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House History & Land Records

Records for Jefferson, Rock and Walworth Counties

Sanborn Maps®

Sanborn Maps® are a uniform series of large-scale detailed maps, dating from 1867 through 1969 and depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of cities. The maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property.

These color-coded maps illustrate in outline form the site, size, shape, construction and building material of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories. Details of buildings include firewalls, the location and number of windows and doors, style and composition of roofs, wall thickness, cracks in exterior walls, and elevators. The maps also indicate building use, sidewalk and street widths, layout and names, property boundaries, distance between buildings, house and block numbers, location of water mains, hydrants, piping, wells, cisterns, and fuel storage tanks.
(Source: Marriott Library, University of Utah)

The Area Research Center has the Sanborn Maps® for Wisconsin for 1884-1950 on microfilm, and Whitewater, Walworth County, Wisconsin, for 1904, 1912, 1924, 1937 and 1948; and Palmyra, Jefferson County, Wisconsin, for 1949 in print format.

For more information on Sanborn Maps®, visit the Wisconsin Historical Society's Map and Atlas Collection page.

County plat maps

Jefferson County
1862, 1887, 1899, 1917, 1919, 1941, 1947, 1950, 1955, 1966, 1976, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1996

Rock County
Digitized Rock Co. Plat Map (1858), 1873, 1891, 1917, 1924, 1940, 1950, 1970, 1974, 1981
Land Atlas & Plat Book, 1992 (Call Number: SpCol G 1418 .R6 R62 1992)

Walworth County
1857, digitized Walworth Co. Plat Map (1857), 1873, 1891, 1907, 1921, 1947, 1949, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980-1982, 1996

Bird's Eye Views

Fort Atkinson, Jefferson County, 1870
Lake Geneva, Walworth County, 1882
Whitewater, Walworth County, 1870 and 1885

City Directories

Jefferson County, various communities, 1980-2003
Janesville, Rock County, 1919, 1923, 1925, 1943, 1946, 1948, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965-1989, 1992, 1996-1999
Rock County, various communities, 1986-1995, (For additional years, contact Rock County Historical Society.)
Whitewater, Walworth County, 1895, 1902, 1916, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1973, 1975-1976, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1987-1989.

Tax and Assessment Rolls

Jefferson County
Johnson Creek Assessment and Tax rolls, 1906, 1911, 1950, 1955, 1960, 1965
Palmyra Tax rolls, 1975-1980
Town of Sullivan, Assessment rolls, 1849-1960
Watertown Assessment rolls, 1850-1965

Walworth County Tax rolls
1849-1912 in print, 1913-1965 only in microfilm, and tax rolls for 1970, 1975, 1980 and 1985 in print


Jefferson County, 1838-1902 (no mortgage documents) on microfilm
Rock County, 1839-1901 on microfilm.
Walworth County, 1839-1902 on microfilm

The Whitewater Register, Whitewater's Weekly Newspaper

1860-1873 miscellaneous issues, 1976-present (Location: Archives)
1857-1999 (Location: Periodicals Microfilm)
2000-present (Location: Current Newspapers)

Online Resources

Wisconsin's Historic Buildings
The Wisconsin Historical Society's Historic Preservation Division's website has information on historic buildings in Wisconsin, a guide to researching old buildings, the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory (AHI) and more.

Selected Bibliography for Further Research

Blumenson, John J. G. Identifying American Architecture. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1977, 1981.

*Carley, Rachel. The Visual Dictionary of Domestic Architecture. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1994.

*Light, Sally. House Histories: A Guide to Tracing the Genealogy of Your Home. New York: Golden Hill Press, 1993.

*McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide to American Houses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.

*Noble, Allen G., and Richard K. Cleek. The Old Barn Book. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

*Phillips, Steven J. Old House Dictionary: An Illustrated Guide to American Domestic Architecture, 1600-1940. Lakewood, CO: American Source Books, 1989.

Poppeliers, John. C., S. Allen Chambers, Jr., and Nancy B. Schwartz. What Style Is It?. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press, 1983.

*Weeks, Kay D., and Anne E. Grimmer. The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties: with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, 1995.

*Titles held by Andersen Library


Andersen Library
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
800 West Main Street
Whitewater, WI 53190-1790

Contact the Library

Circulation Desk: 262-472-5511
Reference Desk: 262-472-1032