Wisconsin County Resources

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This entry was originally written by Dawn M. Knauft and Carol L. Maki in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Wisconsin Family History Research series.
History of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Vital Records
Census Records for Wisconsin
Background Sources for Wisconsin
Wisconsin Maps
Wisconsin Land Records
Wisconsin Probate Records
Wisconsin Court Records
Wisconsin Tax Records
Wisconsin Cemetery Records
Wisconsin Church Records
Wisconsin Military Records
Wisconsin Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Wisconsin Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Wisconsin Naturalization
African Americans of Wisconsin
Wisconsin County Resources
Map of Wisconsin
County Map of Wisconsin

When mailing requests to any Wisconsin county office, use the name of the county and “County Courthouse,” with the address listed below. Records at the county level are the responsibility of the following offices: birth, marriage, death, and land—register of deeds; court—clerk of courts; probate—county probate court.

Setting up a county with a fully functional government was usually done in three stages: “establishment,” legally defining a specific area as a county; “organization for county purposes,” which involved setting up a governing body or board, land registry office, and fiscal structure; and “organization for judicial purposes,” which involved setting up a county court and law enforcement. In some counties the three stages were accomplished more or less simultaneously. In others they were done separately over many years. When a county was established, but not fully organized, it was typically “attached” to another county that was often, but not always, a parent county. Since these levels of organization and questions of attachment affect the creation and location of records, they can be quite important to the researcher.

For example, when Ashland County was attached for judicial purposes to Bayfield County in 1866, the courthouse in Ashland County did not close. The county board still met, land transactions and marriages were still recorded by the register of deeds, and taxes were still collected in and for Ashland County. Only the courts and law enforcement were affected, and for those records between 1866 and 1873, the researcher would have to check in Bayfield County.

The year given in the county charts for “Date Formed” is the year that passage of the law created the county. With that date is the name of the parent county or counties. Additional lines identify the purposes (c-county purposes; j-judicial purposes), the county or counties to which it was attached, and the dates of that attachment.

The date listed for each category of record is usually the earliest registration filed. The earliest date does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and does not mean that all such events were actually registered. It has been estimated that less than 50 percent of the vital records, for example, were prepared and submitted for permanent filing prior to 1907. Land deeds, probate, and court records generally begin in Wisconsin with the organization of the county. Prior to that date, check the “Parent County.” Some counties formed from other counties transcribed their portion of property deeds to be kept with the new county deed records.

Information on county formation and earliest record dates was provided by James L. Hansen, Reference Librarian, Wisconsin Historical Society. Addresses were obtained from the Wisconsin Counties Association website at www.wicounties.org or the relevant county’s website.

