Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society

Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society The Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society has been preserving the history of Norman county since 1947. It is a two site museum, Prairie Village in Ada, and Red River History Center in Shelly.
The Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society has been established for the purpose of preserving, maintaining and promoting the history of Norman County. In addition the society will offer educational opportunities and social interaction for the citizens of Norman County and other interested members of the public.

The Prairie Village in Ada is made up of 12 buildings that are historic in nature, and help to tell the story of Norman County in a very tactile way. It also contains a museum whose exhibits change every other year.

Mission: Mission Statement: The Norman County Historical & Genealogy Society has been established for the purpose of preserving, maintaining and promoting the history of Norman County. In addition, the society will offer educational opportunities and social interaction for the citizens of Norman County and other interested members of the public.


good's a beautiful day on which to come for a visit to see the ABC portion of our Artifact Alphabet adventure. Stop any time between 10 am and 4 pm and learn about some of the 20,000 or so things in our "attic"...


Good morning...we are offering nine artifacts for your viewing pleasure this week, all of which begin with either A,B or C. Stop at the museum for printed instructions, and enjoy..I'll put coffee in a thermal pot, so help yourself.


good's the last day of the work week here at nchgs. Remember to stop in next Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday from 10-4:00 to see what we've dug out of the attic in our Artifact Alphabet Adventure. It's all self guided, outdoors, and as safe as we can possibly make it. Have a good weekend.


The beginning of another history week! Here's a clue for a week from today when you come to do our ARTIFACT ALPHABET game. If you shopped at Bowyers Super Market in Ada, you may have used this machine to enhance your morning wake up call. HHHHMMMMMM?????


Here's a new clue, one of our B artifacts is round, it has a handle, and you'll go home with something to spread on your toast when you've used it. A week from tomorrow is our first day of ARTIFACT ALPHABET for the summer. Join us for some safe outdoor fun.


our first weeks artifacts are's a is a person. She's young, she's dimply, and she's got "sausage" curls...she's an A. Come and meet her beginning June 2


good morning...beginning on June 2, I will be posting an Artifact Alphabet item daily. This little tidbit will tell you about one of the pieces in our collection. We will do three letters a week, so, June 2,3, and 4, watch for some history fun. I'm guessing that most of you will know what these things are, but we are gearing this to our "young" historians. They won't have a clue about many of them. Enjoy the first of our summer efforts, beginning June 2. There will be more.


A new week of strangeness has begun...I'm locked in, working on some virtual ideas for keeping in touch with all of you...we WILL be a presence in your life this summer...stay tuned...


grey, drizzly morning on the prairie..good day to work indoors. Stay safe and warm


Remember that we are looking to keep your memories of this historic time of medical crisis. Our every day History MATTERS


good morning...please remember that we are available on fb, on our website, and by e mail...we offer genealogy searches and photos from the Algaard archive. We are aiming for some sort of opening in July, so stay tuned....remember, HISTORY MATTERS


Today we remember not only our own mothers, but the mothers that were our ancestors. They survived terrible hardship, birthed MANY children, and gave us the grit and stamina that we need to live through this trying time. Blessings on you and on all those on whose shoulders you stand!


good's a lovely day on the prairie, we are interested in collecting any of your memories of this current health crisis. If you have kept a journal, or have taken photos, or have a good story to share that shows the strength and genuine RESILIANCE of our area, please consider sharing them with us. You can e mail us at [email protected], write us at PO Box 201, or call us at 218-784-6904 . We're in the preservation business because HISTORY MATTERS!


It's opening month, normally we would be hustling to clean and put finishing touches on new exhibits, but not this year. The doors are locked, I am at work three days a week, and we can't consider opening our doors to you yet. Please follow guidelines and stay safe and well. We value your patronage, and will open as soon as we feel it is safe.


good morning...this is another writing and thinking day. we are preparing for a much needed board meeting, just got guidelines from MHS for preparation for opening, so will be reading those today. Stay safe and well


good morning. We are beginning to feel that we can work at the museum again. The building is not open to the public, and we are limiting ourselves to five workers at a time. Distancing and masks are being observed. We have no plan for opening yet, so check this site and the Index for more information as we move on. Together we can keep making History Matter.

Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society's cover photo

Norman County Historical and Genealogy Society's cover photo


Good morning.. we are working in conjunction with the Minnesota Historical Society and Moorhead State University to collect and archive your covid19 stories. We will be the storehouse for this information, and will share it with the other groups who are working to preserve our history. If you have a video, diary, or any other stories to share, contact Solveig at NCHGS 218-784 6904 or e mail at [email protected]. We encourage you to share your experiences during this unusual time on the prairie.


We can't celebrate Easter in the usual way this year, but a friend of our community has offered to RING THE BELL OF THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH at noon on Easter Sunday as a reminder that we have solidarity in our little community, that we are here for each other, and that there is hope that this crisis will pass in time. Please join us for the ringing of this historic 1901 church bell at NOON on Easter Sunday, and then join Leon and Loretta Johnson, and Mike and Myrna Kiser in their antique cars to parade around town and bring a bell to ring if you have one. JOY AT EASTER!!!


Hello on Tuesday, April 7. No one has been working for a while, but today I'm going to spend time working on a project that needs doing. Our master genealogist, Debra Jacobson, passed away on March 29th. Her family brought us the family history notebooks that she had worked on so faithfully for years. I will wipe down all the covers and find a place here in the museum for them. Deb was a faithful member of the Society and served in so many ways, but genealogy was her first love. We will miss her smile and her dedication. Rest well, friend.


good morning from a locked, quiet museum. I am catching up on paperwork, and will begin writing my newspaper columns for this summer. History is ongoing, and we are hoping that we will be able to offer our usual summer's activities. Keep safe and we'll do the same.




The sign for the 125th anniversary of the fair. Never say "girls" can't drill holes, screw things to the wall, and wire lights on just "ain't" so!! Thank you're all wonderful. A box of clothing yielded the most beautiful coral dress from the 20's that belonged to Afton Olson in her college fit mannequin perfectly, if anyone has a collection of wigs, we are in need of a 1920's style wig for our girl...right now she's sporting a 50's bob.


good morning...hats, hats, hats..and band uniforms are the order of the day...we gave been granted money to buy hat boxes, and newspaper boxes...such good winter projects.


today has been "Hat day" again. We are inventorying ladies' hats, thus far, we have over 250 finished. The weather may be cold, but we are warm and busy at the museum. Other exhibits that will be changing are WWII, and the AHS classes from 1970-79. Plenty to do.

we'll be having a sale on nails by the pound in a few weeks...

we'll be having a sale on nails by the pound in a few weeks...


the annuals we need have been found...thank you!!!


We are missing the Ada annuals for 1972 and 1977. If you have one we could borrow we need to copy some pictures. Thanks...thanks in advance


hello history heroes ....we are looking for information of all sorts
1. Do you remember the Ada Ice House? not the rink, the ice house. Phil Berbrich owned it...Dewey Anderson is the curious one...Clark Tufte, can you help us? We want pictures and stories.
2. What are your favorite memories of the Norman County Fair? 4H? FFA?
3. Do you have any primary source WWII stories about your family?
Please contact us via messenger, or post your memories here...thanks Solveig Kitchell Exec. Director


THANK YOU ALL for your support this weekend...we are "undressing" trees today, on to the next project!!


this is your last chance to see our 42 beautiful trees...1-4pm...


