Where to Start
Many of the following records are available through the Wisconsin Historical Society’s collections. Not only do they provide extensive genealogy guides, but individuals can search 3,000,000 records, including birth, death and marriage record indexes; newspaper clippings; photographs and other visual materials; and property records from the National Register and State Register of Historic Places and the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory (AHI) databases.
The Wisconsin Historical Society has federal, state, and territorial censuses dating from 1790. The Milwaukee Public Library has federal censuses of Wisconsin and some other states. Wisconsin state censuses from 1855 to 1905 can also be accessed online for free at FamilySearch. With FamilySearch, you may be prompted to sign in before you are able to view the available records. If you do not have a FamilySearch account, you can register for free.
Civil War Military Records
Local and County Histories
The Wisconsin Historical Society holds histories for nearly all 72 Wisconsin counties. Most are several hundred pages long and include detailed accounts of individual cities, townships and villages, as well as biographical stories of prominent residents.
For worldwide maps, as well as Sanborn maps and some plat maps, visit the American Geographical Society Library in the UWM Libraries (third floor, east wing). The Milwaukee County Historical Society, the Milwaukee Public Library, and the Wisconsin Historical Society also have Sanborn maps and a variety of local and state plat maps.
Milwaukee City Directories
City directories are available in the general stacks of the Golda Meir Library (call number: F589 .M6 A18), as well as at the Milwaukee County Historical Society, the Milwaukee Public Library, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Archives, and the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Naturalization records for Milwaukee County are at the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Federal naturalization records covering the State of Wisconsin are available at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration facility in Chicago.
Some naturalization records for Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Washington, and Waukesha Counties are also available online through FamilySearch. With FamilySearch, you may be prompted to sign in before you are able to view the available records. If you do not have a FamilySearch account, you can register for free.
The Wisconsin Historical Society Library has passenger lists for the major east coast and gulf ports for most of the 19th century.
Selected passenger and crew lists, including Wisconsin ports, are available at FamilySearch. With FamilySearch, you may be prompted to sign in before you are able to view the available records. If you do not have a FamilySearch account, you can register for free.
Post-1907 Vital Records
Contact the county registers of deeds or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The Wisconsin Historical Society’s Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory (AHI) is a digital source of information on more than 133,000 historic buildings, structures and objects throughout Wisconsin. It provides basic property information and often includes an exterior image.
Contact the State of Wisconsin Education Approval Board for the location of transcripts for defunct colleges.