Local Court Records

The court system in Wisconsin is two-tiered. There are municipal courts (which  today are typically for traffic citations, local ordinance violations and minor crimes) and county-wide, or circuit courts that handle more significant criminal violations and civil actions. The UW-Parkside Archives has records for Racine’s and Kenosha’s municipal and circuit courts, as well as some records for other municipal courts within the two counties.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the distinction between the two tiers was primarily geographical, rather than based on the magnitude of the offense. Infractions or actions of any sort that happened within the boundaries of a particular municipality were handled by that court, while all other court actions transpired at the circuit/county level.

Courts generated a variety of different documentation, including appearance and case dockets, order books, judgment books and case files. Dockets are generally fairly brief, but are often the only records of a court appearance and also act as the “front door” to more detailed materials.

Civil Court Indexes and Appearance Dockets:


Criminal Court Indexes and Appearance Dockets


Probate Case Files


If you are unable to visit our facility, we will be happy to provide you with copies of records located in our office: Please contact us with your request. It is helpful if you list your subject's name, location and dates of milestones.


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