REMEMBER THE FESTIVAL OF TREES at the Prairie Village in Ada today from 9-4:00 and tomorrow from's beautiful....


good's nearing the weekend again, the trees will be lit by 9:00 Saturday morning...come and visit. Festival of trees from 9 to 4, coffee, cider and goodies...bake sale...all for the good of the Historical Society and for the joy of the season...Join us from 1-4 on Sunday if Saturday is filled for you...we'll be here.


it is clean, organized, and beautiful! Come tomorrow and Sunday and enjoy the 47 trees on display at the museum....we have worked for 5 weeks, and it is worth it...admission, $5.00, and you will be put into a drawing for a daily door prize...$1.00 a chance will enter you into a drawing for an audio system that includes AM/FM radio, phonograph, cd and tape player. SEE YOU TOMORROW OR SUNDAY...


the train is in place, all the trees are ready to go, we will clean the rest of the building tomorrow...YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA....join us on Sat or Sun.


701 W. Thorpe Ave.
Ada, MN

Opening Hours

Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Saturday 13:00 - 16:00


(218) 784-6904


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Our Story

There are two major events at the village each summer season. The Norman County Fair is the third week in June, and all of the buildings are cleaned and opened to the public at that time. We sponsor a student History Hunt in which students aged 6-18 can answer questions, participate in hands on history activities, and win a prize for their efforts.

The second event is in September. In conjunction with the Chamber of commerce, we sponsor Pioneer Days. At this time we offer traditional “pioneer” foods such as lefse, potato Klub, sweet soup, and other goodies.

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The Benedictine Care Community decorated their tree yesterday. Included are handmade decorations with photos of some of the residents.
Thrift store finds...... Norwegian
This is Barbara Grimes, I spent alot of time there gathering photos, obituarys and other information about the Prestegord, Buttolfs families. In the time since then I have purchased books about Norman, Mahnomen and Polk counties to find additional family information. In one of the books I found this newspaper clipping, Captioned- Do You Know? The person who placed this article into the book knew who they were and named all the members of the Albert Hagen Family. I will put the photo of the article on here and send you the original newspaper clipping for your records this week. Under the picture it says, "Warren Gutaw of Moorhead brought in this picture take at the old Madson's Studio in Halstad but he doesn't know who the people in the picture are. Do you" Then in handwriting you can see what I believe says "Albert Hagen Family". On the back is a article about public meeting regarding Federal soil and water conservatio programs for the long term needs of the county state and nation. The meeting was to be held on June 8 at 8:00 pm in the meeting room at the First State Bank of Ada. It mentions Ronald G. Hersom district conservationist. there is a picture to the left of the article but there is no way to tell if it is related to the article. In the rest of the article it mentions Federal Resources Act of 1977. There is nothing in or around either article that mentions the newspaper this picture was in.
I have tried to get in touch with you several times. This page is not coming up, and emails are rejected.
Do you have any data about Henry Christensen? I checked out the resources available online and couldn't pull up any items on him or his parents. Back story: we recently picked up a photo of someone named Henry who was in WWI (see second photo) and the picture was taken in Ada by the Christenson Studio. The back of the card reads "thought you would like a picture of Henry." Usually that's all the data we need to run someone to ground and find his story and we quickly came across a passage of a Henry Christensen on page 12 of the book "Norman County in the Great War." But from there the trail grows cold. There's no mention of his parents, Marie and Jen Christensen, anywhere in the online records from Norman County. They may have only briefly passed through Flom Township for a couple of years, passing on quickly to greener pastures that don't remind them of the loss of their son in the War To End All Wars. I may not have pulled the correct Henry out of the Norman County book, but the people in the two photos sure do look similar. Was Ada the nearest rail station to Flom back in 1917? If so, it makes sense that Henry would go there and get his picture taken before catching a train to Camp Dodge or Camp Grant. If you have anything that can put me back on the trail I would appreciate it!
How many people know that Ada once had a cigar factory? This advertisement is from 1912.
How do I go about requesting help with genealogy issue?
Thank you for sharing some of your collection with the Ada-Borup Elementary School. We celebrated Native American Heritage Month in November and the students were very interested in the display! Several community members also shared pieces that were special to them so thanks to all!