Saturday, 3 September 2011

Downtown Minneapolis

Downtown Minneapolis is probably as straight-forward as any downtown area, which is to say we'd never have managed to find anyplace but for Norma's navigation!  My Dad used to say that all one way streets went the wrong way on purpose, and I'm not sure I don't agree with him.

The visit to the Minnesota Historical Society family history library was fairly bizarre.  It reminded me first of getting on board a plane:  they require bags and coats to go into lockers, proof of identity and contact details so they can issue you a 'red card' (which has a completely different meaning here in the UK, where it signals a penalty in sports).  No pens are allowed - they give you a pencil, but cameras are OK.

Then it was like going to a restaurant, only without the excitement of going somewhere or the pleasure of good food:  once past security you choose a table with a number, tell a member of staff what you are looking for and wait for them to bring it to you...or not.  Because I wanted to verify the record of my Dad's adoption sent to me by a stranger on, it was a bit tricky as the records weren't yet 100 years old. 

I think they would like to have denied me any information at all, but as I had the case number, they did provide me with the information about my Dad's original name (James Brown), the date he was admitted into Owatonna State School and the date he was adopted.  They said they didn't hold the file, it was at the Courthouse.  They couldn't really understand how I had received the information that had been sent to me.

The Quest Building

It wasn't until they gave me a form to complete (in pencil) explaining what I had sought and been given that I had an idea.  I was frustrated that I couldn't look at the same record this Camille person had been able to access.  It occurred to me that she would have completed a similar form and so I asked them to look for her in their files. 

They found her.  Apparently her ancestor had  been at Owatonna but not been adopted, so she was permitted to look at the ledger of children and she had surreptitiously snapped a photo, one without headings or footers, but a significant portion of the information.  That finally answered my question about how she got the information.  I think I also wanted them to admit she had got information she wasn't supposed to in spite of all their security measures.   We then proceeded to the Courthouse, where we discovered we actually wanted the Juvenile Courthouse.

Minneapolis City Hall

There a lady named Deb checked and said all they had was the degree of adoption and she gave me a form to complete to apply to the District Court Judge for a copy of it to be released (9 years early).  I was happy that I'd done what could be done to chase down this mystery.

This is called the "Toaster Building" - Hennepin County
Government Center

Though Spike had driven us around Minneapolis two years ago, there is nothing like walking for really seeing a place. 

Bill took the photos in this post.

1 comment:

Jo said...

When we go to the Mpls area, Prior Lake, we never get downtown. It looks like a clean city. We will have to check it out on one of our visits.