Today’s Follow Friday is the Immigration History Research Center at the College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota. It’s a great place to check out this Labor Day weekend, as we reflect on the immigrants in our own families who worked to make this country great.
The Immigration History Research Center promotes interdisciplinary research on international migration, develops archives documenting immigrant and refugee life, especially in the U.S., and makes specialized scholarship accessible to students, teachers, and the public (like genealogists).The IHRC Web site offers this page to orient genealogists to family history sources at IHRC.The archives at the IHRC collects “newspapers, oral histories, personal papers, and organizational records of immigrants and refugees and the agencies created to serve them. Holdings are particularly rich on the labor migrants who came to the U.S. between 1880 and 1930s, on the displaced persons who arrived in the U.S. after World War II, and on the refugees resettled in the United States after 1975. Holdings include archives, books, periodicals and digital sources.”

The IHRC has embarked on an ambitious pilot project to digitize “letters from the IHRC collections that were written between 1850 and 1970 both by immigrants (the so-called ‘America letters’) and to immigrants (‘Europe Letters’) in languages other than English.”
And don’t give up – even if you don’t find archival materials from your family, there are still those organizational records that might have just what you need. I was delighted to find they have more than 70 years of records for Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ishpeming, Michigan, when I discovered the online finding aid for these records at IRHC.