Evolution of Wisconsin Counties


Good afternoon. Recently I was in the Mineral Point, WI., “The Foundry Books”. A small bookstore, privately owned but for those who like to find small treasures, it is wonderful!

I found some small items to assist in my genealogical service for you.

Some 20 years ago, two women whose great-great-grandparents (paternal side) Zastrow came to settle in Wisconsin in mid-1800s, put together a wonderful resource of our 72 counties with township relationships, along with history of county formations and information on earliest registration of vital records: Birth, Marriage and Death. I thank the authors Wendy and Linda for taking the time to put together this valuable information.

In the beginning, prior to 1836 there was the Wisconsin Territory: present Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and parts of the Dakotas. {Of course I recognize that our Native American populations have been in these locations for centuries before these type of Western Divisions were put on paper.} By 1836 Wisconsin by itself had 4 counties: Crawford, Iowa, Brown and Milwaukee. Each of these were great areas of land that incorporated areas divided by the Mississippi to Wisconsin River, and the Wisconsin River to Lake Michigan. By the time we became a state in 1848, Wisconsin had about 31 counties and then 58 counties in 1860 to final 72 counties in 1961.

Evolution of Wisconsin Counties

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