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United States Gotoarrow.png U.S. Directories Gotoarrow.png Wisconsin Gotoarrow.png Directories

City and county directories are similar to present-day telephone books and are useful records for locating people. They were often published annually, listing heads of households, employed household members, and their occupations and addresses. Directories may focus on the businesses or occupations of an area, or include heads of households, landowners, and voters.

Directories are particularly helpful for research in cities. A directory may be the only source that lists a person if he was not registered to vote and did not own property. Most households were included because the directories were created for salesmen, merchants, and others interested in contacting residents of an area.

Directories have other clues that may require careful study to discover. For example, people in similar or related occupations were often relatives, in-laws, or friends. A year-by-year study of directories may reveal the movements of ancestors and relatives within the city and sometimes to or from other cities.

Examples of directories that may be found in an archive are: city directories, telephone directories, church directories, occupational directories, farmers directories, or rosters of society members.

Contents

Resources for Wisconsin Directories

Libraries and Archives

The Wisconsin Historical Society has the a collection of city, business, occupational, and other directories of names.

Directories Online

The Family History Library

The Family History Library has directories of heads of households for some major cities of Wisconsin. The Library has directories for:

Milwaukee

1847–60 Family History Library fiche 6044124-33
1861–1935 Family History Library film 1377046-60

Madison

1851–59, 1866–1935 (some gaps) Family History Library fiche 6044081-84
1923, 1937, 1968 Family History Library book 977.583/M1 E4w

Web Sites



 

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