Wisconsin Archives and Libraries
The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services helpful to genealogical researchers.
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706
Library Division Telephone: 608-264-6535
Library Division Fax: 608-264-6520
Archives Division Telephone: 608-264-6460
The research collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society are divided between library and archives divisions. The library houses printed materials, while the archives maintains the original records for Wisconsin government jurisdictions. The local records are often located at the appropriate area research centers (see addresses below).
The library's subject card catalog contains the names of individuals from biographical sketches in histories, biographies, and obituaries. The library will check this card catalog for a name if you will send a self-addressed stamped envelope. The library's book collection is listed in MadCat, the University of Wisconsin Library's online catalog.
Several guides have been published that describe the collections at this society. A helpful introductory guide is:
- Danky, James P., ed. Genealogical Research: An Introduction to the Resources of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1986. (Family History Library book 977.5 A1 no. 91.) ib
Another guide to the collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society is:
- Smith, Alice E., ed. Guide to the Manuscripts of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1944, 1957. (Family History Library book 977.5 A5w; 977.5 A5w supp. 1.) A second supplement was published in 1966 (not available at the Family History Library). These guides contain references to the papers of many families and businesses.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has an on-line Wisconsin Genealogy Index that indexes the pre-1907 vital records and other records. It is available at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/vitalrecords/
The pre-1907 vital records index lists births and deaths
The society houses collections of regional interest at area research centers. These centers often have census records; pre-1907 birth, marriage, and death records; probate records; tax records; school records; church records; naturalization records; and other local historical records.
Wisconsin Area Research Centers
In addition to the state historical society library in Madison, Wisconsin also has the following area research centers:
1. Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706-1488
Serves Sauk, Columbia, and Dane counties.
2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Eugene W. Murphy Library
1631 West Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Serves Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempeleau, and Vernon counties.
3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville
The SW Wisconsin Room
Ullsvik Hall, 1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
Serves Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland counties
4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Harold W. Anderson Library
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
Serves Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties.
5. University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Wyllie Library/Learning Center
900 Wood Road
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Serves Kenosha and Racine counties.
6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
PO Box 604
2311 East Hartford Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Serves Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties.
For Area 6, Births, Marraiges, & Deaths:
WI Vital Records Office
1 West Wilson St.
PO Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309
7. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Forrest R. Polk Library
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Serves Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Winnebago counties.
8. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Area Research Center (7th Floor)
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Telephone: 920-465-2540 1-888-729-4611
Serves Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, and Shawano counties.
9. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Area Research Center
900 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Serves Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood counties.
10. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
Special Collections & Archives (5022 5th floor)
William D. McIntyre Library
Eau Claire, WI 54702-5010
Serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Rusk, Clark, and Taylor counties.
11. University of Wisconsin-Stout
Swanson Learning Center - University Archives and Area Research Center
315 Tenth Ave.
Menomonie, WI 54751
Serves Barron, Dunn, and Pepin counties.
12. University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Area Research Center
Chalmer Davee Library
120 Cascade Avenue - street address
410 South 3rd Street - maling address
River Falls, WI 54022
Serves Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties.
13. Superior Public Library
Area Research Center
1530 Tower Avenue
Superior, WI 54880
Serves Douglas County.
14. Northern Great Lake Center
Area Research Center
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806
Serves Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Vilas, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Oneida, and Forest Counties
The Family History Library has guides to the three Wisconsin area research centers at Green Bay, River Falls, and Stevens Point. These guides are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under WISCONSIN - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES.
National Archives Great Lakes Region (Chicago)
7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705-0106
Milwaukee County Historical Society
910 North Third St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
The society above houses Civil War and church records, obituaries and biographical newspaper clippings, naturalization indexes, census records, court and probate records, and coroners' inquests.
Vesterheim Genealogical Center
415 West Main St.
Madison, WI 53703
This center has records of many Norwegian-Americans, including passenger lists, church records, family records, and Norwegian local and farm histories.
Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society
c/o Robert Felber, Archivist
6100 W. Mequon Rd.
Mequon, WI 53092-1951
There are an estimated 8,500 cemeteries in Wisconsin. This society has compiled the records of about 2,000 cemeteries. They publish a newsletter in which you can place queries.
A guide to Wisconsin archives and libraries is:
- Ryan, Carol W. Searching for Your Wisconsin Ancestors in the Wisconsin Libraries. Green Bay: C. W. Ryan, 1988. (Family History Library book 977.5 D27r 1988; film 1440401 Item 2.
Inventories of County Archvies
To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Wisconsin counties, use the fifteen inventories of the county archives published about 1940 by the Historical Records Survey. This source contains detailed inventories of all the records which existed in the county courthouse in approximately the year 1940. It also describes the contents of the records. The Family History Library has copies of the inventories for Barron, Buffalo, LaCrosse, Marathon, Monroe, Rusk, and Sheboygan counties. They are listed in the catalog under WISCONSIN, [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES.
