Menu

Library Navigation

Skip Navigation LinksLegislature > LRL Home > Legislators Past & Present > Database Information

Legislators Past & Present: Database Information

Main Search Page

The following is a list of the fields in the database and their description.

First Name
This field contains the formal first name or initial.

Middle Name
This field contains middle name or initial. This field may contain multiple names.

Last Name
This field contains last name.

Former Name
This field contains maiden name, if known.

Other Names
This field contains nicknames or other names, for example, "JP" or "Baldy". Nicknames or other names come from only reputable sources. This field also includes changes to last names after the members have left office. Multiple other names are separated by commas.

Alternate Name Spelling
This field contains the alternate spelling of the last name. One alternate spelling per line.

Service Information
This field contains span of service for each legislative body and district, for example H 1915-18 (26); S 1919-22 (27)

Years of service in separate bodies or different districts due to change of residence or redistricting are separated by a semicolon.

The span of service is recorded by using the year the legislator took office through the full year they served, ignoring the brief period between the end of that year and the start of the next person's term.

Party When First Elected
This field contains the legislator's political party affiliation, when first elected, such as Republican or Democratic. They are taken from the Minnesota Legislative Manuals, when listed there. From the 1914 election until the 1974 House election and the 1976 Senate election, the Minnesota Legislature was elected on a nonpartisan basis. Other reputable sources are used when the party affiliations aren't listed in the Minnesota Legislative Manuals. Comprehensive party/caucus affiliation sources include:

  • 1861 (Senate even districts), 1862 (House and Senate), 1863 (Senate odd districts): St. Paul Pioneer and Democrat, January 7, 1862 (They listed the Democrats in italicized type, we made the assumption that those not italicized were Republicans. That's how they did it in "The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877, but they specified in that article that the regular type names were in fact Republicans. It seems to hold up with other sources but needs to be verified.)
  • 1867-1869: Minnesota Legislative Manuals
  • 1873: The Fifteenth Legislature of Minnesota. St. Paul: Press Printing Company, 1873
  • 1877-1878: Biographical Sketches of the Officers of the State Government of Minnesota and of the 19th Minnesota State Legislature, by C.L. Hall, 1877; and "The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877.
  • 1887-1888 (Senate): Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1889-90 (since it was a portion of their 4 year term)
  • 1889-1914: Minnesota Legislative Manuals
  • 1915-1974: Nonpartisan elections, affiliations were surmised using the following sources:
    • 1945-1950 (House): House Journals, based on votes for Speaker of the House
    • 1951-1952: "The Minnesota Legislature...How it Works." Minnesota Association of Cooperatives
    • 1953-1956: House and Senate Journals, based on votes for Speaker of the House or President Pro Tempore of the Senate
    • 1957-1974: Unofficial Legislative Directories, Minnesota Railroads Association (conservative or liberal caucus identifications)
  • 1975-Present: Minnesota Legislative Manuals

Counties Served
This field contains all counties of service over time. The legislator may have represented all of or only a portion of each county listed. Keep in mind that the geographic areas of many counties have changed over time. The database reflects the counties as they existed when the member served.

In territorial times, the database reflects the applicable district apportionment descriptions and generally doesn't incorporate newly created counties or changed county boundaries between apportionments. The first territorial apportionment included district geographic descriptions that no longer exist under the names listed. For these we did our best to determine the counties that applied. Thus there may be a few county errors for the Territorial Sessions, particularly the 1st and 2nd.

Birth Year
This field contains the four digit year of birth if known.

Format is four digit year with questions marks used as placeholder if unknown.

Birth Date
This field contains the month and day of birth if known, for example 01/23, 07/??

The format used is a two digit month and two digit day. If day is unknown, question marks are used as placeholders.

Birth Place
This field contains the place of birth if known, such as a city or region of the U.S. or other countries, for example Numedal (Norway).

Birth County
This field contains the county of birth if known, for example Ramsey.

The county name is included from a controlled list of all Minnesota counties with Unknown as an option. Some early counties no longer exist and existing counties were created at various times after statehood.

Birth Country
This field lists country of birth if known, for example Sweden.

