Local History and Genealogy

The Brown County Library’s Local History and Genealogy Department was created when the current Central Library was opened in 1974. Since then, the Local History & Genealogy collection has grown from 300 items to over 10,000 print volumes and 4,400 reels of microfilm. Although the library cannot perform census searches, staff will do limited research in other areas for questions received (photocopying and service charge fees apply).  Call the Local History & Genealogy Department  for further information.

Hours
Subject to change
Mon/Tues/Thurs/Friday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Wednesday: 
1 pm – 8 pm
Saturday: 1 pm – 4 pm

Contact Us
The Local History & Genealogy Department is on the 2nd floor of Central Library.

Address: 515 Pine Street, Green Bay, WI 54301
bc.library.lhg@browncountywi.gov
Phone: 920.448.5815

Overview of Collection

Explore the resources available for your historical and genealogical research. This overview of the Local History Collection is intended to highlight certain areas – it is by no means a definitive list. Search for specific titles in the Library’s online catalog.

Census

Microfilm is available for use whenever the library is open.

  • Federal Census for Wisconsin, all counties, from 1820-1930 (1820 & 1830 are listed as Michigan Territory). 1890 Census Population Schedules destroyed in fire.
  • 1940 Federal Census for Brown, Calumet, Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Oconto, Outagamie and Shawano counties.
  • 1890 Census is Special Schedule enumerating Union Veterans and Widows for Wisconsin
  • State Census for 1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905. Only 1905 lists all members of households by name.
  • Wisconsin Territorial Census for 1836, with index, and 1838, 1842, 1846, and 1847.
  • Census Indexes pertaining to Wisconsin Federal Census for the years 1850, 1860, and 1870.
  • Mortality, Agriculture, Manufacturing and Social Schedules for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 for Wisconsin. Only 1850 and 1860 have Social Schedules.
  • Census Index for State Census of Brown County for 1905.
  • Soundex Census Index for Wisconsin, 1880, 1900 and 1920.
  • Indian Census for Oneida, Menominee, Stockbridge, Munsee, Chippewa, Winnebago and Potawatomi.
  • The following items are in book form in the Local History & Genealogy department: 

    • Bound copies of other censuses and census indexes for Wisconsin and other areas of the country including; a complete 1790 census for the original states, the 1810-1830 Michigan Census Indexes, and 1836, 1838, 1840, 1842, 1850 and 1855 Wisconsin Census Indexes.
    • 1865 Wisconsin State Census: the Six Surviving Counties (Dunn, Green, Jackson, Kewaunee, Ozaukee, Sheboygan) transcription and index
    • Databases that include Federal and some State Census.
Newspapers
  • All newspapers available on microfilm for Brown County communities – the earliest beginning in 1833.
    Microfilm of the Door County Advocate 1862-1935, a donation.
  • The Local History Department also has a card index to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and the Green Bay News-Chronicle from 1962 to 1983. An index for the Press-Gazette covering July 1985 to 1996 is located in the microfilm area. These are considered subject indexes, and not vital record indexes.
  • Search complete, full-text content of the Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1999 using ProQuest, an online database that includes community events, schools, politics, government policies, cultural activities, local companies, state industries, and people in the community. Remote access is with your library card number.
  • Search the Green Bay Press-Gazette covering January 1997-December 2003 in the library’s online catalog.
Books

In addition to a wide variety of genealogy and local history books relating to Wisconsin, the library also has an excellent collection of books for other states. The following subject areas include some sample titles and subjects:

