The Wisconsin Historical Society hosts the Wisconsin State Archives and has free birth, marriage, and death indexes (records for a fee), maps, military information, oral histories and more.
Wisconsin Birth, Marriage, & Death Records
- Pre-1907 Vital Records Index Collection – the index is free to search, records require payment, one million birth records and 27,000 delayed birth records
- Pre-1907 Vital Records Index Collection – the index is free to search, records require payment, one million marriage records
- Obituary Search Request Service – fee is $15 per request (10% discount for members)
- Pre-1907 Vital Records Index Collection – the index is free to search, records require payment, 400,000 death records
- Maps and Atlases – More than 25,000 maps and atlases. Many focus on Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and North America. Most predate 1900.
Wisconsin Daily Life Records
- Wisconsin Corporation Indexes – Search for incorporation papers and charter documents for thousands of domestic and non-stock Wisconsin corporations, 1889-2001.
- Menu Collection – The Wisconsin Historical Society’s ephemera holdings include a wide range of menus (mid-1800s to the present day) from restaurants and hotels; schools; specialized organizations and societies; private homes; and menus for special occasions such as commemorative and farewell dinners; trade conferences; political events; and meals offered during transit, such as passenger ships and trains.
- Local and County Histories – Detailed accounts of individual cities, townships, villages, prominent residents from 1850-1920.
- 1964 Freedom Summer Project – Browse or search over 30,000 original documents from Freedom Summer, an effort by civil rights activists to integrate Mississippi’s segregated political system
- American Journeys – digital library and learning center containing eyewitness accounts of early American exploration and settlement.
- Eugene Walter Leach Collection – This digital collection contains the papers of Walter Eugene Leach (1857-1983), a Racine, Wisconsin, historian and curator of the Racine County Museum.
- Henry and Elizabeth Baird Collection – The papers of Elizabeth and Henry Baird from 1798 to 1937, prominent 19th-century Wisconsin settlers.
- Increase A. Lapham Papers – Lapham (1811-1875) was a biologist, archaeologist, engineer, and map-maker who helped found several major state institutions and the National Weather Service.
- Lizzie Black Kander Papers – View the papers of Kander (1858-1940), sometimes called “The Jane Addams of Milwaukee,” including reports, correspondence, brochures, clippings, minutes of meetings, photographs and materials related to “The Settlement Cookbook”.
- Turning Points in Wisconsin History – Articles, images, books, manuscripts, and other eyewitness accounts of key historical events of Wisconsin’s history. Includes essays, lesson plans and reference tools for teachers.
- Vel Phillips Papers – The Vel Phillips papers, 1951-2009, document the life and career of Milwaukee’s Vel Phillips, whose work as a lawyer, city alder, civil rights leader, judge, and Secretary of State profoundly influenced Wisconsin’s civil rights history throughout the latter half of the 20th century.
- Visual Materials in Our Collections (includes formerly named Wisconsin Historical Images) – Browse or search over 100,000 digitized photos, drawings, paintings, topical galleries and other materials. Learn how you can access over 3 million images in our physical collections.
- Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Collection (AHI) – Provides details on more than 133,000 historic buildings, structures and objects that reflect Wisconsin’s distinct cultural landscape. Each property has a digital record providing basic information about the property. Most include exterior images.
- Wisconsin Decorative Arts Database – Contains examples of furniture, ceramics, textiles, and other 19th and early 20th century material culture artifacts from museum and historic site collections across Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin Historical Collections 1855- 1915 – Thousands of pioneer memoirs, archival records, original journals, explorers’ narratives, interviews, and other eyewitness accounts of Wisconsin’s past.
- Wisconsin Historical Society Electronic Records Portal – View Wisconsin state electronic records online.
- Wisconsin Historical Society Web Archives – Online archive of selected websites of state agencies, local governments, political campaigns for gubernatorial or U.S. Senate races, topical issues and online publications.
- Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles – 16,000 historical and biographical articles that were published between 1860 and 1940 from hundreds of Wisconsin local newspapers.
- Wisconsin Magazine of History Archives – More than 2,000 feature articles and essays exactly as they originally appeared in the Wisconsin Magazine of History.
- Wisconsin Thematic Panels Collection – Paul Vanderbilt’s 96 thematic panels, containing 799 individual photographs, represent the culmination of a half-century of thinking about how pictures work.
- Wisconsin Sound Archive – Listen to stories and sounds of Wisconsin’s past, including oral histories, radio programs, advertising, political speeches, and more.
- Wisconsin Women’s History – The Wisconsin Women’s History digital collection shares a selection of manuscripts and ephemera documenting the lives of women in Wisconsin.
- McCormick – International Harvester Collection – Original documents and publications about the history of Cyrus Hall McCormick and the International Harvester Company.
Libraries, Museums, & Archives
- Museum Collections – The Wisconsin Historical Museum contains over 110,000 historical objects and nearly 400,000 archaeological artifacts documenting the history of Wisconsin from prehistoric times to the present. Browse selected subjects from the Wisconsin Historical Museum collections.
- National Register and State Register of Historic Places – Both registers include buildings, sites, districts, structures, and objects that are designated as significant in national, state or local history. More than 2,300 listings are searchable on our website. Each listing has a digital record providing basic information about the property.
Names & Surnames
- Wisconsin Name Index – Browse more than 150,000 records, including biographical sketches, obituaries, and newspaper articles published before 2000. Use filters on the left side of page to refine your search.
- Newspaper or Periodical Article Search Request Service
- Guide to Wisconsin Newspapers 1833-2004 — a list of all Wisconsin Newspapers and their run dates
- Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust – Hear the stories of 22 Holocaust Survivors and two American witnesses interviewed between 1974 and 1981.
- Senator William Proxmire Collection – Explore more than 7,500 pages of articles, press releases, and photos, plus 40 oral history interviews.
- Somos Latinas Project Oral Histories – View and listen to interviews of 37 Wisconsin Latinas from the Somos Latinas (We Women) History Project (2012-2016).
- Shipwreck Database – Search for shipwrecks by name, type, trail, county, year sank and nearest city.
Wisconsin Military Records
- Purchasing copies of Civil War Regimental Muster and Descriptive Rolls
- Wisconsin in the Civil War (censuses and roster)
- GI Press Collection – This collections contains page images and searchable text of 2,400 periodicals and other items such as pamphlets and posters created by or for U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War era.
- Wisconsin in the Civil War – Over 25,000 pages of original documents including soldiers’ letters, diaries, and memoirs; regimental histories and rosters; photographs, maps, biographies and battle summaries.
- Free research consultations available (by phone or in person). Email email@example.com to schedule one.