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About Our Wisconsin Name Index
The Wisconsin Name Index (WNI) collection is an index of three categories of information:
- obituaries (an incomplete record)
- newspaper clippings
- biographical book excerpts
The categories draw from a database of 150 county and local histories, dozens of professional directories and biographical encyclopedias, more than 60 scrapbooks containing 30,000 obituaries, and selected articles in Wisconsin magazines and newspapers. Most items were published 1870-1970.
Starting about 1870, Society librarians made a catalog card for every biographical sketch included in each new Wisconsin county history. They made a similar card for every obituary added to the scrapbooks they called the "Wisconsin Necrology." In addition, they frequently added catalog cards for magazine and newspaper articles about Wisconsin residents. In all, more than 1,500 publications were indexed by Wisconsin Historical Society librarians.
After more than a century of such work, the data on the original cards was typed into a database by state employees. In 2003 and 2004, 50,000 more records were added through an agreement with WISDEX: Wisconsin biography index.
Learn more on the Society's page about the Wisconsin Name Index.