Progress Date Task Notes
October, 2017 Scanned books

I scanned a few more books and cleaned up some books I had scanned a long time ago. I use ScanTailor to pre-process my scans before making them into full PDFs. As of today, I have scanned and created PDF files for:

Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church 100th Anniversary 1859-1959
History And Golden Memories of Lyle, Minnesota 1853-1941
Lyle Centennial 1870-1970
Mona Lutheran Church History 100 Years 1876-1976
Six Mile Grove Lutheran Church 125th Anniversary 1859-1984
Lyle Community Sports and Sports 1870-1995
Lyle Celebrates 125 Years
Lyle All School Reunion 1995

October, 2017 Oral History Association conference

I attended the Oral History Association conference from Oct 4-8 in Minneapolis. Was inspiring to hear about other peoples' projects. Met many interesting people and talked through a lot of my questions. I'm thinking about putting the Lyle oral histories up on this website now, using the OHMS system which is free and open source, built by the University of Kentucky.

September, 2017 Ted Myhre visit

Ted Myhre visited me at my house and we talked for a long time about what I have done and what my plans are. Ted is descended from Ole Sampson, one of the first settlers of Six Mile Grove, and also from the Myhre family which was very active in the early days of the city of Lyle. He has some cool stuff (including postcards I have never seen) up on his website:

August, 2017 Harold Rohne and Kermit Leidall interviews

I interviewed Harold Rohne and Kermit Leidall on August 30, 2017 in Lyle as part of the Lyle Oral History project part 2: Schools and Businesses. Both were great interviews!

August, 2017 Digitization grant application

I wrote a grant that Mower County Historical Society submitted to the Worth County Development Authority for their fall round of grants. If approved, this grant will digitize all existing issues of the Lyle Tribune and make them available online from MCHS office (and potentially other places in the future). I applied for around $8,000 which is the cost of digitizing, and I'd build the website myself using ResCarta. It is a long shot but I have my fingers crossed! Grants will be awarded on November 15.

June, 2017 Newspaper clippings total 1,628

I continue to add obituaries as I have time. Most of the ones I'm adding I'm backfilling from the hundreds I added to I should have kept all the info when I first added them to findagrave! I prefer to have them all on my website so I have more control over them. My plan is still to keep them up-to-date on findagrave too if possible and also to give them to Mower/Mitchell County Genweb.

June, 2017 Facebook group over 500 followers

My facebook page has officially passed over 500 followers. For comparison, "Adams Now & Then" has 788 followers, "Mower County Historical Society" has 575, and "Mitchell County Historical Society" has 855. I wish I could change the name to "Lyle Historical Society" but it looks to be too hard to change.

June, 2017 Lyle Tribune to be microfilmed

The grant I wrote was funded so the Lyle Tribune will be microfilmed in its entirety this year. My goal is still to apply for digitization separately, but this is a huge step in preserving all the wonderful info in the Lyle Tribune. The official press release is here:

June, 2017 Funeral programs added

I added a separate content type and a view for all funeral programs. Previously they were jammed in as newspaper clippings but they didn't really fit there. Most of the ones that are currently up come from Sue Horgen and I have many more from Dona Ziegler that will be added.

June, 2017 Newspaper clipping transcription

Hazel (Sola) Van Hove has volunteered to work on transcribing the large backlog of newspaper clippings (current around 900). She has already completed nearly 100 of them, thank you Hazel!

May, 2017 StarTribune archives

The Minneapolis StarTribune just made its archives available online, fully searchable from the 1800s to present. I paid for a 6-month subscription and have started adding some clippings. There are actually a surprising number of them about Lyle.

May, 2017 Yearbooks

I bought many yearbooks at Dona Ziegler's moving sale from the 1940s and 1960s. It has inspired me to look again at adding the yearbooks here instead of I would like to re-scan all of them and make them available as downloadable .pdf files in addition to the browsable version online. To re-scan I'd like to do destructive where the spine is cut off and the individual pages are scanned at much higher quality. But unfortunately it ruins the book so I'm trying to get extras for all years. As of today I am missing 1940, 1941, 1942, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1977, 2003 and 2004. Those are my top priorities. I have at least 1 copy and usually at least 2 of all the other years.

April, 2017 Lyle Tribune microfilming again

Just applied for another MN Legacy grant through Mower County Historical Society, this time to microfilm all known issues of the Lyle Tribune. The Lyle Tribune was published from 1892 - 1951 and Mower County Historical Society has newspapers in their archive from 1895 - 1951 with a few holes. The papers are in bad shape and will soon be unusable unless they are preserved. I applied for the April 14 deadline so should hear something back by end of May or early June.

March, 2017 Oral history grant funded!

I'm very happy to announce that my oral history grant application "Lyle Oral History Phase 2: Schools and Businesses" has been funded by the Minnesota Historical Society! I applied through the Mower County Historical Society who is the official awardee and the grant totals $7,944. The official press release is here:

March, 2017 Lyle Tribune microfilming and digitization

I'm going to apply for potentially two grants: a MN Legacy grant for microfilming the existing paper copies of the Lyle Tribune held by Mower County Historical Society, and a Worth County Development Authority grant for digitizing those issues. The MN Legacy grant deadline is mid-April and the Worth County Development Authority grant deadline is September 1.

