Wisconsin Archives: 105 Newspapers Online for Genealogy Research

Wisconsin, part of America’s Midwest, is bordered by two Great Lakes: Lake Superior on the north and Lake Michigan on the east. The nation’s 23rd largest state and 20th most populous, Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland” because of all its dairy farms, milk production, and world-famous cheese.

photo of the Daniel E. Krause Stone Barn in Chase, Wisconsin, built in 1903

Photo: the Daniel E. Krause Stone Barn in Chase, Wisconsin, built in 1903. Credit: KKNiteOwl; Wikimedia Commons.

If you are researching your ancestry from Wisconsin, you will want to use GenealogyBank’s online WI newspaper archives: 105 titles to help you search your family history in the “Badger State,” providing coverage from 1833 to Today. There are more than 7 million articles and records in our online Wisconsin archives!

Dig deep into our archives and search for historical and recent obituaries and other news articles about your Wisconsin ancestors in these WI newspapers online. Our Wisconsin newspapers are divided into two collections: Historical Newspapers (complete paper) and Recent Obituaries (obituaries only).

Search Wisconsin Newspaper Archives (1833 – 1992)

Search Wisconsin Recent Obituaries (1989 – Current)

illustration of the state flag of Wisconsin

Illustration: state flag of Wisconsin. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Here is a list of online Wisconsin newspapers in the archives. Each newspaper title in this list is an active link that will take you directly to that paper’s search page, where you can begin searching for your ancestors by surnames, dates, keywords and more. The WI newspaper titles are listed alphabetically by city.

