Kittson County Historical Society

Kittson profiles and photos from the past and present

Marie Grant is the most recent member to join the Kittson Historian.  This blog is directed to her personally but it may be of interest to others.  I have located her grandfather, Thomas Murray at the age of two, on the 1885 Census, along with many family members.It would appear that his father was Donald Murray, age 58, born in Scotland. Donald's wife was Isabella, age 51, born in Canada.

The following appears to be  the names and ages of the children, all born in Canada. Only Thomas was born in Minnesota.

Christian, age 23;  John - 21; Allan -  19;  Donald - 17;  Kenneth - 15; Murdock - 13;  Bella - 11;  Daniel - 8;  and Thomas - 2.

I also noticed another family on the census headed by Rory Murray - 25 and I assume he was the oldest son of Thomas and Isabella. Rory's wife is Cristina - 24.  They have one child living with them, Murdock - age 11.  All three were born in Canada.

I have no idea of the extent of your work on your family tree but I hope the above information will be of help. Since most of the Murray family was born in Canada I can only assume that they were in Northcote a short while because your grandfather was the only one of the family born in Minnesota.  Since the photo of your grandfather shows his family in Medicine Hat, obviously he moved to Canada at some point later in his life.

If you have any questions I would be happy to try and answer them.

Thanks for joining as our 99th member.

Glenn Browne

Views: 204

Comment by Marie Grant on December 29, 2011 at 5:01pm
Hi Glenn,

Thank you for your note and what an honour to be the 99th member! (Gretsky played much of his hockey in Alberta...).

I had found that census record and a couple of later ones. My grandfather never spoke to anyone about his childhood in Minnesota so I am tryint to piece together some information.

I did find Bureau of Land Management land patent records for Donald, Norman, Roderick (Rory) and Allan Murray in township 162, range 49 w 5th m, various parts of sections 6, 20 & 30. Do you know if there is a way to link the census records to a physical site ie legal land description?

Unfortunatley 'Donald' and 'Murray' were very common names for Scottish immigrants from the Isle of Lewis. Many, such as my Grandfathers family, left Scotland in the mid 1800s and settled in the Eastern townships of Quebec, later to move further west in Canada or south to the USA. I have a Canadian census record from 1871 showing no less than 6 Donald Murrays over 2 small pages! Fortunately I do have some birth dates and I have
encountered only one 'Roderick'! there is hope...

I also found an old map showing a school house on the bottom of section 30.
Do you know if there is any information regarding this school, any student records?

Do you know if there are church records (likely Presbyterian), birth and death records or land transfer information that I can access?

I have loved investigating my grandfathers heritage and some day hope to visit Kittson county. Any help you may be able to give me re the above will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards from sunny Alberta,

Comment by Glenn Browne on December 30, 2011 at 3:12pm

Hi Marie,

I have spoken to Cindy Adams, the director of the Museum, in addition to Kathy Pederson the research assistant and they have agreed to help in the search for more information on your grandfather Thomas Murray. We have already found many Murray family members mentioned in the records of the town of Northcote, the Presbyterian church and some history books. As the information is located we will report it in posts on this web site.

In the meantime may I suggest that you open a "Group page" in a Murray name on this site. That way people who are interested in reading further on this topic can become a member of the page and thus be emailed each time something new is posted. 

More information will follow shortly.

Comment by Marie Grant on December 30, 2011 at 4:44pm

Thank you Glenn! It is very exciting to have these links to the past being forged. I will set up a group page.

Whishing you a very Happy New Year!!


Comment by catherine denny on February 21, 2012 at 5:27pm

I have only started looking into my family history.  I am the youngest child of Maurice and Florence Florance and lived on the beautiful farm that was once owned by the Hill family in Northcote.  My Grandfather was Edward R Florance who had a bank in Humbolt and later, with my father, in Hallock.  My great Uncle Jim Florance ran the only store in Humbolt where he was also the postmaster.  I have fond memories of my life in Kittson County.  We often walked through the woods to visit Ernie and Mary McFarland.  When I was 7 years old we moved to Minneapolis, but still came back in the summer. We were members of St. Patricks churchin Hallock and Father McAleer was our pastor.  I now have 6 children, a wonderful husband  and 19 grandchildren.  If you know anything ab out my family I would love to hear from you.  I am planning to travel to Kittson County this summer and hope to visit the museum.

Comment by Georgine Cleem Whalen on February 23, 2012 at 2:50pm

Catherine....I have some pictures of my mothers that just have the name Florence on them.  My mother was Gertie Borgeson and lived in Kittson Co., mostly Lancaster and Hallock while young.  Her Father traveled to California with Walter Hill in 1931/32 with all of the children but my Mother as she had just married.  The name sparked an interest due to the name and also the Hill family.  They stayed in St. Vincent, Orleans area till 1942 when I was 1 and then also moved to California.  Would you like me to scan you a copy of these to see if these are 'your' Florence?

Comment by Bill Lundberg on March 4, 2012 at 10:02pm

Catherine... my great-aunt Oline Arneson worked for your family, I believe.  My father, Stuart Lundberg (b. 1932)was from Grafton, ND and told me stories of visiting Oline in Northcote and was very impressed with the swimming pool.  I was on the internet looking for a picture or two of the house to send to my uncle,  Lowell Lundberg, who is currently in a Mesa, AZ  hospital following a stroke.  He also had regales fond stories of his visits to the Northcote house, so I thought a few photos would cheer him up.


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