Researching Older Homes in Reedsburg

There are many resources available to find out information about an historic structure. Fortunately many of these records are readily available here in Reedsburg Public Library.

Start Simply: Check out how your house was built and what type of building materials used. Housing design and architectural styles have changed dramatically over the years. The style and materials are valuable clues to discovering when your home was likely built, what substantial changes it has endured, and how well off the original inhabitants were.

Genealogical Links: You can use many of the same tools you would use to track down your family tree to track down the histories of the people who lived in or built your home. To get started, ask family members, neighbors or others in the community for stories and remembrances about the neighborhood, the house or the people who lived there.

Reedsburg Intensive Survey-1983: This survey includes information on Reedsburg homes highlighted as samples of architectural styles or the homes of prominent citizens. The survey is housed at the Library with index available at 977.576.

Reedsburg Newspapers: Information on a house's history can often be found in the newspapers of the day. Within the library's collection of microfilmed newspapers you may find information about the date a house was built, it's builder or notable events in the lives of the home's residents.

City and County Directories: City Directories and County Directories were published in several years, beginning in 1890. The directories include a variety of information about properties and residents. They may be used to research changes in street names and numbering.

Reedsburg Birds' Eve Drawing: A "birds' eye" drawing of Reedsburg was made in 1874 showing the location, size and development of most buildings in and around the city at that time from a unique perspective.

Published Histories: Several county histories have been written over the years. These works include biographies as well as information on homes, businesses and schools. Sauk County histories can be found at 977.576. A Souvenir of Reedsburg's Beautiful Residences was published in 1912. Recently published Walking Tour brochures include historical information about selected residences, neighborhoods and prominent citizens.

Census Records: The Federal Census is taken every 10 years, beginning in Sauk County in 1850. A Wisconsin State Census is taken every 10 years, beginning in 1855 in Sauk County. The censuses give a variety of household information, including the number and ages of people in the home, nationally, occupation and the presence of boarders or servants. Census records for the Reedsburg area are available on microfilm. You may also be able to access Census information via the Library's online subscriptions to Ancestry Library and Heritage Quest.

Tax Assessment Rolls (19th Century): Tax rolls can be helpful for showing ownership of property and changes in value from year to year. Unfortunately, it is not known where many of Reedsburg's historical tax records are. The 1914 and 1924 Tax rolls are available in the Library's Local History Room. Please ask for assistance.

Property Abstract/Courthouse deed records: The property abstract is a list of all the owners of the property from the time it was platted until the most recent purchase. If you don't have a copy of your property abstract, you may obtain one from the Sauk County Register of Deeds.

Sanborn Maps: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Company mapped the City of Reedsburg in 1885,1892,1898,1904,1913,1927 and 1933. The maps show the areas the company covered in each year and show an outline of structures on each property, as well as the primary building material and lot lines. Black and white copies of the maps are available on microfilm. A set of the original color maps is available at the State Historical Society.

Additional information about your Reedsburg home may be found at the Reedsburg Public Library or at the State Historical Society.