City Title Date Range* Collection
Appleton Appleton Volksfreund 9/11/1919 – 11/16/1922 Newspaper Archives
Ashland Daily Press 1/2/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Baraboo Baraboo News-Republic 1/1/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Bayside North Shore NOW 1/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beaver Dam Daily Citizen 1/27/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Beloit Soul City Courier 10/12/1976 – 1/18/1977 Newspaper Archives
Beloit Beloit Daily News 7/26/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Brookfield Brookfield-Elm Grove NOW 1/14/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Cedarburg News Graphic 6/25/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chippewa Falls Chippewa Herald 1/30/1999 – Current Recent Obituaries
Chippewa Falls Chippewa Herald, The: Blogs 6/21/2012 – Current Recent Obituaries
Columbus Columbus Journal 1/26/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Dousman Kettle Moraine Index 12/2/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fond du Lac Fond du Lac Weekly Commonwealth 3/24/1858 – 12/15/1858 Newspaper Archives
Fond du Lac Fond du Lac Trade Extension 2/13/1918 – 2/13/1918 Newspaper Archives
Fond du Lac Democratic Press 6/5/1858 – 12/15/1858 Newspaper Archives
Fond du Lac Daily Fond du Lac Press 7/23/1866 – 7/25/1866 Newspaper Archives
Fond du Lac Press 6/5/1858 – 7/25/1866 Newspaper Archives
Fort Atkinson Wisconsin Chief 10/15/1856 – 9/29/1866 Newspaper Archives
Fort Atkinson Daily Jefferson County Union 1/12/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Fox Lake Fox Lake Representative 12/15/1911 – 12/20/1917 Newspaper Archives
Franklin Oak Creek-Franklin-Greendale NOW 2/11/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Galesville Galesville Independent 11/5/1874 – 8/30/1889 Newspaper Archives
Germantown Germantown-Menomonee Falls NOW 1/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Grafton Grafton Enterprise 7/27/1927 – 8/3/1927 Newspaper Archives
Gratiot Gratiot Reporter 6/13/1912 – 10/9/1913 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Green-Bay Intelligencer and Wisconsin Democrat 12/11/1833 – 6/1/1836 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Wisconsin Free Press 10/3/1835 – 3/30/1836 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Sunday Advance 6/15/1884 – 7/6/1884 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Green Bay Spectator 2/21/1852 – 9/28/1852 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Wisconsin Republican 1/21/1845 – 2/8/1847 Newspaper Archives
Green Bay Phoenix 10/8/1841 – 10/8/1841 Newspaper Archives
Hartford Times Press 9/18/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartland Living Lake Country: Blogs 1/10/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartland Lake Country Reporter 1/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hartland Sussex Sun 11/17/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Hayward Sawyer County Record 1/11/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
La Crosse La Crosse Volksfreund 1/3/1906 – 12/28/1907 Newspaper Archives
La Crosse Wisconsin Labor Advocate 8/20/1886 – 8/6/1887 Newspaper Archives
La Crosse Nord Stern 4/10/1908 – 4/10/1908 Newspaper Archives
La Crosse La Crosse Tribune 7/11/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Lancaster Grant County Herald 3/18/1843 – 12/5/1850 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin State Journal 3/10/1857 – 12/27/1889 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin Daily Patriot 9/10/1859 – 11/14/1864 Newspaper Archives
Madison Weekly Wisconsin Patriot 7/8/1854 – 10/22/1864 Newspaper Archives
Madison Daily Argus and Democrat 1/3/1854 – 7/21/1854 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin Democrat 10/18/1842 – 5/8/1852 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin Enquirer 11/8/1838 – 3/27/1841 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin Free Press 4/3/1984 – 1/12/1990 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin Populist 9/10/1892 – 11/8/1892 Newspaper Archives
Madison Wisconsin State Journal 3/3/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Madison Capital Times 3/20/1989 – Current Recent Obituaries
Mauston Juneau County Argus 7/26/1888 – 7/26/1889 Newspaper Archives
Mauston Juneau County Star-Times 1/22/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Menomonie Dunn County News 12/9/2002 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel 11/11/1966 – 12/31/1968 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Sentinel 12/10/1844 – 12/30/1968 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Star 7/22/1967 – 2/10/1977 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Wahrheit 1/7/1893 – 6/25/1910 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Wisconsin Free Democrat 8/23/1848 – 11/28/1860 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Wisconsin Weekly Advocate 5/7/1898 – 9/19/1907 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Weekly Sentinel 6/27/1837 – 6/13/1866 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Advertiser 7/14/1836 – 3/20/1841 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal of Commerce 3/15/1871 – 12/22/1880 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Soul City Times 9/14/1968 – 12/16/1971 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Defender 1/3/1957 – 2/1/1958 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee American 4/8/1857 – 10/28/1857 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukie Democrat 8/11/1843 – 2/23/1844 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Guardia 10/21/1969 – 8/1/1975 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Jugend-Post 1/1/1895 – 12/28/1895 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Wisconsin Afro-American 8/13/1892 – 11/19/1892 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Northwestern Recorder 12/3/1892 – 3/30/1893 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukiean 10/28/1844 – 11/4/1844 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee’r Socialist 9/22/1876 – 9/21/1877 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Herold und Seebote 1/1/1901 – 1/1/1901 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Herold 1/1/1901 – 1/1/1921 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Wiskonsin Banner 9/14/1844 – 9/21/1844 Newspaper Archives
Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 1/22/1990 – Current Recent Obituaries
Milwaukee Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Blogs 7/20/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Monroe Jeffersonian Democrat 8/14/1856 – 3/26/1857 Newspaper Archives
Mukwonago Mukwonago Chief 5/19/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
New Lisbon Juneau County Argus 11/8/1858 – 12/6/1894 Newspaper Archives
Oconomowoc Oconomowoc Focus 2/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oconomowoc Oconomowoc Enterprise 4/14/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oneida Kalihwisaks 5/13/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
Oshkosh Oshkosh True Democrat 2/9/1849 – 5/12/1857 Newspaper Archives
Park Falls Price County Review 6/6/2014 – Current Recent Obituaries
Phillips Phillips Bee 3/3/1999 – 6/3/2014 Recent Obituaries
Portage Daily Register 1/7/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Portage Wisconsin Dells Events 2/26/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Racine Weekly Racine Advocate 1/8/1851 – 4/25/1866 Newspaper Archives
Racine Racine Courier 10/16/1976 – 7/25/1992 Newspaper Archives
Reedsburg Reedsburg Times-Press 1/28/2004 – Current Recent Obituaries
Rice Lake Chronotype 1/4/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Ripon Ripon Commonwealth Press 1/27/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sauk City Sauk Prairie Eagle 5/18/2005 – Current Recent Obituaries
Sheboygan Sheboygan Nieuwsbode 10/6/1849 – 11/7/1850 Newspaper Archives
Spooner Spooner Advocate 9/24/1998 – Current Recent Obituaries
Superior Superior Telegram 5/19/2006 – Current Recent Obituaries
Washburn County Journal 4/20/2001 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waukesha American Freeman 9/9/1845 – 12/29/1847 Newspaper Archives
Waukesha Waukesha NOW 2/3/2011 – Current Recent Obituaries
Waukesha Freeman 6/12/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries
Wauwatosa Wauwatosa NOW 9/9/2010 – Current Recent Obituaries
West Bend Washington County Daily News 7/12/2000 – Current Recent Obituaries

*Date Ranges may have selected coverage unavailable.

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Genealogy Challenge Pt. 1: Spot Spoonerisms & Other Name Mistakes

Introduction: Mary Harrell-Sesniak is a genealogist, author and editor with a strong technology background. In this guest blog post, Mary shows how to spot spoonerisms (the accidental switching of sounds or letters in two words, often to humorous effect) and other name mistakes when searching for your ancestors in old newspapers.

