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United States Gotoarrow.png Wisconsin Gotoarrow.png Archives and Libraries


These archives, libraries, societies, and museums house sources, lists, and indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Wisconsin.

Online Records

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Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.


National Archives at Chicago
NARA Chicago.jpg

7358 S. Pulaski Rd.
Chicago, IL 60629-5898
Phone: (773)948-9001
Fax: (773)948-9050
E-mail: chicago.archives@nara.gov
Internet: http://www.archives.gov/chicago/

Includes federal censuses 1790–1930; selected military service indexes, pension indexes, passenger lists, and naturalizations. Free computers for Ancestry, Heritage Quest, or Fold3. Federal agency, civil, and criminal court records of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.[1]


Wisconsin Historical Society.jpg
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
Internet: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/

This is the best manuscript collection in Wisconsin, including censuses, tax, and land records. They hold the famed Draper Manuscript Collection of pioneer history, and the Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society collection.[2]
The Wisconsin Historical Society serves as the state archives, the state library, and the American history library for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Its research collections are divided between library and archives divisions. The library houses printed and microfilmed materials, while the archives maintains the original records for Wisconsin government jurisdictions. The Wisconsin Historical Society is the largest free-standing American history library in the United States. It has the second-largest collection of newspapers in the U.S., after the Library of Congress.
The Wisconsin Historical Society and the University of Wisconsin System jointly operate a network of Area Research Centers located at UW campus libraries throughout the state. Each geographic region is served by an Area Research Center (ARC), which houses the original records from that region. Centers often have probate records, tax records, school records, church records, naturalization records, and other local historical records.
Several guides have been published that describe the collections of the Wisconsin Historical 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: 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: 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's website has a number of resources of use to genealogists:

Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705-0106
E-mail: wsgs@wsgs.org
Internet: http://wsgs.wetpaint.com/

Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society
c/o Robert Felber, Archivist
6100 W. Mequon Rd.
Mequon, WI 53092-1951
Telephone: 414-355-6252

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.

Area Research Centers

The Wisconsin Area Research Center Network consists of 14 repositories statewide. The records created by county offices for each area are housed at the Area Research Center, as are non-governmental manuscript collections of regional interest.[3]

Wisconsin Area Research Centers.JPG

1. Wisconsin Historical Society (See also "Statewide" above.)
Archive Reference
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706-1488
Telephone 608-264-6460
Internet: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/research.asp
Serves Sauk, Columbia, and Dane counties

2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Eugene W. Murphy Library
1631 West Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Telephone: 608-785-8511
Internet: http://www.uwlax.edu/Murphylibrary/Departments/archome.html
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
Telephone: 608-342-1719
Internet: http://www.uwplatt.edu/library/swwis/
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
Telephone: 262-472-5520
Internet:  http://library.uww.edu/archives/archicol.html
Serves Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties

5. University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Wyllie Library/Learning Center
900 Wood Road
Box 2000
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
Telephone: 414-595-2345
Internet: http://www.uwp.edu/departments/library/archives
Serves Kenosha and Racine counties

6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Archives Department
UWM Libraries
PO Box 604
2311 East Hartford Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Telephone: 414-229-6980
I nternet: http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/arch
Serves Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. They have a great historical collection especially for German immigrants to Wisconsin.[2]

7. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Forrest R. Polk Library
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Telephone: 920-424-0828
Internet: http://www.uwosh.edu/archives
Serves Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Winnebago counties

8.  University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Cofrin Library
Area Research Center (7th Floor)
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Telephone: 920-465-2540   1-888-729-4611
Internet: http://www.uwgb.edu/library/spc
speccoll@uwgb.edu    libraryweb@uwgb.edu
Serves Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, and Shawano counties

9. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Area Research Center
University Library
900 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Telephone: 715-346-2586
Internet: http://library.uwsp.edu/depts/archives/archives.htm
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
University Drive
Eau Claire, WI 54702-5010
Telephone: 715-836-2739
Internet: http://www.uwec.edu/Library/archives/index.htm
Serves Buffalo, Eau Claire, Chippewa, Rusk, Clark, and Taylor counties. They have a large manuscript collection with many historical references.[2]

11. University of Wisconsin-Stout
Swanson Learning Center - University Archives and Area Research Center
University Library
315 Tenth Ave.
Menomonie, WI 54751
Telephone: 715-232-2300
Internet: http://www.uwstout.edu/lib/archives/index.cfm
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
Telephone: 715-425-3567
Internet: http://www.uwrf.edu/library/arc
Serves Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties

13.  Superior Public Library
Area Research Center
1530 Tower Avenue
Superior, WI 54880
Telephone: 715-394-8860
E-mail: jenningsj@ci.superior.wi.us
Internet: Superior Public Library
This is another very good genealogy collection.[2] Serves Douglas County.

