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Milwaukee County Marriages–Digital Collection

Wisconsin has along history, especially with many immigrants settling in the region going back to the early 1800s. By the 1850s there were some 31,000 people, many of German descent, living there and it increased steady over the years. Milwaukee County along Lake Michigan today has nearly 1 million people.

The city of Milwaukee was known in the 19th century as the ‘Cream City’, not for making butter but for the cream colored bricks made from the clay in the Menomonee River. They produced some 15 million such bricks in a year and that was what built the city. The strong German heritage is also an important element in the make-up of Milwaukee.

If your family history takes you to ancestors from Milwaukee, the digital online collection available from the Milwaukee Public Library will be an essential ingredient in doing your research. Of special interest will be the marriage certificates for Milwaukee County from 1822 to 1876, again when large numbers of German immigrants arrived.

Some of the type information recorded on some of the marriage certificates include the bride’s maiden name, where the ceremony took place (church or home), the maiden names for the bride’s mother and the groom’s mother is an extra bit of information, along with place of birth for the couple. Besides the Milwaukee region, there are also certificates of marriage from some nearby areas. A surprise are the few certificates from outside the Wisconsin region, including

Cook County, Illinois; Dearborn County, Indiana and Frankfurt, Germany.

There are over 20,000 certificates covering this mid-1800s period. Click first on the upper center label of “Milwaukee Marriage Certificates”. Next use the search box in the upper right corner to place a surname. Try the groom’s surname and also try in another search the bride’s name. A reminder, the spellings could be different some 100 years ago. If a certificate is located you can enlarge the thumbnail image a couple times for easier viewing. On the computer, do a right-click ‘save as’ to have a digital copy of the certificate.

Nov. 16, 1847 marriage certificate of Henry C. Furman and Emily Green in the Wisconsin Territory.

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