Genealogical & Historical Research Collections

Assessment & Taxation Records 1839-1887

Scattered volumes for Bay View (village), Milwaukee (city) and Towns of Franklin, Granville, Greenfield, Lake, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, and Wauwatosa.


The library book catalog includes 19th and 20th century volumes relating to local and state history.

Business Index

Alphabetical card index by firm name. Includes published business information and pamphlet files.

Census Records

* Territorial Censuses 1836, 1840, 1842, 1846, and 1847, indexed.
* Federal Censuses of 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 are available for all Milwaukee County. Note: MCHS has an index for the index the 1850 census only. To find find names in later census, a ward number must be determined.
* Wisconsin State Census of 1905.

These records can be requested through an online form.

Church Records & Pamphlet Files

Microfilm baptisms, burials, marriages, confirmations, for the following churches- Episcopal:

* St. James (Milwaukee)
* St. John Chrysostom (Delafield); St. Luke (Racine)
* St. Peter’s (West Allis)
* St. Paul’s (Watertown, Columbus, and Ashippun)
* St. Mark’s (Beaver Dam)
* St. Edmund’s (Elm Grove)
* Our Savior’s Lutheran (Milwaukee)
* Ascension Lutheran (Milwaukee)
* St. Peter’s Lutheran (River Hills)
* West Granville Presbyterian
* St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (Milwaukee)

No indexes are available. Individual church files include anniversary publications and church histories indexed by denomination and church name. Records of the Milwaukee Episcopal Archdiocese are available.

City Directories

1847-1990, 1992-1993, 1996-1997, 2002
Helpful in determining when a person or business was in the City of Milwaukee, addresses and occupations for heads of households. Business subject listings. Reverse directories begin in 1921; these indicate who or what occupied a particular street address in a given year.

Civil Court Records

Bound alphebetical name indexes and microfiche by court and years until 1963. Court cases ater 1963 must have the court case case number obtained from the courthouse. Civil court cases and divorce records only, no criminal reords. After 1932, the cases are not on-site and it may take several weeks to pull them.

Civil War Roster of Wisconsin Veterans

* Alphabetical lists by name, rank, company, regiment, residence at enlistment, date of enlistment, cause and discharge from service.
* Indexed and quote; Personal War Sketches and quote; of E. B. Wolcott Post #1, Robert Chivas Post #2, and Rank and File Post #240.
* Soldier’s Relief Commission pension forms indexed by veteran or survivors. State censuses of veterans alphabetically arranged for 1885, 1895, and 1905.

Coroner’s Inquests

1873-1935; 1960-1969
Full alphabetical name index available. Files contain death certificates and inquest testimony.

Jail Registers Sheriff’s Department

* 1855-1869
* 1881 [name index only]
* 1889-1926
* 1929-1960
* 1964
* No name index: includes name, offense, and court, some disposition and release dates.
* Additional women’s registers 1836-1969.

Manuscript Collections

Card index and detailed finding aids to unpublished, primary material relating to individuals, businesses, organizations, institutions, and government. Also file of unpublished monographs and theses. Some Finding Aids are available to view here.


A wide selection of city, county, suburban, and state maps. Helpful for locations and old street names. Fully indexed.

* Milwaukee County plat maps (excludes City of Milwaukee) for 1858, 1876, 1893, 1916, 1926, 1954, and 1961, which show owner’s name and may include acreage.
* Local and state atlases. The 1898 Baist’s Atlas and 1910 Sanborn fire insurance set show individual structures on enlarged street sections. Incomplete set of Sanborn fire sets for 1927, 1929, 1930, and 1937 are available.

National Defense Program

Post World War II era registration cards for Milwaukee County employees only, name index. 13,150 fingerprint cards include name, date and place of birth, address, physical description, job applied for, citizenship status, and photograph.

Naturalization Papers 1836 – May 25, 1941

Final Petitions for Naturalization and Declarations of Intent. Alphabetical card index for naturalizations, bound indexes for intents. Papers after November 1906 are more detailed than those before that date. Women did not fill out naturalization papers until 1922 when they were granted the right to vote. Prior to 1922, a woman was naturalized through the action of her father or husband.

These records can be requested through an on-line form.

Obituaries & Biographies

* Six volumes of Old Settler’s Club obituaries and memorials, indexed.

Ordination Papers 1836-1934

Name index includes date and denomination. Papers include Catholic, Protestant, and other denominational certificates of credentials as ordained clergy.

Photographic Collections

The Milwaukee County Historical Society has over a million photographs in its collections. Photographs are all housed on-site and are readily available for patrons. The collections are searchable amongst a variety of categories, including subject, photographer, family, and street.

Published Histories

Rich sources of biographical and local history information, all indexed:

* Aderman, Ralph M., ed From Trading Post to Metropolis: Milwaukee County’s First 150 Years (1987)
* Anderson, Harry H. and Frederick I. Olson, Milwaukee: At the Gathering of the Waters (1981)
* Bruce, William George, History of Milwaukee City and Milwaukee County 3 vols (1922)
* Buck, James, Pioneer History of Milwaukee, 4 vols
* Conrad, Howard Louis, History of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County 3 vols (1895) 1881History of Milwaukee [Frank Flower]
* Gregory, John G., History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin 4 vols (1931)
* Gurda, John, The Making of Milwaukee (1999)
* Koss, Rudolph, Milwaukee (1871)
* Still, Bayrd, Milwaukee The Story of a City (1948)
* Watrous, Jermone A., Lt. Col., Memoirs of Milwaukee County (1909)