Potential Lyle History Projects

Locate and microfilm all issues of the Lyle Tribune
The Lyle Tribune was published in Lyle from 1892 to the 1940s. Existing collections including the Minnesota Historical Society only have microfilmed issues from April 1897 - December 1903 and from November 1942 - November 1947. The Mower County Historical Society has many bound copies in their archives that have not been microfilmed. I am considering applying for a Minnesota Legacy grant to fund this project. In addition to microfilm I might try to get digital copies to help with my research.

Digitize existing microfilm of the Austin Daily Herald to aid in quick research
The Austin Daily Herald has many important news stories about Lyle mixed in with other area news and buried in decades of microfilm. It will take many hours to manually read through each of these newspapers looking for keywords and stories related to Lyle. Having digitized and OCRed copies online would enable quick research from anywhere in the world. Some of these are digitized on pay websites such as newspapers.com and newspaperarchive.com but it is a small percentage of the total. Digitizing these newspapers will benefit not only Lyle-related but also research related to any of the other small towns in the area.

Finish scanning yearbooks
My first project was a school alumni site for Lyle, Minnesota called lylealumni.com. For this project I scanned all known Lyle yearbooks (aka "Lyloneons") from 1940 to 2011. The goal of this scanning project is to create clean copies of all pages of all yearbooks. However there were a number of missing or marked pages (pages with personal messages or signatures) in the yearbooks I scanned. I need to locate people that have clean copies of the specific pages I am missing and then scan them in to complete each yearbook. I also need to scan in more recent yearbooks that I have not scanned since the initial completion of the project in 2011.

Tag and index yearbooks
Having all yearbook content scanned and OCR online is useful for some searches but leaves out important information that can be extracted. For example, if a user would like to look at all basketball pictures from the 1950s, a search for "basketball" may or may not turn up what the user is looking for. A page about basketball may not actually contain the words "basketball", many pages from years other than the 1950s may show up in the hits, and both boys and girls basketball may be returned when the user just wanted girls basketball. Likewise a search for "James Smith" may miss pages that contain the names "Jim Smith" or "J. Smith". By tagging them with content and indexing names, the yearbook data becomes fully searchable.

Gather class lists and pictures from years that did not have yearbooks
Lyle High School was built in 1906. Lyle yearbooks start in the year 1940, as far as I know. The senior class pictures hanging in the school start at year 1937. The only other class pictures that I know are the 1922 and 1912 senior class pictures which are not hanging at Lyle High School but are in their possession. Kathy Helle also has a copy of the 1912 class picture at her house because her grandmother, Della (Richardson) Hotson, was a senior that year. A list of all Lyle High School attendees prior to the start of yearbooks should be created, with pictures if possible. I do have a list of all attendees that was created in the 1960s to send out a note about homecoming to all alumni.

Create searchable person database to cover all people who every lived/worked/went to school in Lyle

Collect and make available online Lyle cemetery records
I consider Lyle cemeteries to include: Woodbury cemetery, Six Mile Grove cemetery and Pleasant Hill cemetery (Mona, IA). None of these cemeteries has a website although all of them have partial listings on findagrave.com. I would like to do a data collection project for each cemetery to:

  • Collect a complete listing of all people buried
  • Take a picture of every headstone
  • Collect obituaries for every person
  • Make all of the above searchable and freely available on this website
  • Reconcile cemetery listing data with findagrave.com and obituaries to find errors

Collect and make available online Lyle church confirmation pictures and class lists

Scan and digitize old City of Lyle record books
The City of Lyle has the original record books from when the city was founded in the 1870s to the present. The earliest book is written in long-hand cursive on a large leather-bound ledger book. The only copy is at City Hall in Lyle. It should be scanned and digitized as a first step to preserve it. The next step would be to transcribe its contents and extract useful information such as names of city officials.

Track land ownership changes for Lyle area farmland using plat books and county records
There are many early platbooks that show land ownership for Lyle and Nevada townships. Document how land has changed ownership over the years. Investigate what other types of public records are available at the Mower County courthouse.

Track and list descendants of the first settlers of Lyle that stayed
There are some 100- and 150-year old farms in the Lyle area including the farm of my parents. Document people whose families have lived in the Lyle area for the longest time. I expect it will be mostly farms.

Document histories of first Lyle settlers that did not stay in the area
Some early settlers that lent their names to our area left shortly after settling. We should document what happened to people like Robert Lyle and Woodbury. Track the descendents of the first child born in the area, etc.

Key in all data from all existing census record images for Lyle
All US census data from 1940 and earlier has been released including images of the actual data sheets the census takers used. By transcribing the sheets for the City of Lyle, Lyle Township and Nevada Township, we can develop a better picture of how demographics changed from the late 1800s to 1940. There may also be some state census information available.