University of Minnesota digitizes early immigrant letters home


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  1. Immigrant letters enable later generations to glimpse the immigrant experience and to find their family roots in their country of origin. Sometimes the letters have been lost but an envelope or postcard survives. An article entitled “Philatelic Genealogy in Minnesota: An Introduction” (Minnesota Genealogist, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter 2009-10), pp. 9-14) shows photographs of seven envelopes and a postcard sent to or by immigrants of Minnesota. An article entitled “19th-Century Danish Cover Helps Locate Immigrant’s Birthplace” (The Posthorn (November 2009) pp. 14-15) shows an envelope sent to Goodhue County, Minnesota. The photographs are part of the Philatelic Genealogy database and website (, which has several hundred envelopes and postcards from immigrants to the U.S. and Canada, as well as copies of the two articles cited here (in the Main Menu, click on Minnesota and Minnesota Case Study).

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