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Genealogy Research Guide: Resources at the UW-Superior Archives

Find out what types of genealogy resources you can find in the UW-Superior Special Collections.

Contact the Archives

Mailing Address:
Jim Dan Hill Library Special Collections
University of Wisconsin-Superior
Belknap and Catlin
P.O. Box 2000, Superior, WI 54880

Location: 907 N 19th St
View Staff Directory

Basic Genealogy Resources

Basic genealogy resources at the UW-Superior Archives:

  • Pre-1907 vital records from Douglas and Washburn Counties
  • Naturalization documents filed in Douglas and Washburn Counties, including Declarations of Intent, Petitions to Naturalize, and Naturalization Records
  • City Directories from Duluth and Superior dating from 1902 (some years are missing)
  • City of Superior Special Census, 1891
  • National Census, City of Superior, 1900
  • Washburn County Jail Registers, 1889-1939
  • Superior Lockup Registers, 1891-1938

Wondering if we have a type of record not listed here? Check our FAQs or email us at

Wisconsin Historical Society Finding Aids

Finding Aids are available for many Wisconsin Historical Society Materials, including some held at the Superior ARC. To see finding aids for collections held here, select "Search" and then Limit to: UW-Superior Jim Dan Hill Library / Superior Area Research Ctr.

What Are Vital Records?

Vital records are official records of birth, death, marriage, divorce, and domestic partnerships. The Wisconsin Historical Society provides a searchable index of pre-1907 vital records for the state of Wisconsin.

Post-1907 Wisconsin vital records are in permanent retention by the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, and are NOT held by the county or by the Wisconsin Historical Society. By state statute, the WI Vital Records Office requires a written application and a fee for searching for any vital record. They do not provide free searches.

What Are City Directories?

City Directories are annual bound volumes which list the names and addresses of people residing in a city during a particular year. Older City Directories also list residents' occupations. They can be very useful for learning where someone was living, who was living with them, and how they were employed.

The UW-Superior Archives has City Directories for Superior and Duluth dating from 1902, with some volumes missing.

Norwegian Sailors on the Great Lakes

Cover of Norwegian Sailors on the Great Lakes

If your ancestor was a sailor of Norwegian decent, and worked on the Great Lakes before 1928, you may be able to find information about him in Norwegian Sailors on the Great Lakes: A Chapter in the History of American Inland Transportation by Knut Gjerset. This book is available in the UW-Superior Special Collections.