About Our Wisconsin Name Index
The Wisconsin Name Index (WNI) collection is an index of three categories of information: obituaries, newspaper clippings and biographical book excerpts.
The categories draw from a database of 150 county and local histories, dozens of professional directories and biographical encyclopedias, more than 60 scrapbooks containing 30,000 obituaries, and selected articles in Wisconsin magazines and newspapers. Most items were published 1870-1970.
How the Wisconsin Name Index Collection is Organized
- The collection is indexed by name or topic. Use the information on the index record to help you locate and view the item at the Library.
- Then use filters on the left hand side of the results page to refine your search.
The Wisconsin Name Index collection is only available online.
Photocopies of published and unpublished materials can be made by the Library Archives staff for a fee. If the material is still under copyright, only portions may be photocopied. 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.
- Wisconsin Name Index Citation
- Newspaper title, place of publication, issue date, page number, Wisconsin Historical Society.
History of the Wisconsin Name Index
Starting about 1870, Society librarians made a catalog card for every biographical sketch included in each new Wisconsin county history. They made a similar card for every obituary added to the scrapbooks they called the "Wisconsin Necrology." In addition, they frequently added catalog cards for magazine and newspaper articles about Wisconsin residents. IN all, more than 1,500 publications were indexed by Wisconsin Historical Society librarians.
After more than a century of such work, the data on the original cards was typed into a database by state employees. In 2003 and 2004, 50,000 more records were added through an agreement WISDEX: Wisconsin biography index.
Researching your family history
See more articles about researching your family history.
Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.