
Sally Boman, Student Assistant
Amanda Marks, Student Assistant
Emily Battcher, Student Assistant
Brittney Andringa, Student Assistant
Kevin Hegvedt, Student Assistant
Chelsea Hill, Student Assistant
Elena Shufelt, Student Assistant
Derek Barlage, Student Assistant
Andrew Cole, Student Assistant
Megan Eisenbraun, Student Assistant
Ginelle Meissner, Student Assistant
Robertlyn Boyce, Student Assistant
Stephanie Honsey, Student Assistant
Song Yang, Student Assistant
Anna Melzer, Student Assistant
Brittany Hagert, Student Assistant
Jessica Tix, Student Assistant
Jeff Brand, Student Assistant
Katie Knips, Student Assistant
Many additional student workers, graduate assistants, and librarians worked on this project when it was originally created. Two major contributors were Marilyn J. Lass, Librarian and Debbie Anderson, Graduate Assistant.