“Go with the Know How…” Accessing Records of, about, and within the Fur Trade in America

Accessing Records of and about the Fur Trade in America have been little publicized over the years.  Western History fans get more details than those researching the eastern United States and Canada.  So I decided to spend some time sharing what is available and where–been collecting tid-bits for quite a while.  I have also personally visited and used the collections described here–onsite and through interlibrary loan.

  1. Hudson Bay Archives.  Microfilmed records are now available on interlibrary loan.  These include journals and correcspondence of over 200 trading posts, also journals of travel and exploration for the period 1703 to 1904; listys of officers, servants, and contracts 1774-1904.  A finding aid for the loan program on two reels has been deposited in a number of Canadian universities, libraries, legislative libraries, and provincial libraries.  Further information is available from:  Interlibrary Loans, Hudson Bay Comp[amy Archives, Provincial Archives of Manitoba, 200 Vaughn Street, Winnepeg, Manitoba R3C 1T5.  Newsleaf, Ontario Genealogical Society, 1987.  Hudsons’ Bay has prepared a printed register of films available on 2 reels:  1M1252-1M1253 [FHL 1730807-808].  http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/  See also Elizabeth Briggs and Anne Morton, Biographical Resources at the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives, 2 volumes.  Volume 2:  Resources for Genealogy.  Winnipeg:  Westgarth, 1996; and Elizabeth Briggs, Handbook for Reading and Interpreting Old Documents, with examples from the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives.  Winipeg:  Manitoba Genealogical Society, 1992.
  2. American Fur Company Records.  Microfilmed records of the American Fur Company, headquartered in St. Louis MO.  These records with typed index are available on interlibrary loan from the Missouri Historical Society.  Library and Research Center:  Located at 225 South Skinker Blvd, across from Forest Park, Mailing address: P.O. Box 11940, St. Louis, MO 63112.  (314) 746-4500  http://www.mohistory.org  Original records and microfilmed copies of records from other archives also available at the Mercantile Library, 510 Locust St., 5th Floor, St. Louis MO 63188.  314-621-0670.  http://www.umsl.edu/mercantile/

Beginning Research and Study Bibliography:

  1. Brown, Jennifer S.H.  Strangers in Blood:  Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country.  Norman:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.  Reprint of original published in 1980.
  2. DePaoli, Neill.  “Beaver, Blankets, Liquor, and Politics, Pemaquid’s Fur Trade,” Maine Historical Historical Society Quarterly 33 (1993-94):  166-210.
  3. Hafen, LeRoy R.  The Mountain Men and the Fur Trade of the Far West:  Biographical Sketches of the Participants.    10 Volumes.  Glendale CA:  The Arthur H. Clark Company, 1972.  Arthur H. Clark Company, 9017 E Euclid Avenue Spokane, WA 99212-2049.
  4. Jackson, John C.  Children of the Fur Trade.  Missoula MT:  Mountain Press, 1995.  Includes how to find mixed blood families phonetically.
  5. Newman, Peter C. Company of Adventurers.  2 vols.  New York:  Penguin Books, 1985.
  6. Ray, Arthur J.  “Early Hudson’s Bay Company Account Books as Sources for Historical Research:  An Annalysis and Assessment,”  Archivaria 1 (Winter 1975-76):  3-38.
  7. Rentmeester, Dr. Lester F., and Jeanne Rentmeester. The Wisconsin Fur Trade People.  1991.  Available from the authors, 1131 Rivermont Drive, Melbourne FL 32935.

Stay tuned for other resources for tracing your ancestors connected to, about, or within the fur trade, your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

PS  I plan to introduce a variety of records with genealogical value in this “Reason says:  go with the well-known; Instinct says:  go with the know-how series.”  So please stay tuned to this and my other blogs.

PPS  Please excuse the duplicate entries at the bottom of this post.  I cannot delete them.  Have to draw attention to my webmaster whose computer skills are extensive.  Very sorry.

PPSS  I tried again to eliminate the dups and WOW–they disappeared!  I’m impressed.
















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