March, 2017 Lyle Business List

I'm working on generating a list of Lyle businesses. I started with the ads in all the old yearbooks and am going to look at the old phone books at Mower County Historical Society next. There are more than I expected -- about halfway through the yearbooks from 1940 - present and already I count about 150 distinct businesses.

February, 2017 Newspaper clippings total 1,227

I've been adding a number of newspaper clippings, both of new things as they happen from the Austin Daily Herald, and also older articles from the St. Ansgar Enterprise. As of today, there are 1,227 news articles on the website, mostly obituaries.

January, 2017 Star Tribune article

The Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an article about the 2016 election featuring Mower County and Lyle in particular. I have one small quote toward the end of the article which ran on 14 January 2017.

January, 2017 Oral history final report

I submitted the final report for Lyle Oral History Phase 1: Churches and Organizations and it was accepted. That project is officially complete.

January, 2017 Oral history grant application part 2

I applied for another Minnesota Legacy grant for funding of Lyle Oral History Phase 2: School and Businesses. The application deadline was 13 January and winners are usually announced within 6 weeks which would be right around the beginning of March.

December, 2016 Lyle Leader index

I made an index of every issue that I could find online of the Lyle Leader News supplement in the St. Ansgar Enterprise from May 1959 to October 1974. Published weekly, this contains over 760 issues of the Lyle Leader. Next step is to publish the index with direct links to the issue in question, then start building an index to the stories that were contained in each issue of the Lyle Leader. I've been extracting only obituaries so far, but there are many other things like sports stories that should be extracted.

December, 2016 Austin Daily Herald article

Deb Nicklay from the Austin Daily Herald did a story about my oral history project and larger Lyle history work that ran on 1 Dec 2016.

December, 2016 Final presentation for oral history

I did a final presentation for Lyle Oral History Phase 1: Churches and Organizations at Lyle High School on 4 December 2016. There were about 25 people there including many of the narrators from the project.

November, 2016 Oral history materials finalized

All the materials from the oral history project are now finalized with DVDs pressed and bound copies printed. Each narrator received a DVD of their interview and a copy of the bound transcripts of all interviews. In addition Mower County Historical Society, the City of Lyle, Lyle High School and I all received DVDs and transcripts of all interviews.

October, 2016 Last Oral History Interviews

On October 2, 2016 I completed oral history interviews with Larry Ricke of Austin, Betty Fisher of Lyle and Patty Conradt of Rose Creek. This makes 10 interviews completed, which is what is required for the grant. I may do a few more if there is left-over budget.

September, 2016 Postcards

I'm playing around with adding postcards to this website. I have hundreds of them in my collection at home that I'd like to put up here. I'm not sure if I'd share all of them or just the more common ones yet. I plan on adding a watermark to the images so they can't be used other places without permission.

September, 2016 Newspaper clippings added

I finalized the structure that I want to use for newspaper clippings, whether they are scanned from paper or directly from the web. I uploaded all the clippings from Sue Horgen for Pleasant Hill cemetery and started adding some other ones as they come up in my research. As of today, there are about 1,100 that have been uploaded. There are many that need transcription-- if you would like to help transcribe newspaper articles please contact me!

September, 2016 Transcriptionist hired

I hired a transcriptionist for the oral history project. She's already through about half of the interviews and is doing a great job!

August, 2016 Cemetery photos

I continue to take photos of area cemeteries. I have taken photos of every headstone in: Six Mile Grove, Woodbury, Cedar City, Oak Lane (Rustad), Union Presbyterian - Stacyville and Union Township. I also started taking some photos of Grandview near Austin.

August, 2016 Oral history interviews

I interviewed Galen Holst and Delos Frank in Lyle on August 24 as part of the Lyle Oral History Project.

August, 2016 Newspaper Clippings

I played around with a way of adding newspaper clippings to this website and added a number of them as examples. I'm hoping to use this to upload the 900+ clippings from Sue Horgen for obituaries at Pleasant Hill cemetery as its first big test. The are located under the "Data" menu item.

July, 2016 Oral history interview

I completed an oral history interview with Darwin Small of Lyle on July 20, 2016.

July, 2016 Oral history interviews

I recorded oral history interviews with Leonard Haugland of Austin, MN and Gerald Sampson of Lyle, MN on July 13.

June, 2016 Scrapbooks and other info

I borrowed a set of scrapbooks from Phyllis Helgeson, and another set from Pearl Nelson. They have lots of great newspaper clippings, centennial photos, church info and school reunion information. I'll be scanning this data and may put some of it up on the website.

June, 2016 Woodbury cemetery research

I started taking photos of every headstone in Woodbury cemetery and have taken about 450 so far. I also got a big box of Woodbury cemetery records and other info from David Howard that I'm sorting through.

June, 2016 Oral history interview

I recorded an oral history interview with Phyllis Helgeson of Rose Creek, MN on June 22.

