As you research the history of Sherburne County, or Minnesota for that matter, a collection of documents you might want to consider viewing are the Public Safety Commission Alien Registration and Declaration of Holdings Forms, from 1918. The records are held by the Minnesota Historical Society. Microfilm copies of the Sherburne County records are available at SHC
These records, the alien registration forms, contain a wealth of information. They were collected in the early days of World War I. The Public Safety Commission set out to identify and document the individuals and the property holdings of every alien living in Minnesota.
The Commission was created by the State of Minnesota, a board of seven members: including the Governor, the State Attorney General and five members appointed by the Governor. Early in 1918, the Commission issued “Proclamation and Order No. 25” designating the week of February 25 to March 1 as Alien Registration Days. Every resident alien, anyone not native born or naturalized citizens, over the age of 14 was required to register and give declarations of property.
The registration forms collected information on a broad range of topics, from name and date of birth, to immigration date, to citizenship status and why the individual has not become a naturalized citizen. The questions and answers provide great information about individuals living in the state. The registration of aliens was vigorously carried out. In Sherburne County, the registration commission employees went so far as to document nuns living in the Sherburne County area of Saint Cloud (a portion of the form you see here).
The information on these forms offer some great information. For family historians or local historians, the Minnesota Public Safety Commission records provide an opportunity to gain greater insight into our families, into our county, and the State of Minnesota. The collection has been arranged by county and subdivided by community. The microfilm collection at SHC opens a new window into the lifestyles of residents in Sherburne County.