Genealogical Materials in the University Archives

The UW-Madison Archives may have genealogical information on former faculty, staff and students. If your ancestor was not connected to the University of Wisconsin- Madison, we do not have any information about them. Please contact the Wisconsin Historical Society for other genealogical material

We have a wide selection of secondary source material about UW- Madison students and staff. If you cannot do your research in person, we offer a reference service. The charge for this service is $20.00 an hour. Please contact us by mail or e-mail if you are interested in this service.

To determine date of graduation

1. Order a copy of a transcript from the Office of the Registrar at:

2. Search the Alumni Directory, 1849-1919, available at or in paper in the University Archives Reference Collection

3. Search the annual commencement programs and registers, 1856-1952, Series 5/00/5/1. These chronological programs of graduates by college and degree, list graduates' names, home town, degree and title of thesis (if one was done)

4. Search the undergraduate Class Albums, Series 0/2/3, 1872-77, 1880, 1882-1888, 1890, with photographs and often biographical data about individuals in graduating class. These have now been digitized and can be searched as part of the University of Wisconsin Collection.

5. Search the All-Alumni Directory, published by the Wisconsin Alumni Association in 2000. Available in the University Archives Reference Collection.

To determine dates of attendance

1. Contact the Office of the Registrar at 608 262-3811 or

2. Search the annual student directories, 1888-current, Series 5/00/2. The directories list the student's name, major or college/school, and campus address. Earlier directories, beginning in 1853, are with the university catalogs, Series 5/00/1.

3. Search the Badger yearbook, 1885-present, Series 20/1/1/00/2. The yearbooks details seniors, athletics, fraternities, sororities, activities and social life at UW-Madison. It was optional to have a graduation photograph in the yearbook. The early yearbooks did not have indexes. Prior to 1932, the yearbooks were edited by the Junior Class, so a 1910 graduate would appear in the 1911 yearbook. The Badger is online and searchable through 2009 at: Use the pull down menu to search only the Badger, or you can search all of the online materials, including the Badger, the Alumni Magazine, the 4 volume history of the University, etc.

To determine course work

1. Check undergraduate catalogs, 1849-current, Series 5/00/1. The catalogs list course descriptions, information about the university and faculty. Early years also include staff and student directories.

For student biographical information

1. Search Series 20/0/1 Index, this small collection of student biographical material contains scattered biographical information for past students.

2. Search the Alumni Magazine, Series 21/00/2, at: Use the pull down menu to search only the Alumni Magazine, or also search Badger yearbook, Wisconsin Engineer, etc. The Alumni Magazine often contained notices of engagements, marriages, new jobs and deaths.

3. Check admissions papers, Series 19/12/2/1, available after death or 75 years from last attendance; . These usually contain name, address, nationality and occupation of parent/guardian, and high school transcripts. We have admissions papers dating from the 1880s, although the early ones are not complete.

To document student life on campus

1. Search the chronological memorabilia collection, Record Group 1.

2. Search the Badger yearbook, Series 20/1/1/00/2 (see above).

3. Search the Daily Cardinal (beginning in 1892), Series 20/1/1/00/1, or Badger Herald (beginning in 1969), Series 20/1/2/00/14. Available on microfilm in the University Archives. Some newspapers are also available bound--these may not be photocopied. Copies can be made from the microfilm.

4. Search the student scrapbook collection, 1882-1953. Series 20/0/2. These scrapbooks, compiled by students, document events important to the average student. They contain clippings, souvenirs and photographs of student life at UW-Madison. See the finding aid for more information

5. Check Record Group 19 or 20 for records of student organizations.

6. Search the online photograph collection: Click on: Search the collection. These 2300 photos are a very small sampling of the photographs in the University Archives.

7. Look at the other digital sources from the University Archives listed on the Online Sources for UW History page:

To document participation in reunions

1. Search Record Group 21, 1879-1993, Alumni Association records.

For information on faculty, staff, regents, or honorary degree recipients

1. The faculty and staff Biographical File collection contains information on over 6000 people. See paper alphabetical index in the University Archives or at

2. Staff directories, 1888-current, Series 5/00/2, list name, campus address and departmental information. Early directories often also list city address. Earlier staff directories are included with the university catalog.

3. Faculty Employment Cards, 1848-1950, Series 1/9, detail name, position held and salaries.

4. Budgets; 1894-1971, Series 24/0/2, 1971-current, Series 40/00/40, budget by division and department, more recent budgets have indexes. The last 2 years of the budget are available online if you are at any UW System campus computer at:

Other campus resources:

Short Course graduate information, 105 Agriculture Hall, 1450 Linden Drive, Madison, WI, 53706.

Wisconsin Alumni Association, 650 N. Lake St., Madison, WI 53706-1476, 608 262-2551, (888) WIS-ALUM

Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives, 816 State St. Madison, WI 53706. Information about their genealogical holdings is available at: