Our Archives can help you research your family tree or the Catholic history of Northeastern Wisconsin using parish, diocesan, and other related records. We have microfiche copies of all existing sacramental records (baptisms, marriages, burials, plus some first Communions and confirmations) for the Catholic churches of the Green Bay Diocese (most of Northeastern Wisconsin). However, many of the early records are not complete.
We also have membership records for a few parishes, plus some church histories and anniversary booklets. Although the Diocese was formed in 1868, some records go back to the 1830s. Historical materials about the diocese and parishes are available to researchers and we are happy to help you with your research.
- We can search all pre-1930 sacramental records.
- Records since 1930 are not open for research.
- We do not have any general indexes -- automated or otherwise -- for the sacramental records.
- We cannot respond to requests for general searches, such as a certain surname, or all records on a certain family within a large timespan or geographic area. For example we cannot respond to a request such as, "Please send me all the information you have on the Smith family who came to Northeastern Wisconsin about 1853..."
- We can respond to more specific requests, such as: "Please search for the baptismal records of the children of John and Mary Smith. Catherine was born about 1863 and Robert was born about 1871. The family was Bohemian and lived near Cooperstown, Manitowoc County." Or: "Please check for the burial records for my great-grandparents, William and Anna Jones. William died between 1881 and 1900, and Anna died after 1910. Anna was born in 1825."
What We Need From You
- Approximate dates (within 10 years or so) -- if you do not know the dates, you can use census records to narrow them down. There are indexes to the 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (for households with children 10 or younger), 1900, and 1920 Wisconsin federal censuses. Wisconsin also conducted state censuses in 1855, 1875, 1885, 1895 and 1905. These census records are available to Wisconsin residents at your local library or through inter-library loan. Non-Wisconsin residents can order the indexes and census records through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Family History Centers.
- Where they lived. Census records can help pinpoint a location. Just having the county is not enough; a township or area in the county is needed. We have tables to help you find this information.
- Your information on a family group sheet, if possible. Be as complete and concise as possible. Include any additional information that might help locate the information.
We can only search one hour for each request because of the volume of requests we receive.
We have compiled tables that show the locality (including townships), name of the parish -- including the various names a parish had over the years -- earliest year records are available for baptisms, marriages, and funerals, and which ethnic groups (where applicable) the parish served.
Eventually, there will be tables for each ethnic group. The date a church is founded and the starting date for sacramental records may not be the same. Sacramental records for baptisms, marriages, and funerals may not begin on the same date.
When starting a search for families pre-World War I, first check the records of the area parish (or parishes) of the families' ethnic background. If there is no ethnic parish, check other Catholic churches in the area.
If your ancestor’s residency pre-dated the earliest parish records, use the table to determine what parishes existed then (and thus where to look for the records).
Table of Parish Sacramental Records
Can You Do Your Own Research in the Archives?
Researchers may visit the Archives to perform personal research on Tuesdays (9 am-noon, 1 pm-4 pm) or by appointment. Private researchers contribute $10 for a half day or $15 for a whole day of research, in addition to a .25 printing fee for any records printed. Reservations may be confirmed by calling 920-272-8195.
Scans of records sent to Archives patrons are for the requester’s personal use only. They cannot be reproduced, published or shared electronically without permission from the Archives.
There is a set fee of $20.00 per research request plus .25 per copy/image. Staff will perform one hour of research for up to five individual records. Additional time for additional research subjects requires an additional payment ($20 per hour/five individual records). Prepayment is not required. Checks should be payable to Diocese of Green Bay, Inc. and mailed to:
Diocese of Green Bay
PO Box 23825
Green Bay, WI 54305-3825
Please note “Archives Research” in the memo line