If you have ancestors from Minnesota, you may want to check out some of the free genealogy resources offered by the Minnesota Historical Society. Volunteers have compiled both a death certificate index and a birth certificate index.
The Death Certificate Index covers the years 1904 to 2001 and is searchable by name. You can narrow your search by mother's maiden name, death year and county of death.
The results screen gives the name of the individual, date and place of birth, mother's maiden name, date and county of death and death certificate number. Some entries may not have as much information as others.
The Birth Certificate Index covers the years 1900 through 1934. There are approximately 2700 records from before 1900. It is also searchable by name and can be narrowed down with additional information.
The results screen gives you the name of the individual, date and county of birth, mother's maiden name and certificate number. As with the death index, some entries have more information than others. I did notice that some of the mother's maiden name entries had the first name rather than the surname so be on the lookout for that.
Last, but not least is a third free genealogy resource, the Minnesota State Census. Census records are available for the years 1849, 1850, 1853, 1855, 1857, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905. Since there are limited 1890 federal census records, the 1885 and 1895 state census records can be a boon to genealogists with Minnesota roots.
The census records are searchable by name and can be narrowed by census year and county. The results screen gives the individual's name, age, ethnicity, birthplace, county, city or township, sex and census year. You will also notice a census id number with each entry.
If you decide that you want a copy of a birth certificate, death certificate or census record, they can be ordered through the same website. Just click on the "add to order" button on the left side of the entry to add it to your shopping cart. There is a fee for copies.