  • Federal Papers — Territorial Papers and American State Papers (Public Lands)
  • Military Records — Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers (Civil War), Index to War of 1812 Pension Files for the U.S., Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files by Virgil D. White and other indexes.
  • County Histories — Histories of most Wisconsin counties in book form or on microfilm
  • Green Bay City and Brown County Directories, some dating from the 1870s
  • D.A.R. Lineage Books (136 volumes owned, not a complete set)
  • Passenger Lists & Indexes – Passenger and Immigration List Index, with supplements, P. William Filby, ed.;
  • Germans to America, Ira A. Glazier & P. William Filby, eds.
  • Famine Immigrants, Ira A. Glazier, ed.
  • Genealogies in the Library of Congress and Local Histories in the Library of Congress
  • Subject Catalog to the Library of The State Historical Society of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Blue Books, 1859 to the present.
  • High School Annuals of various schools in Brown County (incomplete runs – donated collection)
  • French Canadian Collection — over 400 volumes (some in French) including many marriage records from parishes in Quebec.  The Loiselle Quebec Marriage Index is the largest index of marriages in Quebec Province.
Atlases
  • Plat maps of Brown County for the years; 1889, 1900, 1928, 1936 and a wall map for 1875, plus the 20th century
  • Plat maps from other Wisconsin Counties in book form and on microfilm, both 19th and 20th centuries
  • Current and historic maps of the United States and the world including the Poland Historical Atlas, Atlas of the German Empire 1892, Atlas of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1892. and many other European countries.
  • Sanborn Map Company Fire Insurance maps, many in bound editions, for Green Bay and De Pere. A collection on microfilm from the 1880’s to the 1960’s includes Green Bay, De Pere, Denmark, and Pulaski.
Periodicals

The Local History area has many regional and state genealogy, history, and historic preservation periodicals including:

  • Gems of Genealogy
  • Lost in Canada (complete)
  • National Genealogical Society Quarterly
  • New England Historical & Genealogical Register (complete — from 1847, vol. 1 – to date)
  • Voyageur Magazine (complete — from Summer 1984, vol. 1 to date)
  • Wisconsin Magazine of History (complete — from 1917, vol. 1 – to date)
  • Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Newsletter (from 1962 – to date)
  • Many newsletters from county genealogical societies throughout Wisconsin.
Other Records and Indices
  • Complete listing of Brown County cemeteries, with surname card index
  • Listings for other county cemetery records including Door, Kewaunee and Oconto Counties, plus many other county cemetery listings from around the state
  • Pre – 1907 Index to Registered Wisconsin Deaths, Marriages, and Births (microfiche)
  • Index to Wisconsin Vital Health Records, including: Deaths from 1959-1967, 1969-1979, 1979-1997; Divorces from 1965-1978 (1966 missing), 1979-1983, 1984 (husband only); Marriages from 1973-1978, 1979-1984. (microfiche)
  • Index to Marriage and Death Records of the Green Bay Health Department from 1920-Aug.1, 1986. (card file)
  • Wisconsin Necrology, compiled by the Wisconsin Historical Society, of prominent Wisconsinites from 1836-1968. (microfilm)
  • International Genealogical Index from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Online, CD-ROM, and microfiche, 1988 edition).
  • Jean Nicolet Certificates. As part of the 1984 celebration of the 350th anniversary of Jean Nicolet’s landing, certificates were awarded to persons who could prove their family had lived in Northeastern Wisconsin for at least 100 years. Applications and proofs are kept on file and indexed. This was a project of the Bay Area Genealogical Society.
  • Extensive pamphlet files are kept of newspaper clippings and pamphlets about Brown County. Files include people, businesses, ethnic groups, history, local government, clubs, churches and events. The pamphlet file also includes information on other regional communities.
Online Resources

Ancestry Library
Search census, vital, immigration and military records. Temporary, free access is courtesy of Ancestry.com.

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Library card number required. A premier collection of original military records.


HeritageQuest Online
Library card number required. A comprehensive treasury of American genealogical and historical sources. Includes US Federal Censuses, books, cemetery records, city directories, military records and more. Provided by BadgerLink.


See more information about accessing the Green Bay Press-Gazette.


Recollection Wisconsin
Discover photos, maps, books, artifacts, oral histories and more from dozens of Wisconsin communities.


Wisconsin Historical Society
Bringing Wisconsin history to life online.


Cyndi’s List
A categorized and cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the internet with more than 190, 500 links.


Nationwide Gravesite Finder
Search for burial locations of veterans and their dependents in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, and various other Department of Interior and military cemeteries.


History News Network
Useful background information on the issues of the day.