May, 2016 Microfilming grant take 2

I applied for a $30,000 grant from the State of Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to get all the newspapers at the Mower County Historical Society put on microfilm. This includes many decades of the Lyle Tribune which I believe are the only copies that exist. This is the second time I'm applying for this grant, the first time it was rejected for an unrelated technical reason. I'm also pursuing a separate funding source directly with the newspaper department at the Minnesota Historical Society that would microfilm and digitize these papers. My ultimate goal is to have the Lyle Tribune preserved on microfilm and also available digitally. Having the digitized copy would be wonderful for doing keyword searches and doing research from home.

April, 2016 North Star Historical Bottle Club

I attended the annual bottle collectors show of the North Star Historical Bottle Club in Bloomington. I was looking for anyone who knew anything about Lyle bottles because I had a person ask me about a bottle they found that says "H. N. Peterson, Old Crow, Aged 7 Years, Lyle, Minn.". Nobody had any Lyle bottles there, but they did show me a book that lists "A. B. Olson" as a saloon owner from Lyle that likely bottled his own whiskey.

April, 2016 St. Ansgar Enterprise obituaries

I found and sorted through hundreds of obituaries from the St. Ansgar Enterprise and added them to This paper is online for all years from the late 1800s to 2014, with a gap in the 1980s-1990s. I'm not sure if the paper was published during that time or not. The Lyle Leader News was published as a supplement to the St. Ansgar Enterprise in the 1950s-1970s so it's great to have another online resource for Lyle.

April, 2016 Six Mile Grove photos

I took photos of every headstone in Six Mile Grove and will be updating them on and will also use them to help edit the official cemetery roster.

April, 2016 First oral history interview recorded

I recorded my first oral history interview with Bill Bell of Austin, MN on April 29.

March, 2016 postcards

I've been buying a lot of Lyle postcards lately. There are a couple dealers that I met up with through the Twin Cities Postcard Club that had a number of Lyle and London postcards, including some I hadn't seen before. I've been watching ebay for anything Lyle (including postcards) for over 15 years so I'm pretty happy when I find something new!

March, 2016 Oral history recording equipment

I am working on getting all the recording equipment for the oral history grant. I have it all picked out and it should be shipped soon. It will take some time to play and practice with before I am ready for a real interview.

February, 2016 Rose Creek Enterprise cemetery

As I go through obituaries I see a lot of Lyle people that are buried in Rose Creek Enterprise cemetery. I got the official listing from Karen Sundberg and Morris Klouse and will be using that to update and my own database.

December, 2015 Obituaries, obituaries, obituaries

I've been combing through the Mower County Transcript newspaper on the Library of Congress Chronicling America website. It has an excellent search capability. I've been looking for any obituaries, burial or death notices for Six Mile Grove, Woodbury, Rose Creek Enterprise (aka Varco), Cedar City, Mona, and Pleasant Hill cemeteries. I found and transcribed a few hundred, adding them to I'll also keep a copy to add to my yet-to-be-built database of people. The St. Ansgar Enterprise Journal also has a pretty good archive up on the St. Ansgar library's website. It has many newer obituaries that I haven't yet started to sort through. Lastly, I added all the recent obituaries for the Austin Daily Herald and the Rochester Post Bulletin that I had previously scraped onto

December, 2015 Six Mile Grove on

I added over 500 new memorials to the listings for Six Mile Grove cemetery. I sorted through and cleaned up the listings from the Six Mile Grove cemetery association. I added the ones that looked ok but there are still about a hundred that need more research before I add them. It's difficult to confirm the pre-1900 burials including names and dates.

November, 2015 Oral history grant funded!

I'm very happy to announce that my oral history grant application "Lyle Oral History Phase 1: Organizations and Churches" has been funded by the Minnesota Historical Society! I I applied through the Mower County Historical Society who is the official awardee and the award amount is $9,529. The official announcement is here:

October, 2015 Final application for oral history grant

I put in my fourth application for the Lyle oral history grant. It is pretty much unchanged from the July application and this first phase focuses on Lyle organizations and churches.

August, 2015 Cemetery comparisons

I have the official listings for Pleasant Hill, Six Mile Grove and Woodbury cemeteries. I also have the listing of Pleasant Hill from and a listing I made of Pleasant Hill from all the obituaries Sue Horgen collected. I'm working on the comparison now but it is slow. I don't really have a good system yet so it relies a lot on manual checking and spreadsheets. Given what I have seen so far, I estimate about 700 graves are missing from these cemeteries on, most of which are in Six Mile Grove cemetery. I'll have to see how this turns out, but I'm also considering expanding to some of the other local cemeteries such as Cedar City, London, Rose Creek Enterprise, etc.

August, 2015 Oral history grant, one more time!

The oral history grant I applied for got declined for the third time, this time for reasons unrelated to this specific project. But in the denial letter they state "This is unfortunate because, because this proposal is ready to go. Reviewers strongly encourage you to reapply in the October small grants round if you resolve the final reports before that time." Given that statement, I'm going to try one more time before throwing in the towel, even though I said this time would be the last attempt. The grant I am requesting is about $9,500.