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You can find computerized research tips and information about ancestors from Wisconsin in a variety of sources at local, state, national, and international levels. The list of sources is growing rapidly. Most of the information is available at no cost. Addresses on the Internet change frequently. The following sites are important gateways linking you to many more sites:
http://www.usgenweb.com/ All of the United States)
A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.
http://files.usgwarchives.net/ (All of the United States)
"In June 1996, the USGenWeb Digital Library (USGenWeb Archives) was developed to present actual transcriptions of public domain records on the Internet. This huge undertaking is the cooperative effort of volunteers who either have electronically formatted files on census records, marriage bonds, wills, and other public documents, or are willing to transcribe this information to contribute." -- Site authors.
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/roots-l/ (All of the United States)
A useful list of sites and resources. Includes a large, regularly-updated research coordination list.
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~websites/usa/index.html (All of the United States)
"Rootsweb® is the oldest and largest free online community dedicated to family history. You'll find millions of members communicating on thousands of message boards in this expansive environment for learning, collaborating and sharing with others." -- Site authors. Operated by ancestry.com.
http://www.linkpendium.com/genealogy/USA/ (All of the United States)
"Linkpendium is being developed by Karen Isaacson and Brian (Wolf) Leverich, founders of the extremely popular RootsWeb genealogical community site. At the time of its merger with Ancestry in June 2000, RootsWeb had about 600,000 registered users, was serving about 100,000,000 Web page views monthly, and was delivering about 160,000,000 pieces of email monthly to the subscribers of its 18,000 mailing lists. The company had more than 40 employees and operated its own 7,000 square foot data center in Bakersfield, CA." -- Site authors.
US Gen Net
http://www.usgennet.org/socadmin/ (All of the United States)
On-line Historical and Genealogical Societies
http://www.cyndislist.com/usa.htm (All of the United States)
List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
http://www.liveroots.com/earth/united_states.html (All of the United States)
"Live Roots is a specialized search engine that assists you with locating genealogical resources, including both those that are accessible online and others which may require assistance from another researcher. The concept behind Live Roots was to build a search experience that bridges the gaps between independent genealogy web sites, large commercial ancestry repositories and many other printed family history materials yet to be digitized and published on the World Wide Web." -- Site authors
http://www.accessgenealogy.com/ (All of the United States)
"From what started out as a simple set of 50 state pages, has blossomed into over 250,000 pages, and millions of records. This feat couldn't have been accomplished without the assistance Judy and I received over the years by countless volunteers. We are indebted to each of you for your assistance in making this project what it has become! Thank You!" ... "It's important for you to understand, though we are known for our Native American data, we actually have more data for the regular American researcher, then we do Native American." -- Site authors.
Family History 101
http://www.familyhistory101.com/ (All of the United States)
"While I cannot provide detailed information on all sources available to family historians, Family History 101 covers the basic tools and provides essential instructions. My intention is to suggest some of the easiest ways to find, document, and preserve your family history. " -- Site authors.
http://www.geneasearch.com/ (All of the United States)
" GeneaSearch has helped search for ancestors, build family trees and find family history with free genealogy lookups, free genealogy sites, family surname newsletters, data, books from genealogy societies and individuals, surname queries, female ancestors, beginner's genealogy guide since 1999. Other genealogy resources are links, lists of societies, and a variety of tools for online research.. See our state genealogy pages for free genealogy databases and genealogy resources for each state." -- Site Authors
http://www.daddezio.com/records/room/ (All of the United States)
"The mission of D'Addezio.com has been to provide a quality site containing original material, and valuable links to other information on the Internet, in a well-organized manner. The site has grown gradually, keeping the quality of our information as the highest priority." -- Site authors.
Olive Tree Genealogy
http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/sitemap.shtml (All of the United States)
"Olive Tree Genealogy has more than 1,900 pages of free genealogy records to help you find your brick-wall ancestors and build your family tree." -- Site Authors
http://www.gendir.com/locales/230 (All of the United States)
A free genealogy site featuring a message board, a surname registry, lists of other genealogy sites, and region specific resources.
http://recordsproject.com/ (All of the United States)
Links to state and county public records.
http://www.kindredtrails.com/databases.html (All of the United States)
ancestry.com Databases for Wisconsin (Wisconsin - Databases at ancestry.com)
http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/libraryarchives/ (Wisconsin - State Archives)
Regional Genealogy Databases, ancestry.com, National Archives, State Archives
http://search.ancestry.com/search/default.aspx? (All of the United States)
ancestry.com Geographic genealogical source search page. Requires US Subscription.
Family Tree Connection / Genealogy Today $
http://www.familytreeconnection.com/search/ (All of the United States)
"Your annual subscription gives you unlimited access to the Family Tree Connection database, along with discounts on all purchases in the Genealogy Today Store and any scanning services you request (of images in any of the FTC source documents)." -- Site Authors
FamilySearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. FamilySearch is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources.