Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Cemetery Records

About Our Cemetery Records Collections | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Society owns many small groups of published and unpublished records from churches and public and private cemeteries around Wisconsin.

Cemetery records include church burial registers, sexton records, indexes of gravestone inscriptions compiled by various authors, and the actual gravestones. They provide clues about your lineage and can point you to other resources to investigate. They are especially useful if you cannot find a death record certificate.

How Cemetery Records are Organized

Cemetery records are organized by location (county, township, village) and then by cemetery name.


There are no online cemetery records at the Society. We suggest these resources:

"Index to Copies of Cemetery Inscription Lists" by Patricia G. Harrsch, 1994. This is a comprehensive bibliography of publications listing names of people buried in specific Wisconsin cemeteries. Available in the Society's Library. See the University of Wisconsin-Madison Library Catalog for more information.

Various commercial websites have cemetery information online. Access these websites from your computer for free:


Published cemetery records will reside in the Society's Library. Check the UW Library Catalog for published works. Type in the name of the cemetery or church you are interested in, and the town or county in which the cemetery is located.

Unpublished cemetery records will reside in the Archives. Check Library Catalog, the Society's online catalog for library and archives resources. Type in the name of the cemetery or church you are interested in, and the town or county in which the cemetery is located.

The two largest resources for cemetery records in the Society's Library are:

Wisconsin State Genealogical Society (WSGS) Newsletters
These quarterly newsletters list thousands of names of people buried in Wisconsin cemeteries.They are bound in volumes in the Society's Library.
Guyant Collection of Tombstone Inscriptions
The Guyant Collection includes tombstone inscriptions copied between 1970-1981 from cemeteries in 17 Wisconsin counties, clipped newspaper obituaries, and other related items. This manuscript collection is available on microfilm. Tombstone inscriptions are listed by county, and then by cemetery.

The records represent every known cemetery in Florence, Langlade, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara counties and many in Adams, Barron, Forest, Green Lake, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Oneida, Outagamie, Shawano, Winnebago, and Wood counties. Included is an original record book of the Meadow Creek Cemetery, Barron County, Wis.

Checking Out Materials

Cemetery collections are non-circulating and must be used at the Society's Library or Archives. The Guyant collection is an exception to this rule. Contact your local library to request microfilm from this collection.

Purchasing Copies

Photocopies can be made by the Library Archives staff for a fee. The staff is unable to print entire publications or collections.

How to Cite

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

Cemetery Record Citation - From a Website
Joseph James, Richland Cemetery, Section 5, Lot 2; FindAGrave.com
Cemetery Record Citation - From a Book
Joseph James, Richland Cemetery, Section 5, Lot 2; "Cemeteries of Richland County," c. 2002; Wisconsin Historical Society.

Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.

Learn More

See more articles about Researching Your Family History