Research and Collections

Discovering your family’s history is an amazing journey.

Census records, newspaper articles, photographs, and other artifacts hold the keys to a past we can only imagine. Our local history archives from throughout Manitowoc County, Wisconsin may be able to help you in your search. All together, the collection includes 10,000 3-D artifacts, 16,000 document records, and 25,000 photographs that document Manitowoc County history. Click here for more information about donating items to the collection.


Research at the museum

The Manitowoc County Historical Society welcomes researchers, and can also perform research on an individual's behalf. Please read the following for more information about the research process:

  • Please contact a volunteer research assistant (see contact info below) with your research topic or question, so we can assess if we have relevant research materials. Research requests must be made in written form, either through a letter or our online form below.

  • We cannot accept drop-ins. Please schedule a research appointment at least 1 week in advance.

  • Because of the number of requests we receive and our limited staff and volunteer resources, we must charge a fee for our services beyond the initial 30 minutes of research. You may either schedule an appointment to come and do research on-site, or you may contract with us from off-site to do research on your behalf.

For inquiries, image use, or to schedule a research appointment contact: 

Manitowoc County Historical Society Archives

(920) 684-4445


Family History and GENEALOGY

In addition to complied local history books and artifacts, our archives includes many materials that may help in your family history search. These materials include:

  • Manitowoc County plat books for family owned land

  • Manitowoc County immigration dates and declarations from 1848 to 1929

  • Manitowoc County cemetery lists

  • Manitowoc County Civil War veterans biographies

  • Compiled village and town histories

  • Various church records including: St. Wendel, St. Isidore, St. Fidelis, St. Patrick

  • City and county directories beginning in 1864

  • Various one-room school materials, attendance records, and yearbooks. 

  • A collection of early Manitowoc newspapers is also available for limited examination and referencing.

  • Thousands of images and documents for our County's cities, towns, and rural villages.

  • Local business records and documentation

  • Donated scrapbooks

  • Oral histories have also been collected and are available in various formats on a wide-range of subjects. 

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“preserving the past” local history stories

Images from the collection are available for personal or commercial uses. All use of Museum collections are regulated through use agreements and a fee structure.

The Manitowoc County Historical Society formally published a successful monograph series. You can find digital archives of the monographs using the link below.


Online photo collection

The Manitowoc County Historical Society collects and preserves thousands of artifacts, documents, and images to help us share Manitowoc County’s stories and help you connect to the community and its history. The vast majority of the collection is not yet online, but through this portal you can access many of the most significant, exciting, and popular materials in the Museum's collection. Search by key word or simply browse the collection items featured here.

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Image Rights, Reproduction, and Use

Images from the collection are available for personal or commercial uses. All use of Museum collections are regulated through use agreements and a fee structure.


making a donation to the archives

Thank you for considering the Museum as a location to preserve your collection or heirloom. 

Click here to learn more about this process.