A Narrative History of the Montana Heritage Project

Census Records, Cemeteries, and Video Tapes

Phil Leonardi

Corvallis High School


Freshmen geography students completed a variety of graphing and database problems using the data sets of the 1900 and 1910 census records for Corvallis. Comparisons were made and trends charted for such data as average ages, numbers of males and females, educational status, occupation, and place of birth. The information they organized was compared with data from current Census Bureau estimates for Ravalli County. Then each student selected one person who appeared in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses for further investigation.

Using a database of the Corvallis cemetery created by earlier Heritage Project students, they were able to identify when the person died as well as where he or she was buried. Using a grid mapping system, they located the graves of their subjects and made rubbings of the tombstones to capture the information. With the death date established, they used microfilm records at the Ravalli County Museum to locate obituaries published in the local newspaper.

Using all the information they gathered, they created displays about each person. To better situate the individuals’ lives, they then created a time line that included those national and world events that seemed to have had the most impact on Corvallis. They researched each topic on the time line, reading books and articles in the library, gathering documents and photographs from the archives, and conducting videotaped interviews with historians and knowledgeable community members.

They wove their materials into a script and created a video documenting their year’s work, which they showed at a community open house.

To print a final report for the year-end binder, click here.
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© 2001 Montana Heritage Project
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