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
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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) 1857 1854 1876 1853 1855 1854
C4 Ashland 201 W. Main St., Ashland 54806 1860 La Pointe (j-Bayfield, 1866–73) 1876 1871 1877 1856 1878 1873
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, 1869 1877 1868 1877 1870 1880 1874
B3 Bayfield 117 E. Fifth St., Washburn 54891 1845 (as La Pointe) St. Croix (j-Crawford, 1845; St. Croix, 1849–50) renamed Bayfield, 1866 1879 1869 1870 1850 1857 1859
F7 Brown 305 E. Walnut St., Green Bay 54305 1818 unorganized territory 1814 1823 1834 1820 1824 1823
F2 Buffalo 407 S. Second St., Alma 54610 1853 Jackson 1855 1856 1873 1854 1854 1853
C1 Burnett 7410 County Road K, Siren 54872 1856 Polk (j-Polk, 1856–59; c/j-Polk, 1859–64; j-Polk, 1866–71) 1853? 1869? 1846? 1866 1868 1870
G7 Calumet 206 Court St., Chilton 53014 1836 Brown (c/j-Brown, 1836–42; j-Brown, 1842–44 Fond du Lac, 1844–50) 1858 1850 1856 1840 1850 1850
E3 Chippewa 711 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls 54729 1845 Crawford (c/j-Crawford, 1845–51; La Crosse, 1851–53) 1858 1854 1855 1854 1856 1856
F4 Clark 517 Court St., Neillsville 54456 1853 Jackson (c/j-Jackson, 1853; j-Jackson, 1854–56) 1869 1857 1877 1855 1870 1857
H5 Columbia 400 DeWitt St./P.O. Box 177, Portage 53901 1846 Portage 1860 1849 1877 1826 1847 1851
J3 Crawford 220 North Beaumont Rd., Prairie du Chien 53821 1818 unorganized territory 1858 1816 1876 1820 1819 1824
Dallas 1859 Polk (renamed Barron, 1869)
J5 Dane 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Madison 53703 1836 Crawford/Iowa/Milwaukee (c/j-Iowa, 1836–39) 1860 1839 1876 1835 1847 1841
H6 Dodge 127 E. Oak St., Juneau 53039 1836 Brown/Milwaukee (c/j-Milwaukee, 1836–40) 1870 1843 1852 1877 1844 1844
E8 Door 421 Nebraska St./P.O. Box 670, Sturgeon Bay 54235 1851 Brown (j-Manitowoc, 1851–55;Brown, 1855–60) 1852 1856 1856 1857 1861 1861
B2 Douglas 1313 Belknap St., Superior 54480 1854 La Pointe 1861 1854 1877 1854 1856 1855
E2 Dunn 800 Wilson Ave., Menomonie 54751 1854 Chippewa (j-Chippewa, 1854–56) 1861 1858 1869 1877 1858 1859
F3 Eau Claire 721 Oxford Ave., Eau Claire 54703 1856 Chippewa 1870 1857 1876 1856 1858 1854
C7 Florence 501 Lake Ave., Florence 54121 1882 Marinette/Oconto 1882 1882 1882 1882 1882 1882
H7 Fond du Lac 160 S. Macy St., Fond du Lac 54935 1836 Brown (c/j-Brown, 1836–39;j-Brown, 1839–44) 1852 1844 1854 1836 1839 1844
D6 Forest 200 E. Madison St., Crandon 54520 1885 Langlade 1891 1886 1871 1865 1887 1885
Gates 1901 Chippewa (renamed Rusk, 1905)
J3 Grant 111 S. Jefferson St., Lancaster 53813 1836 Iowa 1870 1842 1876 1837 1836 1836
K5 Green 1016 Sixteenth Ave., Monroe 53566 1836 Iowa (c/j-Iowa, 1836–38) 1862 1838 1874 1836 1850 1838
H6 Green Lake 492 Hill St., Green Lake 54941 1858 Marquette 1864 1858 1877 1843 1853 1858
J4 Iowa 222 N. Iowa St., Dodgeville 53533 1829 Crawford 1876 1836 1871 1832 1837 1834
B4 Iron 300 Taconite St., Hurley 54534 1893 Ashland 1886 1893 1887 1886 1893 1893
G3 Jackson 307 Main St., Black River Falls 54615 1853 La Crosse 1861 1853 1872 1854 1869 1854
J6 Jefferson 320 S. Main St., Jefferson 53549 1836 Milwaukee (c/j-Milwaukee, 1836–39) 1852 1844 1856 1838 1846 1842
G4 Juneau 220 E. State St., Mauston 53948 1856 Adams 1877 1857 1876 1857 1860 1857
K7 Kenosha 1010 56th St., Kenosha 53140 1850 Racine 1876 1850 1876 1838 1850 1852
F8 Kewaunee 613 Dodge St., Kewaunee 54216 1852 Door (j-Manitowoc, 1852–55;Brown, 1855–58) 1861 1859 1872 1856 1859 1858
G3 La Crosse 400 Fourth St. North, La Crosse 54601 1851 Crawford 1866 1851 1876 1851 1851 1850
K4 Lafayette 626 Main St./P.O. Box 40, Darlington 53530 1846 Iowa (c/j-Iowa, 1846–47) 1854 1847 1877 1836 1847 1847
E6 Langlade 800 Clermont St., Antigo 54409 1879 (as New) Oconto (c/j-Shawano, 1879–81) renamed Langlade, 1881 1882 1881 1882 1858 1881 1881
La Pointe 1845 St. Croix (renamed Bayfield, 1866)
E5 Lincoln 1110 E. Main St., Merrill 54452 1874 Marathon (j-Marathon, 1874–75) 1875 1875 1871 1867 1883 1885
G7 Manitowoc 1010 S. Eighth St., Manitowoc 54220 1836 Brown (c/j-Brown, 1836–38;j-Brown, 1839–48) 1858 1849 1864 1835 1850 1848
E5 Marathon 500 Forest St., Wausau 54403 1850 Portage 1870 1861 1868 1841 1851 1849
D7 Marinette 1926 Hall Ave., Marinette 54143 1879 Oconto 1874 1878 1868 1879 1879 1849
H5 Marquette 1926 Hall Ave., Marinette 54143 1879 Oconto 1874 1878 1868 1879 1879 1849