Longtime genealogist researcher dies in crash

2011-11-22T07:00:00Z Longtime genealogist researcher dies in crashBy Cathy Ingalls, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald
November 22, 2011 7:00 am  • 

Richard Milligan, 91, of Albany was the driver who died Sunday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash on Waverly Drive.

A medical problem is suspected as the cause of the crash, said Albany police Capt. Eric Carter.

Police had withheld Milligan’s name until members of his family were notified.

Milligan’s 1994 Mazda pickup crashed shortly before 1:15 p.m. across from the South Albany High School track. The pickup was southbound on Waverly when it apparently crossed both lanes of traffic, hit a tree and rolled over.

Milligan was pronounced dead shortly after EMTs arrived.

Milligan was president of the Linn Genealogical Society for two decades, said current president Betty Thorn.

“He was the driving force behind the society for about 20 years,” she said. “He’s known by genealogical researchers countrywide. He was very good at helping people before there were computers.”

Linda Ellsworth, media coordinator for the genealogical society, said, “The work Milligan did for Linn County genealogy cannot be replaced by anything. Because of the work he did, it is a lot easier for those looking for information on pioneer families.”

Milligan and the late John Miles, a barber from Lebanon, decided at one point to document the history of the families who traveled the Oregon Trail and took donation land claims in Linn County. The number totaled 1,240.

“I know that because I did the typing that ended up filling 40 volumes,” Thorn said. “We are one of the rare counties in Oregon that has that compiled information.”

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.

Miles died about halfway through the project, but Milligan continued.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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(1) Comments

  1. David
    Report Abuse
    David - April 23, 2013 7:36 pm
    Thanks for all the help you gave me, Richard. I enjoyed our many long talks at your house. Like you, I was compelled to find out more about the many families in Linn County. Such a wonderful walk through history...one thing leads to another, on and on.

    You were a good friend to me, and to so many others. You will be missed by all.
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