Feb. 21, 1920 – Nov. 20, 2011
Richard “Dick” Milligan, 91, passed away Sunday, Nov. 20, due to a vehicle accident. Dick was a charter member of the Linn Genealogical Society and curator for the Linn County Museum in Brownsville for many years. He held all of the Genealogical Society’s executive positions and was the Society’s President for 20 years. In 1987, he started The Heritage Newsletter and was the editor for many years. “Richard was a dedicated member of our society, was always a champion for our causes, and he held the society together when times were tough,” current Society President, Betty Thorn said. “He was very good at helping people before there were computers. We owe him a great vote of thanks and gratitude.”
Dick helped hundreds of families researching family records in Linn County. He is known by genealogical researchers nationally for his efforts to document the history of families who traveled the Oregon Trail and took donation land claims in Linn County. Dick was honored in Boston a few years ago by the D.A.R. at a home that was bulit by his grandfather and reclaimed for history by the D.A.R.
Dick, along with friend John Miles, spent many years working on and publishing records of pioneering families in Linn County. According to a Democrat-Herald article from Jan. 13, 2005, the two men’s initial plan was to simply find out where a husband and wife were buried and not write any information about them. He told a reporter, “Only an idiot would tackle anything like that.” But the more he learned about those people, he became convinced the project would not be complete without more information. John Miles died about halfway through the project, but Milligan continued. The collection consists of 40 volumes and documents 1,245 families. The record copies used to created the collection are part of the M&M files in the Linn Research Room.
In the early years of the Linn Genealogical Society, Dick carried books about genealogy in the trunk of his car to share at Society meetings. That small collection was donated to the Society and has grown to the approximately 2,000 volumes now occupying the Linn Genealogy Research Room on the second floor of the Albany Public Library at 2450 14th Ave. S.E. A plaque recognizing Dick’s accomplishments has been mounted in the Research Room. The plaque reads: “This room is dedicated in the memory of Richard Milligan: Feb. 21, 1920 — Nov. 20, 2011.”