Online Research Indexes – Search Tips and General Information

Using the Index Page

There are 2 ways you can use this resource

  1. Find and order you family-related newspaper clippings and documents. BECHS will then email your order with in 3-5 business days (or less!)
  2. Search the records before your visit to BECHS’ Research Center. Know exactly what obituaries, wills and other documents you want to find before you step in the door.

This research tool contain almost 200,000 records (and counting). When you first visit the page or anytime you “reset” your search, the page may take a little bit to load. Search results may also take a few seconds. You can speed up your searches by limiting your search to a specific category using the category drop down filter.

BECHS is not responsible for the length or quality of your purchased research. Sorry, no refunds.

Questions? or 507-345-5566

General Search Tips

  • Start wide. Start with a name, adding dates or locations, or name variations. You can also filter by category such as Obituary, Will, Marriage, etc.
  • The search tool searches all fields, so you can search for names, dates, places, etc.
  • Search includes partial names (Nels will result in Nels, Nelson, Nelsen, Snelson, etc.)
  • Use quotes. Most of the names are listed as Last Name, First Name. A search of Nels Nelson will bring you hundreds of hits, “Nelson, Nels” will display a much shorter list.
  • Use the minus sign before a word to remove it from your search results. For example, a search for John will result in John, Johnson, etc. Search: John -Johnson and your search results are much more manageable. Be sure there is no space between the minus sign and the word you want to exclude in your search results.
  • Mistakes are bound to happen. Errors in the newspaper articles, illegible headstones, transcription errors, etc. Get creative with your searching – use different spellings; try searching dates and locations without names, and so on.
  • If two records have the same category, book and page number, you will only need to order one record. For example, obituaries for both Rose Izen and Thomas Izen are in Book 91, page I-1. If you order Rose’s obituary, you will also receive Thomas’.
  • Use “Reset” to start your search from the beginning.
  • More records will be added as they come available. Follow us on Facebook or sign-up for our weekly enews to stay up to date on new additions.
  • Be patient! With 200,000 records, this search tool has a lot to look through!


  • This is solely an index of names, burial locations and some dates; no additional information is available to purchase.
  • This index was created by volunteers who physically visited Blue Earth County cemeteries in the 1980-90s and so only includes burials before that time.
  • Note: a small percentage of the burials may have inscription information available to in-house researchers only.


  • Wedding announcements from the Mankato Free Press.
  • These announcements are currently on microfilm. Ordered articles will be printed, scanned and emailed.
  • Some announcements ran in the paper for more than one week, and usually contained the same information.
  • This index currently includes marriage announcements from 1949-1988.

Sample Marriage Announcement


  • Newspaper clippings from local papers
  • Includes obituaries, death notices, news articles about deaths, etc.
  • Some individuals may have more than one obituary. Somethings each obituary is different; sometimes they are identical.
  • BECHS most popular genealogy resource!

Sample Obituary, short             Sample Obituary, with photo

Servicemen Notes

  • These Mankato Free Press clippings from 1942-1946 give news of service men and women, often when home of furlough, but also includes news of promotions or other military updates.

Sample Servicemen Note, short            Sample Servicemen Note, with photo

Social Notes

  • Small bits of news from across the county. Different from the other record categories in that they don’t always include names, but instead about events or places.
  • Names are less consistent than in other record categories. You might find Adam Jones; Jones, Adam; A Jones; Mr. Jones; Jones, etc.
  • Because quality and quantity of information varies, the price of these clippings is discounted to $3.
  • Tip: filter by “Social Notes” and search by a location to scan local headlines.
  • This index is NOT exhaustive
    • It does include many of the more informative Social Notes
    • It does not include the thousands of additional shorter Notes (often 3-5 lines in length).
    • This index will continue to grow as volunteers and staff continue to add to this list. Locations currently include:  Beauford, Cambria, Caroline, Cream, Ceresco, Danville, Decoria, Eagle Lake, Garden City, Indian Lake, Jerusalem, Judson, Kennedy Bridge, Lake Crystal, LeHillier, Lime, Lincoln, Lyra, Mankato, Madison Lake, Mankato, Mapleton, Medo, and North Mankato.

Sample Social Note, short            Sample Social Note, with photo


  • Wills from 1850s-1970s.
  • Wills could be a single page to several pages in length.
  • The date is when the will was filed and could be days to years after death.
  • If you prefer a paper copy of the will be mailed to you free of charge, please include a note in the comment box upon check out.

Sample Will, typed           Sample Will, handwritten

Coupon Code: Research

  • Use this code at checkout for 50% off your records order of $30 or more
  • Discount does not apply to wills