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Books About Madison

Madison Central Library

Historical Research

Madison Public Library
House/Building Research
Newspapers
Newspapers on Microfilm
Newspaper Clipping File
Madison City Directories
Books and Magazine Articles on Madison/Wisconsin Subjects
The Frank Custer Local History Research Files
Forest Hill Cemetery
Sun Prairie Death List
Dane County Register of Deeds
Wisconsin Historical Society - Online Wisconsin Genealogy Index
Social Security Death Index
Cemetery Inventories
Statewide Death Records

Madison Public Library

The downtown Central Library is located at 201 West Mifflin Street. Reference and non-fiction books are on the second floor. There is a Local History Room, too, with reference copies of books on Madison and Dane County. There is also a Local Materials section at the end of the Reference stacks with additional reports and local documents including the Madison City Directories.

House/Building Research

If you want to investigate the history of your house or another building, the web site for the Friends of Historic Third Lake Ridge has posted an excellent list of sources on their home page.

Newspapers

NewspaperARCHIVE is a full-text, online resource for Madison newspapers (and other newspapers around the world!) It can be accessed through the Madison Public Library’s LINKcat system.

Newspapers On Microfilm

Madison Public Library has Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times on microfilm and a reader/printer. They also have other Madison newspapers. Check LINKCat for holdings.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, the Madison Democrat and other lesser and earlier Madison newspapers on microfilm in the second floor microforms room. There is a card catalog available to get the call number (call numbers can also be obtained by using MadCat on line and searching for a specific title.)

After locating a reel of film, the reader/printers are in the Reading Room. Ask for assistance to use the machines. You can make paper copies, save to a thumb drive or email articles to yourself.

Newspaper Clipping File

Filed by subject or name. Ask at the Reference Desk to access them.

Madison City Directories

City directories give the name (husband and wife), occupation and address for individuals and corporate name, officers/owners, and address for businesses. There is a reverse directory in the back listing people and businesses by address and by telephone number. They were not published every year until after 1950.

Madison city directories from 1858 – 1921 are on line on the UW Digital Collections – State of Wisconsin Collection web site under Historical County Plat Maps for South Central Wisconsin and Early Madison City Directories.

Madison Public Library has a complete set of Madison City Directories in the Local Materials Collection on the second floor.

They are also available in the Wisconsin Historical Society. Use the MadCat computer catalog “Basic Search”, type in Madison [city directory:listing] and choose “Title begins with” and press Search. Print out a copy of the list, which will give call numbers for each volume.

Books and Magazine Articles on Madison/Wisconsin Subjects

The Madison Public Library has created a special card index called Wisconsin Magazines Index. It's an index to articles in magazines about Wisconsin: two drawers for articles prior to 1986 and one drawer for 1986 to date (see also Box 60 of the Custer Local History Research Files mentioned below).

The Madison Public Library has also created an online index to the Wisconsin State Journal for local newspaper articles from May 1966 – April 1996. Using LINKcat online click on the Newspapers tab on the blue tool bar.

The Frank Custer Local History Research Files

The Wisconsin Historical Society's fourth floor Archives Division has the Frank Custer Local History Research Files. These "files" consist of 52 boxes of 3x5 cards, plus one box each of 4x6 and 5x8 cards, onto which Frank Custer pasted local newspaper clippings or typed information about people, places or events in Madison and surrounding communities.

Ask to see the “Case File” to determine which box/es has the topic you are interested in, then fill out a slip with the Call Number M2001-157 and Shelf Location MAD 4/26/F7-G5

Boxes 9-56 are Madison subjects A-Z (see also boxes 62 & 63), Boxes 57-59 are Madison street names A-Z with info on houses on the street and origin of street names, Box 60 is an index to articles in Madison magazines, Box 61 is non-Madison subjects (people, places & events) A-Z, Box 62 is 4x6 Madison subject cards A-Z, Box 63 is 5x8 Madison subject cards A-Z

Forest Hill Cemetery

Burial records are available online at Forest Hill Cemetery, 1 Speedway Road, 266-4720.

Sun Prairie Death List

The Death List is a database containing nearly 18,000 entries that is the synthesis of cemetery transcriptions from several cemeteries located in the northeastern part of Dane County. The cemeteries are located in the townships of Blooming Grove, Bristol, Burke, Cottage Grove, Medina, Sun Prairie, Windsor and York.

Dane County Register of Deeds

The Register of Deeds Office is located in Room 110 of the City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. They are the central location for vital and land records for Dane County. They ask that you call ahead (608-267-1515) to make an appointment to view vital records filed in Dane County.  The public space has been reduced and there are only 2 computers for public use. You can take a chance on dropping in but there may not be research space available.  

The State Vital Records Office is located in Room 159 of the State Office Building, 1 West Wilson St. (across the street from the City-County Building).  They also ask that you make an appointment (608-267-7820) to view vital records from across the state. There isn't the wait (weeks) that there used to be to get in to see the records.

Wisconsin Historical Society – On-line Wisconsin Genealogy Index

Search for pre-1907 Vital Records (VR) in the Wisconsin Genealogy Index, including birth, death, and marriage records as well as for 150,000 Wisconsin Name Index (WNI) records, including biographical sketches, obituaries, and newspaper articles published before 2000. Pre-1907 records contain information for about 25% of all incidents before this time as that's when our registration law took effect. Not until 1959 is information indexed again at this location.

See also the Wisconsin Local History and Biography Articles and the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory.

The records that are cited can be purchased online from the Society or you can take the citations and make your own copy from the microfilm of county vital records in the Society’s Reading Room.

Social Security Death Index

When the death of a person with a social security number is reported to the Social Security Administration, a social security death record is created and added to the Social Security Death Index.

Cemetery Inventories

These have been compiled by members of the WI State Genealogical Society and are in the Wisconsin Historical Society microforms room. Pages from the WSGS newsletter have been copied into a 3-ring binder.

Statewide Death Records

Statewide death records are available from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, 1 West Wilson Street. Genealogical searches have been deemed a lower priority service, so you cannot get same-day service. A six-week wait is usually imposed. It is possible to register for a two- or three-hour research period of time, but the waiting list is three to four months long.