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


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
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