Olmsted County
Genealogical Society

State of Minnesota, USA

County of Olmsted

About OCGS

The Olmsted County Genealogical Society started with a group of people interested in tracing their family trees who met in 1965 at the local Historical Society. In 1976 the Society sponsored a workshop held at the LDS Church in Rochester as a bicentennial celebration. The first newsletter was published in 1977 and has continued since then to share and celebrate family history research, locally and beyond.

OCGS members have made substantial contributions over decades to the collection at the Research Library at the History Center of Olmsted County in Rochester. Volunteers have helped to transcribe and archive historical records, and have raised funds to purchase equipment. OCGS volunteers compiled tombstone inscriptions in every cemetery in Olmsted County, and the information was published in 6 volumes.

Members continue to enjoy meetings from April through November annually to enjoy comaraderie and learn about new resources online, through libraries, and through other members and speakers from the local area and beyond.


Zoom meeting information is distributed to all members. Guests are welcome to contact us for permission to attend a session on a trial basis: olmstedgenealogy@gmail.com

  • July 8 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Book Restoration & Preservation by James Twomey
    Most groups enjoy hearing about why paper ages as it does, and what they can do themselves to help preserve their family archives. So the talk is a bit about paper, but mostly about do-it-yourself preservation tips, followed by Q & A. James has knowledge of book-binding, learned from his grandfather, and of paper conservation. Subsequently he has run and managed a bindery as well as worked for himself restoring books and maps. He has drawn from his expertise on books and paper preservation to teach at the graduate level. Mr. Twomey is a professional associate of the American Institute for Conservation. James authored the book, “In-house Bookbinding and Repair”, and continues to restore large format prints and to do most of the book-binding at his rural La Farge (Wisconsin) studio.

  • August 12 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Citing Sources in Family History Research—the Basics
    by Stephani Price of the Rochester The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Family History Center.

  • September 9 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Using Maps & Gazetteers for Genealogy: How to Match a Place-Name to a Location
    Ryan Mattke, Map & Geospatial Information Librarian, John R. Borchert Map Library, University of Minnesota
    This presentation will demonstrate how to use print and online resources, in conjunction with maps, to locate historical place-names. The presentation will also highlight resources related to genealogy, as well as other historical cartographic materials, available at the John R. Borchert Map Library in Minneapolis.

  • October 14 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Presentation topic and location to be announced. Free and open to the public, but advance registration required.

  • November 11 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Presentation topic and location to be announced. Free and open to the public, but advance registration required.

  • December 9 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Presentation topic and location to be announced. Free and open to the public, but advance registration required.

Past Events

  • April 8, 2021 - OCGS meeting and program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Mortuaries and obituaries by Peter Macken
    Understanding the information you might see in death records. Peter will talk about what ancestral information you might glean from a mortician or funeral home record, and the history of funeral homes.

  • April 10 - History Center of Olmsted County virtual workshop
    Genealogy 101: Establishing the Roots of Your Family Tree
    Information and registration are available at this link: olmstedhistory.com

  • May 13 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    The 1918 Flu Pandemic in Rochester - Day by Day Through the Headlines by Paul Koeller
    Paul will guide a tour of Rochester Post headlines from late 1918, the initial mention of massive outbreaks.

  • June 10 - OCGS program via Zoom, 7pm Central
    Tools for Working with Autosomal DNA Results by Lois Mackin
    This session reviews tools and techniques for moving beyond testing company relationship predictions and working with your matches. It provides an overview of building genetic networks by using shared matches/in common with results, working with your matches’ trees, using chromosome browsers, and analyzing shared segments.


The annual membership cycle begins each April, with dues of $20 per household. Payments greater than the membership fees will be considered a donation to the Society, and are tax deductible.

Make checks payable to Olmsted County Genealogical Society. You can bring your check to any OCGS program or mail it to us with this membership form for new or renewing members: member form link

Olmsted County Genealogical Society
P O Box 6411
Rochester, MN 55903-6411

Membership Benefits

  • Network with other genealogy researchers in person to break down research walls.

  • Learn new online, library, and other resources.

  • Learn the histories of Olmsted County, the state of Minnesota, the United States, and the countries of our ancestors.

  • Find help in identifying hidden relatives: adoptions, multiple marriages, etc.

  • Receive a newsletter with handy hints and resources used in research.

  • Volunteer in developing resources for the next generation to research their ancestors.

Resources for Family History Research

In the Rochester area...

In the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area...