Source Information

Ancestry.com.. Wisconsin, State Censuses, 1855-1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data:
  • Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1855 Microfilm, 3 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1875 Microfilm, 5 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1885 Microfilm, 10 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1895 Microfilm, 10 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin. Wisconsin State Census, 1905. Microfilm, 44 reels. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.

About Wisconsin, State Censuses, 1855-1905

This database contains an index to the 1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, and 1905 Wisconsin state censuses. All censuses cover all counties that existed at the time. Information listed includes:

  • Name of individual
  • Place of enumeration

For the 1905 census the following information is also listed:

  • Date of enumeration
  • Relationship to head of household
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Birthplace

Additional information about an individual, such as their occupation, may be available on the actual census record. Be sure to view the corresponding image in order to obtain all possible information about an individual.

Where to Find Copies:

Microfilmed copies of this census are available through the State Archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Family History Library (FHL).

Additional Notes:

The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was damaged and destroyed by fire in 1921. Less than 1 percent of the schedules are available for research today. Because of this problem, the 1895 Wisconsin State Census is a highly valuable source as it provides information that would otherwise be found in the Federal Census.

The 1905 census was the only Wisconsin state census to list all the members of the household.

About State Censuses:

State censuses were often taken in years between the federal censuses. In some places, local censuses were designed to collect specific data, such as the financial strengths and needs of communities; tallies of school-age children and potential school populations to predict needs for teachers and facilities; censuses of military strength, cavalry horse resources, and grain storage; enumeration for revenue assessment and urban planning; and lists to monitor African Americans moving to into northern cities.

Taken from "Research in Census Records," The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, by Loretto Dennis Szucs. Ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1997).