Statewide Wisconsin Census records that exist are 1820, 1830 (as Michigan Territory), 1840 (as Wisconsin Territory), 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (fragment, see below), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940.
There are Industry
Schedules 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The Mortality Schedules
for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The Union Veterans Schedules
exist for 1890.
The Wisconsin Historical Society holds copies of federal census records for the state of Wisconsin, as well as every other U.S. state. Original copies of the Wisconsin federal censuses for 1850, 1860, and 1870 can also be found there. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 state copies of the census also have an every-name index available at the Wisconsin Historical Society. All of the federal census records for Wisconsin can also be viewed online, along with their indexes. However, there may be some variations between the federal and state copies of the census records for certain years. Indexes of mortality schedules can be obtained through inter-library loan programs. However, there is not index available for the 1880 mortality schedules. The Works Projects Administration (WPA) indexed the Wisconsin census records from 1820 to 1870. Those records list every person in the state at the time that those censuses were taken.
On April 20, 1836, Wisconsin’s territorial government was created. At that time, sheriffs were to take enumerations of the residents of each county and send the results to the governor prior to the election taking place. Pre-printed forms were not available for that census. Instead, each sheriff wrote down the names of the heads of families by hand, along with the number of family members, their sexes, and their age ranges (split into 4 categories). As a result, each sheriff’s records varied. For example, the Crawford County sheriff listed sections for “slaves and coloured,” as well as aliens. He also placed those who were dumb, blind, or deaf in their own section. In addition to that, certain families seemed to be unusually large in the census records. For instance, the Daniel Whitney family included those who worked for Mr. Whitney in his lumber camps and sawmills.