Wisconsin Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Wisconsin that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Wisconsin repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Wisconsin archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of Wisconsin Archives

  • National Archives – Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)
  • Wisconsin Area Research Center Network – Thirteen area research centers in Wisconsin hold public records transferred by counties, towns, cities, and other local governments and collections of papers and records from private individuals and organizations. The goal of each center is to build comprehensive collections documenting the history of its region. The collections include photographs, newspapers, maps, and family histories. Many of the centers are enhanced by the contributions and volunteer hours of local genealogy groups. Newspaper indexes to vital records, cemetery readings, and original local church records can be located in some of the centers. Centers vary considerably in their collections and, therefore, in their value to genealogists. Archival collections usually located at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin or at one of the centers may be transferred temporarily within the network to accommodate local researchers. All archive and manuscript materials at the centers are cataloged centrally at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Write or call the appropriate center before visiting since hours vary by center, the calendar, staffing, and university schedules. The State Historical Society of Wisconsin serves Columbia, Dane, and Sauk counties. The other Area Research Centers and the counties they serve are:
    • Ashland (counties covered are: Ashland, Bayfield, Forest, Iron, Oneida, Price, Sawyer, and Vilas counties.)
    • Eau Claire (counties covered are: Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Eau Claire, Rusk, and Taylor)
    • Green Bay (counties covered are: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, and Shawano counties)
    • La Crosse (counties covered are: Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon)
    • Milwaukee (counties covered are: Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, Washington, and Waukesha)
    • Oshkosh (counties covered are: Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, and Winnebago)
    • Parkside (Covered are Racine and Kenosha counties)
    • Platteville (Counties covered are Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland)
    • River Falls (counties covered are Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, and Pierce counties. )
    • Stevens Point (Counties covered are Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood)
    • Stout (counties covered are Barron, Dunn, and Pepin counties.)
    • Superior (Counties covered are Douglas County.)
    • Whitewater (Counties covered are Jefferson, Rock and Walworth counties.)

List of Wisconsin Libraries & Museums

List of Wisconsin Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Wisconsin groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Wisconsin.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

Regional and State Societies

State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706-1488; Nearly one-fifth of the entire State Historical Society of Wisconsin Library collection, now more than one million items, deals with family or local history, making it one of the largest genealogical collections in the country.

It is not, however, limited to Wisconsin history. The library attempts to acquire all U.S. and Canadian historical and genealogical materials. Vital records prior to 1907 are on microfilm for the entire state (see Vital Records). Census holdings include all federal censuses for all states.

The society has all federal census indexes for Wisconsin and is acquiring some indexes for other states. There is an extensive collection of passenger lists and one of the nation’s largest newspaper collections, national in scope, but predominantly concerning Wisconsin.

Books, except for rare editions and pamphlet-size, are on open shelves.

Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, PO Box 5106, Madison, WI 53705; This society serves as the parent body for eleven local chapters.

It holds two all-day meetings each year, featuring state or national speakers. Their quarterly newsletter includes material extracted from original sources. The society also publishes numerous indexes to Wisconsin county histories .

The Wisconsin State Genealogical Society purchased the microfilm copies of the pre-1907 vital indexes and records (see Vital Records), which are held by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

County, Township and City Societies

Religious and Ethnic Societies

Wisconsin Newspapers & Publications

Wisconsin Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.


On December 11, 1833, the first issue of the first Wisconsin newspaper, the Green Bay Intelligencer, was published. It was printed on a semi-monthly bases at a cost of $2 annually. It featured 4 pages that were each 12 x 18 inches.

The Wisconsin Historical society has the largest collection of Wisconsin newspapers in the state. It includes more than 1,600 titles, which is about 75% of all of the newspapers ever printed in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Historical Society’s newspaper collection has been placed on microfilm. Those microfilms can be accessed through inter-library loan programs.

The society has also published special bibliographies of their newspaper holdings. Those records can be quite helpful when researchers are looking for information about African Americans, Native Americans, and ethnic groups in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Public Library holds original copies of the Milwaukee Sentinel. However, the Wisconsin Historical Society also has copies on microfilm. A two-part index for the years of 1837 to 1879 and 1880 to 1890 is also available.

  • Wisconsin Historical Newspapers
  • Wisconsin Newspapers Directory Listings
  • Historical Newspapers from Wisconsin (1837 – 1992) – Immediately locate names and phrases in over 450 million articles, obituaries, marriage notices, birth notices as well as other items written and published in over 2,800 historical U.S. newspapers. New content and articles added every month!
  • Wisconsin Newspaper List
  • Wisconsin Newspapers, 1833–1850: An Analytical Bibliography (Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1979) – contains information on the very earliest Wisconsin newspapers.
  • Guide to Wisconsin Newspapers, 1833– 1957 (Madison, Wis.: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1958)
  • Newspapers in the State Historical Society of Wisconsin: A Bibliography with Holdings (New York: Norman Ross Pub., 1993)
  • Index to Green Bay Newspapers, 1833–1840 (Monroe: Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, n.d.)


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable somewhere else.

  • Wisconsin Magazine of History – published in Madison by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, is a quarterly publication with historical articles, book reviews, and listings of acquisitions of historical and genealogical material. There are published indexes to this periodical.
  • Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Newsletter (originally titled Wisconsin Families from 1940–41) is available quarterly through membership or at subscribing libraries (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies for address). The periodical contains pertinent state activities, queries, and recent publications acquired by the group. The majority of material is the publication of records from Wisconsin counties, including cemetery readings, church records, vital records, newspaper extractions, and other genealogically important items.