This information is frequently not available for recent legislators, but older legislative manuals include data.

Death Year
This field contains the four digit year of death if known.

Date of Death
This field contains the month and day of death if known, for example 09/13, 03/??

The format used is a two digit month and two digit day. If day is unknown, question marks are used as placeholders.

Gender
This field tracks the number of men and women who have served in the legislature.

Religion
This field contains religion as reported by the legislator or by the media. This field uses controlled vocabulary. For legislators for whom this information is not reported, this field is blank.

Reported Minority
This field contains the race or minority status as reported by the legislator or by the media. This field uses controlled vocabulary. For legislators for whom this information is not reported, this field is blank.

City Of Residence (when first elected)
This field contains the city/township/town/village of residence when first elected. If this data isn't listed then the post office name is used.

Occupation (when first elected)
This field contains the self-reported occupation of legislator when first elected. If not self-reported other sources may be used.

Occupational Category (when first elected)
This field contains the occupational categories used for searching including Agriculture, Business, Clergy, Education, Full-time legislator, Government, Health Care, Homemaker, Labor/trades, Law enforcement, Lawyer, Media, Military, Nonprofit/Volunteer, Others, Retired.

Education Level
This field contains levels of education achieved, for example B.S., J.D., Secondary, or Attended College. This information is included as reported in a reputable source such as the Legislative Manual. For the members who served in the earlier sessions, the education level is often not clear. For those an educated guess is made since this is a required field.

Education Place
This field contains the institution where the education level was achieved, for example University Wisconsin at River Falls. This field contains the name of the institution as it appears in reputable self-reported sources such as the Official Directory of the Minnesota Legislature or the Minnesota Legislative Manuals. Institutions may be listed under several variations of their names, for example Mankato State University or Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Education Notes
This field contains details about education level such as Major Area of Study, Graduation Date, Date Admitted to the Bar, etc.

Other Government Service
This field contains other government service, for example Judge, Military, Municipal Government, State Agency, etc.

Jurisdiction/Place
This field contains the jurisdiction or place served for other government service, for example, Ramsey County, Minnesota; United States Army; St. Paul, Minnesota; Minnesota Department of Transportation; 3rd Congressional District, Minnesota; etc., as stated in reputable sources. At times the Minnesota Legislative Manuals state that they served, for example, as Mayor or County Commissioner and do not specify the name of the city or county. In situations such as this, it is generally assumed that the city or county served would be the same as their city or county when elected. A question mark will appear after the city, county, etc. name if the location is particularly unclear. For example, a member who served in the early 1890s may indicate that they served in the war. This would be entered as "United States Civil War?". If it's extremely uncertain where they served the specific city, county, war, etc. may be left out.

Appointed or Elected
This field contains whether they were appointed or elected to the other government service, if applicable or known.

Date
This field contains the start and end date of other government service if known, for example 01/24/1975, ??/??/1965. The format used is a two digit month, two digit day, and four digit year. If month or day are unknown, question marks are used as placeholders. Many of the dates, especially those with question marks, are estimations based on the data provided. For example if it states they are a World War II veteran, then 194? would be entered in the date field to give an approximation of the time served. It is possible that they may have served prior to the 1940s. If the data indicate that they were in office for 4 years and only provides the initial year, the end year would be entered as four years later. Many times it is unclear if the date provided is an election date, a start date, or the date the appointment was announced. Thus many of these dates should generally be viewed as approximations.

Spouse/Partner
This field contains spouse/partner name or status such as "Single, Widow/er, or Divorced". Additional information, when provided, is put in parentheses and may include marriage and death dates.

Children
This field contains numbers, names, and gender of children as listed in reputable sources. Information for members who served long ago is often provided by relatives.

Family Member Name
This field contains the names of family members who have also served within the Minnesota Legislature. This information is often provided by the members or their relatives.

Relationship
This field contains the family relationship to the name above. Relationship is included from a controlled list.

General notes
This field contains things of interest about the legislator that don't fit into one of the established fields or that require more elaboration than the established fields allow.

Legislative Session
This field contains the number of the legislative session that the legislator served during.

Body
This field shows if the legislator served in the House or the Senate.

