The AGSL is an excellent resource for genealogists. Our collection contains modern and historic maps and gazetteers, in a large variety of languages, to help genealogy researchers.

A gazetteer is a directory of cities, communities, or places that shows their latitude and longitude. Having the latitude and longitude makes finding locations on a map much easier. Some gazetteers can offer more information, such as former names or alternate spellings.

Some popular resources available at the AGSL:

  • Historical Maps and Atlases with a worldwide scope
  • Historic Photographs with a worldwide scope
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps with a Milwaukee focus
  • Topographic maps
  • County atlases
  • Gazetteer
  • City Plans

To search for these materials online, use our home page’s Library Catalog and Digital Collections search options. For help searching, please email

What type of services does the AGSL staff provide?

We provide basic reference services, such as looking up places in gazetteers and other reference sources, but we do not undertake extensive research. We prefer that patrons set up an appointment to visit in person, but if that is not possible, we do provide reference services by e-mail.

Preparing for your AGSL Visit

Patrons should provide as much information as possible about the places you wish to have located (variant spellings, alternate names, name of administrative unit or province in which the place is located, time period in question, etc.). Relative location information can also be helpful (what larger towns or cities are near by, is the place on a river or lake, on the coast, etc.). If possible, photocopies of actual documents containing the place name, such as birth or marriage certificates or naturalization papers, should be provided.

For more information about genealogy research in the Milwaukee area, see the UWM Archives page for Genealogy resources.