Otter Tail County

Parade 1909 – Photo Courtesy of LakesnWoods.com Postcard and Postcard Collection

Poles settled in Otter Tail County in the following locations:

Towns: Perham
Townships: Perham Township (previously called Marian Lake Township).

According to Wacław Kruszka in his book, A History of the Poles in America to 1908 (part 4), the Poles in Perham came primarily from Kashubia.

In Otter Tail County, a pioneer settler struck upon a tract near Marion Lake about five miles south and west of the present village of Perham. This was in 1867. Then with the steady flow of new settlers, mostly of German and Polish origin, a parish was formally organized by Father Perz in 1869. The census of 1873 indicated 81 families, mostly German and Polish. It seems that the impetus here was the building of the Northern Pacific Railroad through the territory of Perham (in 1872). This brought an influx of Catholic settlers, among whom were some Poles from Ohio.

County-Wide Resources

The church was a central point in the lives of Polish immigrants. Learn more about the churches and cemeteries in Otter Tail County where Polish families worshiped. 

Vital Records and Land Records

The Otter Tail Recorder’s Office preserves and manages birth, marriage, death and land records.

Historical Society

The Historical Society preserves artifacts and historical information regarding Otter Tail County.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management has General Land Office Records where you can pick the state and county, then type in a surname. If an ancestor purchased land, you will likely be able to see the document and details about the land and purchase.

General Genealogy Links

The following are websites with general resources and genealogy information about Otter Tail County:

Maps

Plat maps are helpful in showing who owned the land that year. Click on the area you are interested in until you get to the detail level with names.


Books

TitleAuthor/publishercomments
History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume IJohn W. Mason, Editor
B.F. Bowen and Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916
Link to Book
History of Otter Tail County, Minnesota: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume IIJohn W. Mason, Editor
B.F. Bowen and Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916
Link to Book
Abandonings: Photographs of Otter Tail County, MinnesotaMaxwell MacKenzie, 1995
PlacesOtter Tail County Historical Society, 2003
Rural Schools of Otter Tail CountyOtter Tail Historical Society, 2000
Otter Tail County, Minnesota, in the World War: An Illustrated Historical Record of the People From Otter Tail County, Minnesota, Who Participated in … Years 1917, 1918, and 1919Victor George Lundeen
Reprinted 2018
We Chose Otter Tail CountyOtter Tail Historical Society, 2018
The Promise of a Beautiful Harvest: Otter Tail County 1865-1895
Compiled by the Otter Tail Historical Society

Perham


Local Genealogy Resources

Public libraries and history museums hold valuable genealogy resources for learning about local history and culture.


Genealogy Links

The following are websites with general resources and genealogy information about Perham:

PGS-MN Drobne Echa Newsletter Article

Newsletterpagetitle/author
Summer 20081,
20-29
Installment #14 – Perham
From Wiarus/Katolik, 1887-1909
by Greg Kishel

While there is very little online about Poles in Perham, this article clearly outlines many Polish settlers there and their contributions to the community (immigrants from Kashubia, Poznan and Silesia seemed to have settled there).

Father Kupera, pastor at St. Stanislaus Church in the late 1880s-early 1990s, came from Opole and likely encouraged Poles from the Opole area to immigrate to Perham.

Other Articles about Perham

There are a few interesting articles about the Poles in Perham. According to the Mukolteo article, some Poles in Perham were connected with Poles in Mukiolteo.

Maps

Plat maps are helpful in showing who owned the land that year. Click on the area you are interested in until you get to the detail level with names.