Elected
This field contains the date the legislator was elected. General election dates are listed in the Minnesota Legislative Manuals back to the 1890 election. Prior to that election, the election dates were mainly determined by references gathered from the General Laws of Minnesota and a perpetual calendar. Although we are fairly confident in the election dates listed prior to the 1890 election, it's possible that we missed some changes or applicable laws, or that mistakes were made in calculations. The dates do need to be verified. One error we found was the Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1931, erroneously lists the 1930 election date as November 6, 1930 (a Thursday). It was actually held on Tuesday, November 4, 1930. The Minnesota Journal of the Senate, pages 391-393 confirm the November 4th date.

Verified Election Dates and Discrepancies (prior to the 1890 election):

  • The 1st session election date of October 13, 1857 was found in several sources including the Daily Minnesotian, December 18, 1857, and A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875 by J. Fletcher Williams, 1983 edition, p. 381.
  • The 2nd session Senate election date for the odd numbered districts, October 12, 1858, was taken from the Minnesota Journal of the Senate, January 6, 1860, p. 154. This appears to match the instructions in the 1858 General Laws of Minnesota,Ch. L (50). Other sources refer to the Republican sweep of the 1859 elections, so it seems logical that the rest of the members from the 2nd Session were elected in the 1859 election. The House election date, October 11, 1859, for the 2nd Session was verified by the Journal of the House, December 8, 1859, p. 12, and A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 391.
  • The 3rd session, November 6, 1860 election date was verified in A History of the City of Saint Paul and of the County of Ramsey, Minnesota, 1876; and the Minnesota Journal of the House, 1861, appendix, p. 451. However, Folwell's A History of Minnesota says the election was in October 1860.
  • The 4th session election date of Tuesday, October 8, 1861 was used rather than the Wednesday, October 9, 1861 date listed in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 402 because the General Laws of 1860 state the election shall be held on Tuesday.
  • The 5th session election date of Tuesday, November 4, 1862 was used rather than the Sunday, November 2, 1862 date listed in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 409 because the Extra Session, General Laws of 1862 state the election shall be held on Tuesday.
  • The 12th session election date of November 2, 1869 was verified in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 436.
  • The 16th session election date of November 4, 1873 was verified in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 447.
  • The 17th session election date of November 3, 1874 was verified in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 448.
  • The 18th session election date of November 2, 1875 was verified in the Minnesota Journal of the Senate, 1876, p. 13.
  • The 25th session election date being in November 1886 is verified by the Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1887.

These are the General Laws of Minnesota that were found and consulted to determine the other election dates prior to the 1890 elections and after the territorial elections:

Here are the sources of the territorial legislative election dates:

  • 1st Territorial Session, House and Senate (August 1, 1849) - Minnesota in Three Centuries on page 435 and an article in the Gopher Historian, Winter 1956-57, called Minnesota's Territorial Legislature both list August 1; however, A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams, page 232, lists August 2, 1849.
  • 2nd Territorial Session, House (September 2, 1850) - A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875 by J. Fletcher Williams, p. 277; the Minnesota Journal of the House, January 21, 1851, p. 51; and an article on page 1 of the St. Paul Daily Globe newspaper on January 25, 1881 list September 2, 1850 as the election date; however, The History of Minnesota by Charles E. Flandrau, page 513 says the election day after 1849 was supposed to be on September 1 (this date seems unlikely since it was a Sunday in 1850).
  • 3rd Territorial Session, House and Senate (October 14, 1851) - confirmed on page 317 of A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams; and the Minnesota Journal of the Territorial House, 1852, page 253.
  • 4th Territorial Session, House (October 12, 1852) - listed in an article on page 1 of the St. Paul Daily Globe newspaper on January 25, 1881, and in A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875 by J. Fletcher Williams, page 331.
  • 5th Territorial Session, House and Senate (October 12, 1853) - listed on page 344 of A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams.
  • 6th Territorial Session, House (October 10, 1854) - found on p. 353 of A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams.
  • 7th Territorial Session, House and Senate (October 9, 1855) - listed in the Minnesota Journal of the House, 1856, page 2, and on page 359 of A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams.
  • 8th Territorial Session, House (October 14, 1856) - listed in an article on page 1 of the St. Paul Daily Globe newspaper on January 25, 1881, and on page 366 of A History of the City of St. Paul to 1875, 1983 edition, by J. Fletcher Williams.

