This page provides information about resources that are of interest to genealogists at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Archives.
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Genealogy Records Policy
List of Pre-1920 Parishes
What Kind of Information is Found on a Sacramental Record?
Genealogical Records Request Form
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Genealogical Records Policy
Below is the Archdiocese of Milwaukee policy for Genealogical Record Searches.
1. At this time we do not allow in-person, on-site research to be done at the archives.
2. The Archdiocesan Archives has copies of most of the pre-1920 sacramental records for parishes. We can respond to genealogy requests for any parish within our current boundaries. Please use the genealogy records request form found below to request sacramental records.
3. We require genealogical inquiries requiring the use of sacramental records to come to us in writing or via our online form, regardless of the amount of information that is being requested. We try to respond to all inquiries within 2-6 weeks of receipt.
4. Records are only open to genealogists prior to 1920. Records post-1920 are only open to the individual(s) whose name appears on the record.
5. Requests should be limited to no more than 5 individuals. Please include as much information as you know regarding the people you are researching: full names of parents and children, the type of sacramental record requested, approximate dates the sacrament occurred, the parish where the sacraments took place, the city, town or county where they lived (the more specific you can be the better.)
6. The average donation requested for a typical inquiry of 5 records is $25. We do think of this as a donation and will perform the research whether or not a donation is offered. You may include a check with your request, payable to the “Archdiocese of Milwaukee.” Note: Even if we do not locate any records relevant to your request, we have still spent time on that search. Please remember that it often takes us more time to search for something that is not there than for something that is there.
7. We will not respond to requests for a general search such as, “everything you have on a particular family from 1850-1920.” Please be specific. Click here for help on narrowing down your search.
8. We can only search for records of parishes that are currently in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
9. Electronic requests can be made via the archives webpage here.
Mailed requests should be sent to the archivist at:
Archdiocese of Milwaukee Archives
3501 S. Lake Drive
PO Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207
If you mail us a request, please include a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE).
10. After your request is received it will generally take us 2-6 weeks to respond. We will mail (postal mail) you back copies of the records we are able to locate for you. We will also provide a transcription of the records if they are written in a language other than English. At that time we will also inform you of the suggested donation. The suggested donation is dependent upon the number of records you request and the amount of time we spend searching. The average requested donation is $25. Note: Even if we do not locate any records relevant to your request, we have still spent time on that search.
In order to find a baptismal, marriage, or death record, the Archive Staff needs to know the name of the church where the sacrament took place. This is because each baptism, marriage, or death was hand-written chronologically into the parish's ledger and is the reason why we do not have any sort of "master database."
How do you know what parish to search? You should begin your search by first figuring out where your ancestor lived. This type of information can be found in censuses, city directories, or civil records. Information on obtaining civil records can be found here. Once you know where they were living, the three documents below provide a table which lists all of the parishes in existence prior to 1920 in the 10 counties that currently make up the Archdiocese of Milwaukee: Dodge, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha.
Click on the link to upload the table. Once the table is open, you can either scroll through the table to find the parish you are researching, or you can press Ctrl+f to keyword search. The latest date shown is 1920 because that is the latest date that is open for genealogical research. See above for specifics on our genealogical records policy.
List of Parish Sacramental Records by County - This table is organized by counties (Dodge, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha) and then alphabetical by city within each county.
List of Parish Sacramental Records by City - This table is organized by alphabetically by city. It lists the same information as the table above.
List of Parish Sacramental Records in Milwaukee County - This table only has information about parishes in Milwaukee County. It lists the exact same information as the two tables above, however for the parishes located in the city of Milwaukee it also lists the address of the parish in 1920.
What kind of information is found on a Sacramental Record?
Sacramental records can provide a wealth of information for genealogists. Below are some of the most common pieces of information that can be found in a record. However, sacramental records vary widely and not every record will have this information.
• Full name of the individual
• Name of parents, including mother’s maiden name
• Date of Birth
• Date of Baptism
• Name of sponsors
• Name of priest who baptized the individual
• Occasionally the place of birth of the individual who was baptized
• Occasionally the place of birth of the parents (if this is listed it is usually only the name of the country)
• The full name of the groom
• The full name of the bride, including maiden name
• The names of both sets of parents
• The date of the marriage
• The name of the priest who married the couple
• The witnesses
• Occasionally the place of baptism/and or birth of the groom and bride
• The full name of the individual
• The date of death
• The date of the funeral
• The name of the priest who presided at the funeral
• The name of the cemetery where the individual is interred
• If the individual died as an infant, the names of the parents are usually listed
• Occasionally the age of the individual
• Occasionally the name of the spouse
• The names of children are very rarely listed
• The date of birth is very rarely listed
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee owns and operates 8 cemeteries and 7 mausoleums on behalf of our parishes. Their searchable database of cemetery records can be found at www.cemeteries.org. Please note that not every burial that took place in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is in this database. In other cases, parishes own and operate their own cemeteries. In these instances cemetery records are available through the parish.
Orphanage and Adoption Records
Information on individual orphanages in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee can be found here. The Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services Adoption Records Search is available to adult adoptees, adoptees whose birth parent(s) terminated parental rights when they were minors, adoptive parents, and birth parents. For more information on how to obtain adoption records see their website here.