Map County County Address Date Formed- Parent County(ies) Jurisdictional Purposes Birth Marriage Death Land Probate Court
G5 Adams 402 Main/P.O. Box 278, Friendship 53934 1848 Portage (c/j-Sauk, 1848–53)185718541876185318551854
C4 Ashland 201 W. Main St., Ashland 54806 1860 La Pointe (j-Bayfield, 1866–73)187618711877185618781873
Bad Axe 1851 Crawford (renamed Vernon, 1862)
D2 Barron 330 E. LaSalle Ave., Barron 54812 1859 (as Dallas) Polk (c/j-Polk, 1859–60; Dunn, 1860–68;j-Dunn, 1868–74) renamed Barron, 1869187718681877187018801874
B3 Bayfield 117 E. Fifth St., Washburn 54891 1845 (as La Pointe) St. Croix(j-Crawford, 1845; St. Croix, 1849–50) renamed Bayfield, 1866187918691870185018571859
F7 Brown 305 E. Walnut St., Green Bay 54305 1818 unorganized territory 181418231834182018241823
F2 Buffalo407 S. Second St., Alma 54610 1853 Jackson185518561873185418541853
C1 Burnett7410 County Road K, Siren 54872 1856 Polk(j-Polk, 1856–59; c/j-Polk, 1859–64; j-Polk, 1866–71)1853?1869?1846?186618681870
G7 Calumet206 Court St., Chilton 53014 1836 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1836–42; j-Brown, 1842–44 Fond du Lac, 1844–50)185818501856184018501850
E3 Chippewa711 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls 54729 1845 Crawford(c/j-Crawford, 1845–51; La Crosse, 1851–53)185818541855185418561856
F4 Clark517 Court St., Neillsville 54456 1853 Jackson(c/j-Jackson, 1853; j-Jackson, 1854–56)186918571877185518701857
H5 Columbia400 DeWitt St./P.O. Box 177, Portage 53901 1846 Portage186018491877182618471851
J3 Crawford220 North Beaumont Rd., Prairie du Chien 53821 1818 unorganized territory185818161876182018191824
Dallas 1859 Polk (renamed Barron, 1869)
J5 Dane210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison 53703 1836 Crawford/Iowa/Milwaukee(c/j-Iowa, 1836–39)186018391876183518471841
H6 Dodge127 E. Oak St., Juneau 53039 1836 Brown/Milwaukee(c/j-Milwaukee, 1836–40)187018431852187718441844
E8 Door421 Nebraska St./P.O. Box 670, Sturgeon Bay 54235 1851 Brown(j-Manitowoc, 1851–55;Brown, 1855–60)185218561856185718611861
B2 Douglas1313 Belknap St., Superior 544801854 La Pointe186118541877185418561855
E2 Dunn800 Wilson Ave., Menomonie 547511854 Chippewa(j-Chippewa, 1854–56)186118581869187718581859
F3 Eau Claire721 Oxford Ave., Eau Claire 547031856 Chippewa187018571876185618581854
C7 Florence501 Lake Ave., Florence 541211882 Marinette/Oconto188218821882188218821882
H7 Fond du Lac160 S. Macy St., Fond du Lac 549351836 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1836–39;j-Brown, 1839–44)185218441854183618391844
D6 Forest200 E. Madison St., Crandon 545201885 Langlade189118861871186518871885
Gates 1901 Chippewa (renamed Rusk, 1905)
J3 Grant111 S. Jefferson St., Lancaster 538131836 Iowa187018421876183718361836
K5 Green1016 Sixteenth Ave., Monroe 535661836 Iowa(c/j-Iowa, 1836–38)186218381874183618501838
H6 Green Lake492 Hill St., Green Lake 549411858 Marquette186418581877184318531858
J4 Iowa222 N. Iowa St., Dodgeville 535331829 Crawford187618361871183218371834
B4 Iron300 Taconite St., Hurley 545341893 Ashland188618931887188618931893
G3 Jackson307 Main St., Black River Falls 546151853 La Crosse186118531872185418691854
J6 Jefferson320 S. Main St., Jefferson 535491836 Milwaukee(c/j-Milwaukee, 1836–39)185218441856 183818461842
G4 Juneau220 E. State St., Mauston 539481856 Adams187718571876185718601857
K7 Kenosha1010 56th St., Kenosha 531401850 Racine187618501876183818501852
F8 Kewaunee613 Dodge St., Kewaunee 542161852 Door(j-Manitowoc, 1852–55;Brown, 1855–58)186118591872185618591858
G3 La Crosse400 Fourth St. North, La Crosse 546011851 Crawford186618511876185118511850
K4 Lafayette626 Main St./P.O. Box 40, Darlington 535301846 Iowa(c/j-Iowa, 1846–47)185418471877183618471847
E6 Langlade800 Clermont St., Antigo 544091879 (as New) Oconto(c/j-Shawano, 1879–81) renamed Langlade, 1881188218811882185818811881
La Pointe 1845 St. Croix (renamed Bayfield, 1866)
E5 Lincoln1110 E. Main St., Merrill 544521874 Marathon(j-Marathon, 1874–75)187518751871186718831885
G7 Manitowoc1010 S. Eighth St., Manitowoc 542201836 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1836–38;j-Brown, 1839–48)185818491864183518501848
