Genealogy – the study of ancestry and family histories – is a popular hobby.
The Milwaukee Public Library has an excellent collection of materials in this field in the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at the Central Library.
The collection includes methods books on how to trace genealogy, bibliographies, family histories, passenger lists, a large number of periodicals, city directories, as well as census records and indexes.
The genealogical materials at the library are enhanced by related local history collections which have been developed for more than a century.
Ask a Humanities librarian for personalized suggestions to make the most of your research visit.
New to Genealogy?
Researching the Family Tree is a brochure full of advice for the beginning genealogist.
Attend a monthly introductory genealogy class at the Central Library. (See the right side of this page for upcoming sessions.)
The Badgerlink Genealogy Tutorial is a short, interactive tutorial that shows how to use 3 genealogy resources that are provided via the Badgerlink progam (Access NewspaperARCHIVE, Archive of Wisconsin Newspapers, and HeritageQuest Online).
Consider joining a local genealogy group, such as the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society, which meets monthly at the Central Library, or the African American Genealogical Society of Milwaukee, which meets monthly at the Villard Square Library.
Library Subscription Databases
Ancestry Library Edition
Ancestry Library Edition (from ProQuest) provides access to genealogy resources, historical photos, local narratives, censuses, oral histories, indexes and other resources in thousands of record sets that span from the 1500s to the 2000s. The Milwaukee Public Library is grateful to the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society for their support of this database. Library subscription database. Available for use within MPL libraries. Not available for remote use.
Find U.S. Census schedules, family and place histories, the PERSI archive and Freedman’s Bank records in this genealogy trove from ProQuest. Provided as part of Wisconsin’s BadgerLink program. Library subscription database. Available for use within MPL libraries and for remote use by Wisconsin residents.
Jewish genealogical records featuring many cemetery markers, including those in Wisconsin. Library subscription database. Available for use within MPL libraries and for remote use by City of Milwaukee library cardholders.
America's Obituaries & Death Notices
Newspaper genealogy resource from NewsBank with records from more than 3,000 newspapers as far back as 1983, but Chicago Tribune results beginning with 1930. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel death notices are included from July 1995 to the present. Library subscription database. Available for use within MPL libraries and for remote use by City of Milwaukee library cardholders.