Another installment in the series to find hidden genealogical treasures buried in Iowa repositories:
Appanoose County Historical and Coal Mining Museum
100 West Maple
Centerville, Iowa 52544
An interesting article about coal mining in the Spring 2013 issue of Hawkeye Heritage (IGS publication)(1) convinced me that we needed to visit this museum.
The museum, housed in a stately old post office building, includes a scale model coal mining operation as well as other coal mining items. The museum also features a Mormon Trail exhibit, and many exhibits relevant to pioneers living in early southern Iowa.
The hidden gem here, however, was in the library: what appears to be a complete set of the Report of the State Mine Inspectors from the early 1880s through 1968. These reports contain a gold mine of information for anyone researching the mining industry in Iowa. Kinds of information that may be included:
* List of fatal accidents with coroner and juror reports describing accident, manner of death & name of mine, date, name of victim, age, and often marital status
* List of non-fatal accidents with less information
* Improvements made to specific mines
* Names of all mines and locations
* Descriptions of each county, the mines, railroad facilities for shipping, thickness of mineral deposits, and production quantity
* Descriptions of each mine in each county
* Lists of abandoned mines
* Summary of work completed
* New mines opened
* Mines destroyed by fire
* Scale testing
I was elated to find such a complete set of the reports. I have seen miscellaneous volumes as I’ve wondered around, but never this many! (Note: I have also found a few volumes online via Google.) Researchers with Iowa mining ancestors (not just coal, but all minerals) would be remiss to miss this repository.
(1) Nollen, Carl, “Iowa’s Coal Mining Museums and Their Resources For the Family Historian,” Hawkeye Heritage, Vol. 47, Issue 1 (Spring 2013), Des Moines: Iowa Genealogical Society, p 15-18. To access this article, go to http://www.iowagenealogy.org ->Library, ->Collections, ->Publications.