14.  Northern Great Lake Center
Area Research Center
29270 County Highway G
Ashland,  WI 54806
Telephone: 715-685-2647
Email:  whsnorthwoods@whs.wisc.edu
Serves Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Vilas, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Oneida, and Forest counties


Beloit Public Library
605 Eclipse Blvd.
Beloit, WI 53511
Telephone: 608-364-2905
Email: refstaff@beloitlibrary.org
Internet: Beloit Public Library

Their collection has many books, periodicals, and family folders.[2]

Brown County Library
515 Pine St
Green Bay, WI 54301
Fax: 920-448-4376
E-mail: bc_library@co.brown.wi.us
Internet: Central Library

Includes a very large genealogy section. They have a good range of materials such as local histories, county histories, newspapers, obituaries, and family folders.[2]

Kenosha Public Library
Simmons Neighborhood Library
711 59th Place
Kenosha, WI 53140
Telephone: 262-564-6130
Internet: Kenosho Public Library

They have a good genealogy section.[2]

Milwaukee County Historical Society
910 North Third St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
Telephone: 414-273-8288
Internet: Milwaukee County Historical Society

The Milwaukee County Historical Society houses a huge manuscript collection, Civil War and church records, obituaries and biographical newspaper clippings, naturalization indexes, census records, court and probate records, and coroners' inquests, with a specialty in German immigrant families.[2]

Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Telephone: 414-286-3011
Internet: Genealogy

A very large genealogy and family history collection including family folders, research aids, biographies, indexes, obituaries, newspapers and a large collection for German immigrants in Wisconsin.[2]

Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library
415 West Main St.
Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: 608-255-2224

This center has records of many Norwegian-Americans, including U.S. and Norwegian censuses, passenger lists, church records, family records, and Norwegian bygdebøker (farm histories).[4]

Oshkosh Public Library
106 Washington Avenue
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Telephone: 920-236-5205
Internet: Local History
Internet: Genealogy Research

Their genealogy collection features books, periodicals, family folders, and indexes.[2]

Racine Heritage Museum Research Center
701 Main Street
Racine, WI 53403
Telephone: 262-636-3926
E-mail: inquire@racineheritagemuseum.org
Internet: Racine Heritage Museum

This is a very good genealogy collection.[2] Includes cemeteries, federal and territorial censuses, city directories, photos, plat and fire insurance maps, manuscript histories, diaries, letters, memoirs, marriage card file 1838-1879, military records, naturalizations 1838-1906, obituaries and newspapers.[5]

University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Library
728 State St
Madison, WI 53706
Telephone: 608-262-3193
E-mail: E-mail a Librarian form
Internet: Memorial Library

They have a very large manuscript collection. It has many historical documents.[2]

Out of State

Allen County Public Library
Allen County Public Library.jpg

900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Telephone: 260-421-1225
E-mail: genealogy@acpl.info

This is the second-largest genealogy collection in the United States[6] and the largest genealogy collection in a public library. Its holdings include more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items on microfilm and microfiche.[7] It has a premier genealogical periodical collection, local histories, genealogies, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic sources, and Canadians. They have a great Wisconsin collection.[8]

Newberry Library
Newberry Library.jpg

60 West Waltron Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Telephone: 312-255-3512
Email: reference@newberry.org.

A large Chicago repository with genealogies, local histories, censuses, military, land, indexes, vital records, court, and tax records many from Wisconsin, the Mississippi Valley, eastern seaboard, Canada, and the British Isles.[9]


A genealogical 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.


  1. Genealogy in National Archives at Chicago (accessed 27 February 2014).
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 119. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Book 973 J54d.
  3. Area Research Centers in Wisconsin Historical Society (accessed 21 October 2015).
  4. Available Research Tools in Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library (accessed 2 November 2015).
  5. Research Center in Racine Heritage Museum (accessed 20 October 2015).
  6. Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
  7. Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
  8. Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
  9. Genealogy and Local History in The Newberry (accessed 27 February 2015).


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  • This page was last modified on 9 November 2015, at 21:18.
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