Wisconsin Archives and Libraries

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

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

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

National Repositories

National Archives at Chicago

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 in Madison

Statewide Repositories

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.
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 State Genealogical Society

P.O. Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705-0106
E-mail: wsgs@wsgs.org
Internet: http://www.wsgs.org/

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

Wisconsin Historical Society

(See also "Statewide" above.)
1. 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

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

2. Eugene W. Murphy Library
1631 West Pine Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
Telephone: 608-785-8511
Internet: https://www.uwlax.edu/murphylibrary/

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
Telephone: 608-342-1719
Internet: http://www.uwplatt.edu/library/swwis/

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
Telephone: 262-472-5520
Internet:  http://library.uww.edu/

Serves Jefferson, Rock, and Walworth counties

University of Wisconsin-Parkside

5. 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

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

6. Archives Department
UWM Libraries
PO Box 604
2311 East Hartford Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Telephone: 414-229-6980
Internet: http://uwm.edu/libraries/

Serves Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties. They have a great historical collection especially for German immigrants to Wisconsin.[2]

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

7. 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

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
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

Univ of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

9. 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

Univ of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

10. 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]

University of Wisconsin-Stout

11. 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

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
Telephone: 715-425-3567
Internet: http://www.uwrf.edu/library/arc

Serves Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties

Superior Public Library

13. 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.

Northern Great Lake Center

14. 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

Regional Repositories

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 Gen Center in Madison

Norwegian Amer Gen Ctr & Naeseth Libr

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 Ctr

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]

Univ of Wisconsin-Madison Mem Library

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]
Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne, IN

Out of Wisconsin Repositories

Allen County Public Library

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 in Chicago

Newberry Library

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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