City & County Directories
City Directories are a good starting point for most family or structural histories as they can pinpoint both a time and a place of residence. With this information additional sources, such as tax roles, court records and other documents can be utilized more effectively. Additionally, most city directories include business directories and materials detailing the government (mayor, aldermen, ward lines, etc.), public facilities (schools, parks, etc.) and active private organizations (masons, odd fellows, etc.) for a given year.
These directories were not published as a public service, however. They were published by a private company on a for profit basis—consequently directories were not published annually but rather at the publisher’s discretion. In Racine and Kenosha, this translated to only a few directories being created in the 19th century and an every other year publication schedule for the first half of the 20th century.
City Directories available in our reading room or found online:
- 1927 New Street Numbering Section [pdf]
- 1858 [pdf]
- 1875 (partial)
- 1921 until 1947 (every odd year)
- 1958 until 1993 (every year)
- 1995 until 2007 (every year except 2004)
- 1850 [pdf]
- 1858 [pdf]
- 1882 until 1885 (every year)
- 1897 (partial)
- 1912 until 1920 (every even year)
- 1921 until 1945 (every odd year)
- 1957 until 2001 (every year)
- 2003 until 2006 (every year)
Much less common than city directories, Farmers’ Directories covered an entire county except for the cities themselves. They are arranged by township and then alphabetical by last name. The entries include the name of the farm owner by section number, post office, and approximate acreage.
Farmer's Directories available in our reading room:
- 1897 - 1898 Smith’s business and farmers’ directory of Racine and Kenosha Counties. [microform] and [book]
- 1919 Prairie Farmer’s directory of Kenosha and Racine counties, Wisconsin.
- 1934 Home and farm directory of Racine and Kenosha counties.
- 1947 Kenosha County, Wisconsin complete farm directory.
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.