About the Wisconsin Historical Society Census Records Collections | Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Census Records

About the Wisconsin Historical Society Census Records Collections | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society has census records for the United States (1790-1940), Wisconsin (1836-1905) and Canada (1836-1901).  The Society also owns special U.S. Federal Schedules for Wisconsin including Mortality, Agricultural, Veterans, DDD and Industrial. Censuses are official, periodic counts of populations including such information as age, gender and occupation. They pinpoint where your ancestors resided during specific years of their lives and provide various details about them.

Types of Census Records Available

Special U.S. Federal Schedules of Wisconsin

  • Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880
    These contain names and information about people who died in Wisconsin during a 12-month period prior to the date the census was taken for each census year from 1850-1880.
  • Agricultural Schedules, 1850-1880
    These contain the names of the people who owned land in Wisconsin.
  • Veterans Schedules, 1890
    These recorded the names of Civil War veterans along with widows of veterans in Wisconsin.
  • Manufacturers/Industrial Schedules, 1850-1880
    These recorded the names of business owners in Wisconsin.
  • Defective, Dependent and Delinquent Classes, 1880 only
  • These recorded the names of people designated in 1880 to be included in these categories.

Wisconsin Censuses

  • Wisconsin State and Territorial Censuses, 1836-1905
  • Indexes of Wisconsin State Censuses, 1836-1905

United States Censuses

  • U.S. Censuses, 1790-1930 (for all 50 states)
  • Indexes of U.S. Censuses, 1790-1930 (for all 50 states)

Canada Censuses

  • Canada Censuses, 1666-1901
  • Indexes of Canada Censuses, 1666-1901

How Census Records are Organized

Census records are arranged by year and then geographic location (state, county, town). Names are not in alphabetical order within a town. They were entered as the enumerator (census taker) went from house to house to count people and gather demographic data.


The following censuses can be searched on the Society's public computers via our Ancestry Library Edition subscription. If you have a personal subscription to Ancestry.com you can view censuses anywhere. Wisconsin censuses are also available on FamilySearch.org.

Wisconsin State Census
Wisconsin has State and Territorial Censuses for 1836-1905.
U.S. Federal Census
You'll find U.S. Federal Censuses from 1790-1940 for all 50 states. There are also Indexes of U.S. Federal Censuses from 1790-1940 for all 50 states.  There are many special non-population schedules online but not all.
Canada Census
You'll find Canada Censuses from 1666-1911. Canada Censuses can also be searched on FamilySearch.org and Library and Archives Canada.

The following censuses are housed at the Society. They are available for viewing on microfilm at either the Society's Library or your local Area Research Center.

Wisconsin Censuses
  • Microfilm.
  • Wisconsin State and Territorial Censuses, 1836-1905
  • Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880
  • Agricultural Schedules, 1850-1880
  • Industrial Schedules, 1850-1880
U.S. Federal Censuses
Microfilm of Wisconsin only.
Canada Censuses
Canada Censuses, years missing from the 1666-1911 online editions are available on microfilm at the Society's Library.

Checking Out Materials

Wisconsin Territorial and State Censuses microfilm can be checked out by Wisconsin residents in person, or sent to local libraries through interlibrary loan. Canadian Censuses on microfilm do not circulate.

Purchasing Copies

Photocopies of censuses are available for a fee.

For Wisconsin censuses 1850-1880, you can request digital copies of the Special Non-Population Schedules through our website.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

Census Citations
U.S. Census Office, 1930, Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County, Fond du Lac City, Enumeration District 20-29, Page 24B.

Learn More

See more articles about researching your family history.

Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.