Creativity is essential when searching for forebears in old newspapers—especially when misspellings come into play. Names can be abbreviated, truncated and spelled in a variety of fantastical ways—including one aberration you may not have considered: a spoonerism.

What Is a Spoonerism?

Perhaps you’ve heard someone say at a wedding, “Is it kisstomary to cuss the bride?” or in church, “Let me sew you to your sheet.”

Their brain meant to say, “Is it customary to kiss the bride?” and “Let me show you to your seat,” but a disconnect or “fain brart” got in the way.

You could chalk the unique phraseology up to imbibing, but more likely the speakers were sober and unintentionally mimicking Rev. William Archibald “W. A.” Spooner (1844-1930). Known for his linguistic acrobatics, Spooner frequently misspoke—as when he gave a toast at Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Celebration.

“Three cheers for our queer old dean,” he said.

That might have been the end of his days as toastmaster except the hilarity of the moment kept Dr. Spooner in high demand. His name is now used to describe the humorous speech mistakes for which he was famous, in which sounds or letters are transposed.

I wonder if the king was even mildly amused when Spooner blurted, “Kinglemen, the Gent!” instead of, “Gentlemen, the King!”

More of Spooner’s spoonerisms can be found in this 1924 newspaper article.

Many 'Amusing Stories' Are Told of Doctor Spooner, National Labor Tribune newspaper article 20 November 1924

National Labor Tribune (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), 20 November 1924, page 3

How Spoonerisms Affect Genealogical Searching

The phenomenon of linguistic tongue twisting may be done on “porpoise,” but more likely it is done by accident. No matter the intent, spoonerisms occasionally appear in newspaper reporting—and the tangled results may limit your search results. If your initial results are few, try searching on a clever spoonerism of your ancestor’s name by employing wildcard characters (such as ? or *) to substitute for letters that may be accidentally transposed.

Names and words that are prone to being spoonerized are ones that:

  • have an equal amount of syllables
  • appear to rhyme (I’d be rich if I had a nickel for every time my name was jumbled up!)
  • have alliterations (given and surnames that begin with the same first letter), such as Herbert Hoover—who apparently was mistakenly referred to as Hoobert Heever, Heebert Huver or possibly Heever Herbert
Harry Von Zell's Spoonerism, Springfield Union newspaper article 30 October 1972

Springfield Union (Springfield, Massachusetts), 30 October 1972, page 17

Corrections in Names in Newspapers

Another type of genealogical search challenge occurs when a name is simply misreported or misspelled in the newspapers.

When in doubt, search a week or so after an event to see if there has been a correction made to your ancestor’s name—and if you find one, be sure to keep a record of both versions of the name for future searches.

(On a personal level, my son one time made a fabulous play at a baseball game. When the newspaper came out, it had published another player’s name under my son’s picture. Wonder if the other family kept a copy!)

In the following example, the name mistake is somewhat of a spoonerism (Bovee was used for Obee), and reminds us that once you spot a misspelling, keep it on your short list for further search possibilities.

notice about C. W. Obee, Daily Telegram newspaper article 14 December 1918

Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), 14 December 1918, page 2

In this example from a 1921 newspaper, the writer got the name completely wrong. O. A. Wymus, an Aberdeen optometrist, was reported as the speaker of an event, when a Mr. Weymouth should have been credited. Too bad the given names of the incorrect person were abbreviated as mere initials, and totally eliminated for the correct speaker—otherwise, we would have been able to see the full extent of this mistake and perhaps discover a spoonerism at work!

notice about Mr. Weymouth, Aberdeen Daily News newspaper article 28 April 1921

Aberdeen Daily News (Aberdeen, South Dakota), 28 April 1921, page 8

Ancestor & Spouse Name Swaps

Another common name error found in newspapers derives from ancestor and spouse swapping. No, this isn’t a form of genealogical adultery, but instead a mistake that occurs when a family member’s memory is foggy, or when one person is more prominent than another, resulting in an incorrect name being given to the newspaper reporter.

I recently found an example of this kind of marital mistake while doing my own family history research. My great aunt’s obituary reported that she was married to my great grandfather instead of my great uncle. My great grandfather was perhaps the better known of the two brothers in their hometown and his name would therefore come more readily to people’s minds.

Now, there are legitimate instances in which a widow or widower marries one’s brother or sister-in-law, but in my family, it taint rue.

For those of you who are wondering why I haven’t shown this incorrect obituary, I elected not to because—as any geasoned senealogist knows—once a mistake is recorded, certain enthusiasts repeat the error over and over and over again, forever rouding the clesearch!

Genealogy Challenge

Here is your latest genealogy challenge, readers.

Post your best example of a genealogical spoonerism in the comments section of this blog. I can’t wait to read them—I always love a good laugh!