County museum posting scrapbook names online

Brookings County Museum photo: This 90-year-old, tattered, 4-inch thick scrapbook kept by former Volga Postmaster Victor Dalthorp, beginning in the 1930s, includes newspaper clippings of nearly 1,000 obituaries. It comes with an alphabetized listing of names and the page number on which the obituary appears. That book’s index, and another of obituaries found in nine other county museum scrapbooks, are now on the museum’s website, brookingscountymuseum.org.

BROOKINGS – The work of researching family histories and building family trees just got easier for Brookings County’s amateur genealogists.

During the pandemic and the closing of the Brookings County Museum, volunteers have been busy tracing obituary and wedding information from the more than 30 old museum scrapbooks.

The names from these searches are compiled in an alphabetized list that is now posted on the museum’s new website, brookingscountymuseum.org.

Veteran museum board member Chuck Cecil of Brookings is directing the project. He estimates it has already resulted in the placement of alphabetized lists of nearly 2,000 names of deceased county residents who died between about 1930 and 1960.

Those names can be found under the website’s “museum” chapter heading and are listed as Dalthorp Obit List or the 9 of 9 Name Search, a computer list that brings together all of the obituary and wedding names listed in nine different scrapbooks. 

The website does not include the person’s actual obituary, but merely indicates obituaries published in museum scrapbooks, the scrapbook’s name or number, and the page number on which the obituary appears. 

“Once we are able to open the museum again, the searches for those obituaries can be easily and quickly made,” Cecil said. “While some obituaries were already alphabetized, none have been placed on the museum website until now.” 

Additionally, there are listings of marriages and other important county history events. 

It is hoped that eventually all of the scrapbooks will be researched and their listings computerized and added to the museum website. Many have already been indexed and it remains now to enter those into the computer website.

Cecil noted that the museum is fortunate that the two recent decades of obituaries published in The Brookings Register from 2000 to the present are also available in the Archives Room. He credited the Brookings Area Genealogical Society with doing that work. 

Also contributing in archival record-keeping at the museum and its website was the late Barbara Behrend. Longtime board member Grace Linn of Brookings, who holds board emeritus status, also still spends time and effort working on the gathering of obituary information for museum use.

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