Wisconsin Archives and Libraries
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Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in Wisconsin
National Archives at Chicago · Wisconsin Historical Society · Wisconsin State Old Cemetery Society · Area Research Centers: 1. Wisconsin Historical Society, 2. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 3. University of Wisconsin-Platteville, 4. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 5. University of Wisconsin-Parkside, 6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 7. University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 8. University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 9. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 10. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 11. University of Wisconsin-Stout, 12. University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 13. Superior Public Library, 14. Northern Great Lake Center · Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library · Allen County Public Library · Newberry Library
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.
816 State Street
- 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.
- 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.
- Recollection Wisconsin. Historical resourced across the state.
- 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 Genealogy Index - a statewide index of pre-1907 birth, marriage, and death records, 150,000 obituaries and biographical sketches
- Historical image collection - thousands of images from the 19th and 20th centuries
- Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 - alphabetical and regimental lists of soldiers who served in Wisconsin units during the Civil War
- Civil War veterans' censuses - 1885, 1895, 1905
- Local history and biography articles - 16, 000 searchable newspaper articles
- County histories - 80 digitized, searchable county histories
- Wisconsin Magazine of History - digitized, from 1917 to the present
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705-0106
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.
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.
(See also "Statewide" above.)
1. Archive Reference
816 State Street
Madison, WI 53706-1488
- Serves Sauk, Columbia, and Dane counties
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
2. Eugene W. Murphy Library
1631 West Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
- Serves Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempeleau, and Vernon counties
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
3. The SW Wisconsin Room
Ullsvik Hall, 1 University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818
- Serves Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland counties
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
4. Harold W. Anderson Library
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190
- Serves Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
5. Wyllie Library/Learning Center
900 Wood Road
Kenosha, WI 53141-2000
- Serves Kenosha and Racine counties
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
6. Archives Department
PO Box 604
2311 East Hartford Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201
- Serves Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. They have a great historical collection especially for German immigrants to Wisconsin.
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
7. Forrest R. Polk Library
800 Algoma Boulevard
Oshkosh, WI 54901
- Serves Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Winnebago counties
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
8. Cofrin Library
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
Univ of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
9. Area Research Center
900 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
- Serves Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood counties
Univ of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
10. 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. They have a large manuscript collection with many historical references.
University of Wisconsin-Stout
11. Swanson Learning Center - University Archives and Area Research Center
315 Tenth Ave.
Menomonie, WI 54751
- Serves Barron, Dunn, and Pepin counties
Univ of Wisconsin-River Falls
12. 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
Superior Public Library
- This is another very good genealogy collection. Serves Douglas County.
Northern Great Lake Center
14. Area Research Center
29270 County Highway G
Ashland, WI 54806
- Serves Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Vilas, Washburn, Sawyer, Price, Oneida, and Forest counties
Beloit Public Library
- Their collection has many books, periodicals, and family folders.
Brown County 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.
Kenosha Public Library
Simmons Neighborhood Library
711 59th Place
Kenosha, WI 53140
Internet: Kenosho Public Library
- They have a good genealogy section.
Milwaukee County Historical Society
910 North Third St.
Milwaukee, WI 53203
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.
Milwaukee Public Library
814 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53233
- 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.
Norwegian Amer Gen Ctr & Naeseth Libr
Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library
415 West Main St.
Madison, WI 53703
- 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).
Oshkosh Public Library
- Their genealogy collection features books, periodicals, family folders, and indexes.
Racine Heritage Museum Research Ctr
- This is a very good genealogy collection. 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.
Univ of Wisconsin-Madison Mem Library
- They have a very large manuscript collection. It has many historical documents.
Out of Wisconsin Repositories
900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
- This is the second-largest genealogy collection in the United States 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. 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.
60 West Waltron Street
Chicago, IL 60610
- 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.
A genealogical guide to Wisconsin archives and libraries is:
- Genealogy in National Archives at Chicago (accessed 27 February 2014).
- William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 119. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Book 973 J54d.
- Area Research Centers in Wisconsin Historical Society (accessed 21 October 2015).
- Available Research Tools in Norwegian American Genealogical Center and Naeseth Library (accessed 2 November 2015).
- Research Center in Racine Heritage Museum (accessed 20 October 2015).
- Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
- Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
- Genealogy and Local History in The Newberry (accessed 27 February 2015).