The following important events in the history of Wisconsin affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.
1634 Jean Nicolet, emissary of Gov. Samuel de Champlain of New France, landed at Red Banks on the shore of Green Bay
1690–1820: Roman Catholic missionaries established the mission of St. Ignace de Michilimackinac, at Mackinac (now Michigan). The mission was the center for traders going to and from what is now Wisconsin. For records of baptisms, marriages, and burials, see the Church Records page.
1763: The British took possession of the area from the French but discouraged new settlers.
1787: Wisconsin officially became part of the U.S. Northwest Territory, but British fur traders effectively controlled the region until 1816.
1800: The present Wisconsin area was included in the Indiana Territory.
1804: Land ceded by the Sauk and Fox Indian tribes.
1806: Battle of Mole Lake, Sokaogon Ojibwe battled the Sioux over control of a local wild rice producing lake. Some 500 warriors died.
1809: The Wisconsin area was part of the Illinois Territory.
1818: The Wisconsin area was included in the Michigan Territory. The territorial governor of Michigan created the first two Wisconsin counties, Brown and Crawford.
1820s: High prices for lead attracted settlers to the mines of southern Wisconsin. The Michigan 1820 census lists residents of what is now Wisconsin.
1827: Winnebago Indians War
1829, 1832, & 1837: Land ceded by the Winnebago Indians
1830s: Heavy settlement began along the Lake Michigan shoreline at the sites of present-day Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha. The Michigan 1830 census lists of residents of what is now Wisconsin.
1831, 1836, & 1848: Land ceded by the Menominee Indians
1832: The Black Hawk War ended the last serious Indian threat to white settlements.
1836: Congress created the Wisconsin Territory, which included lands west of the Mississippi River to the Missouri River. Much of the western portion was later transferred to the Iowa Territory, created in 1838.
1837: Land ceded by the Chippewa and Sioux
1840s: Many families arrived from Germany and New York.
1848: Wisconsin, with its present boundaries, became a state.
1861– 1865: Over 90,000 men from Wisconsin served in the Union armed forces during the Civil War.
1898: Over 300,000 men were involved in the Spanish-American War which was fought mainly in Cuba and the Philippines.
1917–1918: More than 26 million men from the United States ages 18 through 45 registered with the Selective Service. World War I over 4.7 million American men and women served during the war.
1930's: The Great Depression closed many factories and mills. Many small farms were abandoned, and many families moved to cities.
1950–1953: Over 5.7 million American men and women served in the Korean War.
1950's–1960's The building of interstate highways made it easier for people to move long distances.
1964–1972: Over 8.7 million American men and women served in the Vietnam War.
Histories are great sources of genealogical information. Many contain biographical information about individuals who lived in the area, including:
Some of the most valuable sources for family history research are local histories. Published histories of towns, counties, and states usually contain accounts of families. They describe the settlement of the area and the founding of churches, schools, and businesses. You can also find lists of pioneers, soldiers, and civil officials. Even if your ancestor is not listed, information on other relatives may be included that will provide important clues for locating your ancestor. A local history may also suggest other records to search. Local histories are extensively collected by the Family History Library, public and university libraries, and state and local historical societies. The United States Research "History" page cites nationwide bibliographies of local histories which include histories of Wisconsin. American History and Genealogy Project has information on individual counties.
Wisconsin has a large number of county and regional histories, which contain much family history information. The Wisconsin State Genealogical Society has prepared every-name indexes to about fifty of the histories. The Family History Library has most of these indexes.
State Histories Useful to Genealogists
Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful. But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the laudatory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Genealogy Book Links gives many references to books available on the History of Wisconsin.
You can learn about the pre-statehood era of Wisconsin in the many published volumes of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Two good sources are the Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the Northwest, Illinois, and Michigan, and Wisconsin Territorial Papers. Indexes to the territorial papers are in:
- The Territorial Papers of the United States 
The Wisconsin territorial papers collection has a few court records for 1836–1848: Bureau of Indian Affairs records 1836–1848; appointments of postmasters 1836–1848; maps 1836–1848; records of lighthouses and customs, and many other governmental records in:
- The Territorial Papers of the United States: the Territory of Wisconsin, 1836–1848: a Microfilm Supplement. 
Much historical information is included in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Magazine of History. (See the "Periodicals" page.)