E5 Marathon500 Forest St., Wausau 544031850 Portage187018611868184118511849
D7 Marinette1926 Hall Ave., Marinette 541431879 Oconto187418781868187918791849
H5 Marquette77 W. Park St., Montello 539491836 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1836–44;j-Fond du Lac, 1844–48)186418481876183618601849
E6 MenomineeP.O. Box 279, Keshena 541351961 Oconto/Shawano(c/j- Shawano)19611961196119611961*1961
*In Shawano County, except for Native Americans.
K7 Milwaukee901 N. Ninth St., Milwaukee 532331834 Brown(j-Brown, 1834–35)183518361872183618381837
G3 Monroe202 South K St., Sparta 546561854 La Crosse185418541867185118551854
New 1879 Oconto (renamed Langlade, 1881)
E7 Oconto301 Washington St., Oconto 541531851 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1851–52;j-Brown, 1852–54, 1855–57)187618591872183818571857
D5 Oneida1 Courthouse Sq., Rhinelander 545011885 Lincoln(c/j-Lincoln, 1885–86)188718871888188718871887
F7 Outagamie410 S. Walnut St., Appleton 549111851 Brown/Winnebago(j-Brown, 1851–52)185618521869185118531852
H7 Ozaukee121 W. Main St., Port Washington 530741853 Washington185218551849183518491853
F2 Pepin740 Seventh Ave. W., P.O. Box 39, Durand 547361858 Dunn186318581857185518561858
F1 Pierce414 W. Main St., Ellsworth 540111853 St. Croix187018511876185518751854
D1 Polk100 Polk County Plaza, Balsam Lake 548101853 St. Croix186718551865185318551859
F5 Portage1516 Church St., Stevens Point 544811836 Brown/Crawford/Iowa/Milwaukee (c/j-Brown, 1836–41; j-Dane, 1841–44)186618481876184118371844
D4 Price126 Cherry St., Phillips 545551879 Chippewa/Lincoln (j-Taylor, 1879–82)188018801879188218811892?
K7 Racine730 Wisconsin Ave., Racine 534031836 Milwaukee187718391880183718491837
H4 Richland181 W. Seminary St., Richland Center 535811842 Crawford/Sauk(c/j-Iowa, 1842–50)18751850187618501839?1861
K6 Rock51 S. Main St., Janesville 535451836 Milwaukee(c/j-Racine, 1836–39)185618401860183918501840
D3 Rusk311 E. Miner Ave., Ladysmith 548481901 (as Gates) Chippeware named Rusk, 1905190019011901187219011901
E1 St. Croix1101 Carmichael Rd., Hudson 540161840 Crawford(j-Crawford, 1843–49)185818521876184918491850
Some records. 1840—49 at Washington County Historical Society, Stillwater, Minnesota.
H4 Sauk505 Broadway, Baraboo 539131840 Crawford/Dane/Portage(c/j-Dane, 1840–44)186418441876184418471844
C3 Sawyer10610 Main St., P.O. Box 836, Hayward 548431883 Ashland/Chippewa(j-Ashland, 1883–85)18691883188318831900?1883
F6 Shawano311 N. Main St., Shawano 541661853 Oconto/Waupaca/Winnebago(j-Outagamie, 1853–59)185418481860185418611861
H7 Sheboygan508 New York Ave., Sheboygan 530811836 Brown(c/j-Brown, 1836–39;j-Brown, 1839–46)184818521854183518601851
E4 Taylor224 S. Second St., Medford 544511875 Chippewa/Clark/Lincoln/Marathon187718751877187518761875
G2 Trempealeau36245 Main St., Whitehall 547731854 Buffalo/Chippewa/Jackson/La Crosse(j-La Crosse, 1854)184518561847185518551855
H3 VernonCourthouse Annex, 400 W. Decker, Viroqua 546651851 (as Bad Axe) Crawford renamed Vernon, 1862186318551878185118501853
C5 Vilas330 Court St., Eagle River 545211893 Oneida1889189318891893?1900?1900?
K7 Walworth100 W. Walworth, Elkhorn 531211836 Milwaukee(c/j-Racine, 1836–38)187218391872183918391840
C2 Washburn10 Fourth Ave., Shell Lake 548711883 Burnett188318831883188318831878
J7 Washington432 E. Washington St., West Bend 530951836 Brown/Milwaukee(c/j-Milwaukee, 1836–40;j-Milwaukee, 1840–45)185918461873183518451855
J7 Waukesha1320 Pewaukee Rd., Waukesha 531881846 Milwaukee186018461872184118471847
F6 Waupaca811 Harding St., Waupaca 549811851 Brown/Winnebago(j-Winnebago, 1851–53)185818521848185118601853
G5 Waushara209 S. Saint Marie St., Wautoma 549821851 Marquette(j-Marquette, 1851–52)185918521876185218541868
G6 Winnebago415 Jackson St., Oshkosh 549011840 Brown/Calumet/Fond du Lac/Marquette(c/j-Brown, 1840–42;j-Brown, 1842–44; Fond du Lac, 1844–47)187618481863183718381848
F4 Wood400 Market St./P.O. Box 8095, Wisconsin Rapids 544951856 Portage187118671872183618581872?
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