Term of Office
These fields contain the starting and ending dates of the term the legislator served. The term start date is generally the first date of session. The term end date is generally the day before the next legislative session starts. The term end date is not the same as the session adjournment date. For special elections the term start date is usually the date they were sworn in. If a member dies before the official term end date, the death date is used.

Although we are fairly confident in the Senate term dates listed prior to the 1882 elections, it's possible that we missed some changes or applicable laws, or that mistakes were made in calculations. As far as we can determine from the General Laws of Minnesota, Senate terms were staggered between the odd and even district numbers prior to the 1882 elections. The lists of members in the Minnesota Legislative Manuals and the few Minnesota Journals of the Senate available in the Legislative Reference Library from this time period were the primary sources used to determine the staggered Senate terms. Further complications include the fact that sessions were annual until the 1878 election, several apportionment changes occurred in this time frame, and House terms changed from one to two years while Senate terms moved from two years to four. (The links to the General Laws of Minnesota listed above detail many of these changes.)

District
This field contains the number of the district that the legislator represented.

Residence
This field contains the city/township/town/village where the legislator lived during this term. If this data isn't listed then the post office name is used.

Counties Represented
This field contains the names of the counties that the legislator represented during this term. The legislator may have represented all of or only a portion of each county listed. Keep in mind that the geographic areas of many counties have changed over time. The database reflects the counties as they existed when the member served.

In territorial times, the database reflects the applicable district apportionment descriptions and generally doesn't incorporate newly created counties or changed county boundaries between apportionments. The first territorial apportionment included district geographic descriptions that no longer exist under the names listed. For these we did our best to determine the counties that applied. Thus there may be a few county errors for the Territorial Sessions, particularly the 1st and 2nd.

Occupation
This field contains the legislator's self-reported occupation for this time period. If not self-reported other sources may be used.

Party
This field contains the legislator's political party affiliation such as Republican or Democratic. They are taken from the Minnesota Legislative Manuals, when listed there. From the 1914 election until the 1974 House election and the 1976 Senate election, the Minnesota Legislature was elected on a nonpartisan basis. Other reputable sources are used when the party affiliations aren't listed in the Minnesota Legislative Manuals. Comprehensive party/caucus affiliation sources include:

  • 1861 (Senate even districts), 1862 (House and Senate), 1863 (Senate odd districts): St. Paul Pioneer and Democrat, January 7, 1862 (They listed the Democrats in italicized type, we made the assumption that those not italicized were Republicans. That's how they did it in "The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877, but they specified in that article that the regular type names were in fact Republicans. It seems to hold up with other sources but needs to be verified.)
  • 1867-1869: Minnesota Legislative Manuals
  • 1873: The Fifteenth Legislature of Minnesota. St. Paul: Press Printing Company, 1873
  • 1877-1878: Biographical Sketches of the Officers of the State Government of Minnesota and of the 19th Minnesota State Legislature, by C.L. Hall, 1877; and "The Next Legislature." St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 10, 1877.
  • 1887-1888 (Senate): Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1889-90 (since it was a portion of their 4 year term)
  • 1889-1914: Minnesota Legislative Manuals
  • 1915-1974: Nonpartisan elections, affiliations were surmised using the following sources:
    • 1945-1950 (House): House Journals, based on votes for Speaker of the House
    • 1951-1952: "The Minnesota Legislature...How it Works." Minnesota Association of Cooperatives
    • 1953-1956: House and Senate Journals, based on votes for Speaker of the House or President Pro Tempore of the Senate
    • 1957-1974: Unofficial Legislative Directories, Minnesota Railroads Association (conservative or liberal caucus identifications)
  • 1975-Present: Minnesota Legislative Manuals

Party Notes
If the party affiliation is provided by a source other than the standards listed above, identify the source. This field should also contain any notes related to party affiliation such as documenting a party switch in the middle of a term.