A source for early Wisconsin historical information for the 1690s to the 1860s is:
- Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin  The papers collected in this work mainly focus on the history of Wisconsin prior to statehood. For example, volume 19 has extensive information about persons engaged in the fur trade, 1778–1817.
A source with excellent bibliographies concerning the early French traders and Indian records is:
- "Voyageurs and Habitants: Tracing the Early French in the Great Lakes Region 
Especially useful sources for studying the history of Wisconsin are:
- History of Wisconsin 
United States History
The following are only a few of the many sources that are available:
- The Almanac of American History,   This provides brief historical essays and chronological descriptions of thousands of key events in United States history.
- Dictionary of American History, Revised ed   This includes historical sketches on various topics in U.S. history, such as wars, people, laws, and organizations. A snippet view is available at Google books.
- Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium    This includes a history, some maps, tables, and other historical information.
To find more books and articles about Wisconsin 's history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Wisconsin history." Family History Library Catalog Surname Search lists many more histories under topics like:
- WISCONSIN - HISTORY
- WISCONSIN, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- WISCONSIN, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
- WISCONSIN, BIBLIOGRAPHY
- Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 $ Ancestry has manifests.
- Cyndi's List for Wisconsin provides many links pertaining to the history of the State.
- Commentary on Wisconsin gives an Atlas of Wisconsin's Historical County Boundaries
- Doorway to Wisconsin is the American Local History Network (ALHN) who furnishes students, educators, and genealogical researchers with historical and genealogical information.
- Great Lakes Maritime History has a collection of history and memorabilia surrounding Marine and Ship Captains and Sailors who dedicated their lives to Great Lakes Shipping and Transport.
- Our Wisconsin Ancestors is a collection of sources hosted by USGenNet.
- State Historical Society of Wisconsin has among other things, newspapers, Wisconsin Biographical indexes, State and Federal Censuses.
- Wisconsin GenWeb Project
- Wisconsin Heritage Online
- Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
- Wisconsin Trails
- Filby, P. William. A Bibliography of American County Histories. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1985. (FHL book 973 H23bi)
- Kaminkow, Marion J. United States Local Histories in the Library of Congress. 5 vols. Baltimore: Magna Charta Book, 1975-76. (FHL book 973 A3ka.)
- The Territorial Papers of the United States. 28 vols. (Family History Library book 973 N2udt; films beginning with 1421059.) Volume 26 is at the Family History Library. Volumes 27 and 28 cover Wisconsin Territorial papers 1836–1848. The Family History Library does not have volumes 27 and 28.
- The Territorial Papers of the United States: the Territory of Wisconsin, 1836–1848: a Microfilm Supplement. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1959. (On 122 Family History Library films beginning with 1601731.)
- Draper, Lyman Copeland, ed. Collections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 21 vols. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1855–1915. (Family History Library 977.5 B2wc also digital copy; films 924580–590 .)
- Hansen, James L. "Voyageurs and Habitants: Tracing the Early French in the Great Lakes Region." National Genealogical Society Conference in the States (1995: San Diego, California). San Diego, A Place to Explore: Syllabus. 2 vols. [Arlington, Virginia] National Genealogical Society, 1996, 2:688–91. (Family History Library book 973 D25ngsc 1995.)
- Quaife, Milo Milton. Wisconsin: Its History and Its People, 1634-1924. 4 vols. Chicago, Illinois: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1924. (Family History Library book 977.5 H2q; film 1036176; fiche 6046726.)
- History of Wisconsin. Vols. 1–3, 5–6. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society, 1973–1988. (Family History Library book 977.5 H2sa.) Volume 4 is in preparation.
- William Rudolph Smith; History of Wisconsin Published 1854. Original from the University of Michigan
- Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Almanac of American History. Greenwich, Conn.: Bison Books, 1983. (FHL book 973 H2alm)
- Dictionary of American History, Revised ed., 8 vols. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1976. (FHL book 973 H2ad.)
- Webster's Guide to American History: A Chronological, Geographical, and Biographical Survey and Compendium. Springfield, Mass.: G&C Merriam, 1971. (FHL book 973 H2v)
- Limited view at Google Books
- Writings on American History By American Historical Association, Library of Congress, United States National Historical Publications Commission, Published by KTO Press, 1921 FHL book 973 H23w