Land records are a valuable asset for genealogists, home historians and even public officials like city engineers or surveyors. Property assessments and tax rolls establish exactly where individuals lived at a given time and are very useful for determining the age of a structure and chain of ownership for a building or piece of property. Maps and atlases indicate land ownership and other details like the locations of railroads, rivers, schools, churches and some businesses. Assessment and tax rolls are compiled by the local community - city, village or township - on a yearly basis, while plats and other maps were published at irregular intervals.
Property Assessments and Tax Rolls
- Racine County (Wis.). Treasurer: Tax Rolls 1849-1985
The Tax Rolls are organized by township or city. They include: owner's name, description of property, valuation of lands and improvements as fixed by the Board of Review, general property taxes (school, road, sewer, city, town, county, state, delinquent, highway, drainage, special assessment, personal property), and in later years, income taxes. This is a relatively complete set of tax rolls through 1920. After 1920, only every fifth year has been preserved, except for the city of Racine for which a complete set of rolls for the 1920's was kept and the every-fifth-year practice was begun in 1930. A property description is needed before conducting a search for an assessment.
The Racine County web site has a searchable database of Racine properties that includes property descriptions..
- Kenosha (Wis.). Clerk: Assessment and Tax Rolls 1850-1869
The Tax Rolls are organized by township or city. They include: names of owners of property, location of property by town and range or by lot and block, and assessor's valuation. Assessment rolls also show equalized value and, for some years, assessments for special harbor and railroad taxes. Tax rolls also show amount of taxes levied and, for most years, payment of taxes.
- Kenosha County (Wis.). Treasurer: Tax Rolls 1856-1980
Record of the assessed value of and the amount of taxes levied and collected on each parcel of real estate and from every individual with taxable personal property in Kenosha County. The tax roll typically gives a description of the property, the name of the owner, assessed valuation, tax levied, and a record of payments. Included are the rolls for the City of Kenosha for the years 1868-1900 and every fifth year thereafter. For the county’s townships and other municipalities the tax rolls cover 1856-1900 and every fifth year thereafter. A property description is needed before conducting a search for an assessment.
The Kenosha County web site has a searchable database of Kenosha properties that includes property descriptions.
View our online collection of Racine and Kenosha County plat maps. Each township is individually displayed and includes a link to view the section overlayed onto a Google Map.
Real Estate Deeds
- Racine County (Wis.). Register of Deeds: Grantor Indexes 1839-1886
Documents recording the conveyance of real estate -- Entries show number and type of deed, date, names of grantor and grantee, description of property, names of witnesses, amount paid, date recorded, and notarial acknowledgement. This series indexes Racine Series 88.
- Bureau of Land Management: General Land Office Records
Maintained by the Bureau for Land Management, this is an excellent site for researching the initial transfer of land from the Federal Government to the first settlers in a region. Researchers can find scanned versions of the original land patents as well as descriptions of the parcel locations. Searching is by state and last name (with the option of adding a first name if known). The BLM also maintains a database of Federal Surveys, Plats, and Field Notes available here, that includes 1837 survey maps of both Racine and Kenosha Counties. Searches can be narrowed by county, township or even range numbers and some surveys include the original field notes made by the surveyors.
- Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association County Register of Deeds information
Information on the Register of Deeds for all counties in Wisconsin including Racine and Kenosha can be found here. The Register of Deeds is responsible for documenting title registrations and changes.
Additional Resources and Considerations for Genealogists & Historians:
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.