About Our Census Records
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 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, 1850-1880These 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, 1850-1880These contain the names of the people who owned land in Wisconsin.
Veterans Schedules, 1890These recorded the names of Civil War veterans along with widows of veterans in Wisconsin.
Manufacturers/Industrial Schedules, 1850-1880These recorded the names of business owners in Wisconsin.
- 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, 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 Census
- Wisconsin has State and Territorial Censuses for 1836-1905 and Mortality Schedules for 1850-1880. If you don't locate a Wisconsin census containing your ancestor on Ancestry.com, you may want to check FamilySearch.org.
- 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.
- 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
- Wisconsin State and Territorial Censuses, 1836-1905 (Images are available online for most years. All images are are available on microfilm at the Society's Library.)
- Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880
- Agricultural Schedules, 1850-1880
- Industrial Schedules, 1850-1880
- U.S. Federal Censuses
- The U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1930
- 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.
Photocopies of censuses are available for a fee.
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.
Researching your family history
See more articles about researching your family history.
Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.