Thursday, February 4, 2016

History Of The Fire And Police Departments Of Minneapolis

History of the Fire and Police Departments of Minneapolis was published by The Relief Association Publishing in 1890. It provides an historical overview of the city's fire department from about 1850 and the police department from 1855. Traditionally, many Irish immigrants and their descendants joined both departments throughout the United States, making this publication very useful if you had such as ancestor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The detailed history of both departments provides a vivid idea of what it was like to work as a fireman or policeman in the city. The majority of the publication is given over to the fire department and there are many illustrations of the tools they used, as well pictures of those who occupied the higher ranks of both institutions.

Of particular interest to genealogists will be chapter 16, Date of Organization of Companies (p. 163), and chapter 17, Company Quarters and Fire Apparatus (p. 172). Both chapters list the members of each engine company in the city as they existed at the time of publication. Name, rank, age, country of birth, and previous occupation are provided.

The example, below, shows the strong Irish influence in Engine Company no.1, with nearly all members born in Ireland, or U.S./Canadian born with traditionally Irish surnames.[1]

 The publication of this book was timely as it can serve as a census substitute for the destroyed 1890 U.S. Federal Census. It is a  niche resource, but incredibly useful for those with ancestors in that niche. 

[1] History of the Fire and Police Departments of Minneapolis. Minneapolis, MN: The Relief Association Publishing. 1890. Available online at accessed 16 January 2016.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this resource on the Townland of Origin blog. I am familiar with this publication having researched it years ago. Captain Michael Hanley is my third great-grandfather. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1852. His parents, Thomas Hanley and Bridget White, were born in Ireland and immigrated about 1848 with their eldest son, Patrick. If related to Michael Hanley, please contact me. I would be happy to share and trade information about the Hanley family.