Committees
This field contains the names of the committees that each legislator served on during each term. The information was mainly taken from the Official Directories of the Minnesota Legislature, the Minnesota Legislative Manuals, or the House and Senate Journals. House committee chairs were clearly identified and were placed first on these lists from 1915 to the present. Senate committee chairs were also clearly identified and were placed first on these lists from 1917 to the present. Prior to these years, the chairs were no longer clearly identified in these sources. However, whenever we found other sources for committee chairs for this time period they generally matched the first person listed. So we assumed the first person listed in these sources were the chairs. Thus it is possible that the people listed as chair prior to 1915 in the House and prior to 1917 in the Senate are incorrect. We only have complete lists of members on subcommittees for the House from 1977 to the present, and for the Senate from 1973 to the present.

Leadership Position, Leadership Notes
These fields indicate any leadership positions the member held during that specific term. The notes field include any details or leadership changes during the term. If the member changed leadership positions during the term, the Sort Order box is used. (Number 1 is used for the first leadership position, followed by 2, 3, etc.)

Unfinished Term
This field indicates if this happened during the specific term. For Senators serving in the second half of their four year term, this is also added to the record for the first two years of the term. Details related to the reasons for the unfinished term appear in the Session Change Notes field. The Term End Date and Service Information should reflect these changes.

Special Election, Contested Election, Recount, and Election Notes
These fields indicate if any of these situations apply to that specific term. Details are found in the Election Notes field. The Term Start Date and Service Information should reflect these changes.

Media Type
This field contains the type of media related to the legislator: Archive Collections, Articles/Books About, Articles/Books By, Audio, Interview (Term), Other, Photo (Other), Photo (Term), and Video. (Term photos currently are available for 1857-58, courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society, 1913-14, 1923-24, 1935-36, 1949-50, 1957-58, 1963-64, 1973-74, and 1981-82 courtesy of the Minnesota Digital Library, and 2001-present, courtesy of House Photography and Senate Photography.)

Media File
This field contains the filename of the local file or the URL of an external file related to the legislator.

Media Description
This field contains the description of the file or citation to media related to the legislator.

Media Date
The date of the media, if applicable, is divided into 3 fields - Month, Day, Year.

Media Notes
This field contains credit statement or any additional notes.

Additional Note on the Dates of Minnesota Legislative Apportionments

  • Territory:

    1849: Governor's Proclamation, 7/7/1849. Apportionment in effect through 12/31/1851

    1851: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1851 Ch. 6. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1852 - 12/31/1855

    1855: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1855 Ch. 9. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1856 - 12/1/1857

    State:

    1857: Schedule of the MN Constitution, Sec. 10-12. Apportionment in effect: 12/2/1857 - 12/31/1860

    1860: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1860 Ch. 73. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1861 - 12/31/1866

    1866: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1866 Ch. 4. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1867 - 12/31/1871

    1871: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1871 Ch. 20. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1872 - 12/31/1882

    1881: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1881 Ch. 128. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1883 - 12/31/1890

    1889: Gen. Laws of Minnesota 1889 Ch. 2. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1891 - 12/31/1898

    1897: Laws of Minnesota 1897 Ch. 120. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1899 - 12/31/1914

    1913: Laws of Minnesota 1913 Ch. 91. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1915 - 12/31/1962

    1959: Laws of Minnesota 1959 Ex. Sess. Ch. 45. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1963 - 12/31/1966

    1966: Laws of Minnesota 1966 Ex. Sess. Ch. 1. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1967 - 12/31/1972

    1972: (Courts) Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1973 - 12/31/1982

    1982: Laws of Minnesota 1983 Ch. 191 and Courts. Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1983 - 12/31/1992

    1992: (Courts) Apportionment in effect: 1/1/1993 - 12/31/2002

    2002: (Courts) Apportionment in effect: 1/1/2003 - 12/31/2012

    2012: (Courts) Apportionment in effect: 1/1/2013 - 12/31/2022

  • Sources:

    Wattson, Peter. History of Minnesota Redistricting. Minnesota Senate Counsel, 2010.

    Minnesota Legislative Manual, 1957/1958. p. 125-133.

    Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, 645 State Office Building, Saint Paul, MN  55155