Milwaukee County Genealogical Society

Death Notices and Obituaries

INDEX - ABC sort of groups with direct links
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From Reporter, Vol. 54, No. 2, May 2023, pages 35-36:
Milwaukee County Genealogical Society Death Notices/Obituary Files Project and the History of the Family Files
By Susan Chapman — 2nd Vice President/Budget at Milwaukee County Genealogical Society arranged for Iron Mountain company to pick up ninety-one boxes of MCGS Death Notices/ Obituary Files on March 1, 2023, from the storage area of Milwaukee Public Library Central. The boxes were being transported to their Cudahy storage warehouse. FamilySearch is arranging for the digitalization of these records, which they estimate is probably over one million records, and in the future these records will be available online in the “Images” collection at and MCGS will be provided with  the digital files.
What is the background of this project?
At the April 22, 2022 board meeting, Milwaukee Public Library librarian Kirsten Thompson reported that there were about fifty boxes of previously microfilmed death notices/obits stored in a Milwaukee Public Library storage room, which was slated to be remodeled. The library was requesting the society to remove these boxes from storage. Knowing these records were microfilmed, the society considered giving permission to discard these boxes, but also considered several digital scanning options. On May 10, 2022, Kirsten arranged for the board to view the boxes in storage. Dee Howard, consulted Bob Heck, about the possibility of FamilySearch digitalizing the records. Susan Chapman followed Bob’s advice and on May 18, 2022 contacted the preservation services through FamilySearch online. The society was contacted by FamilySearch and online meetings were held with Kirsten Thompson, Susan Chapman and Dee Howard, to arrange a contract that was signed October 29, 2022 with FamilySearch for the project. Then the physical work began.
Exactly forty-six boxes of death notices/obits were located in the storage room. Twenty-seven file drawers of obits in the Humanities Room, were packed into thirty-six boxes by Kirsten, Susan and Dee. A special thank you to Kirsten, for doing all the heavy lifting to transport the boxes to the storage room! The next step was to tackle all the files stored in the MCGS library workspace. For the past twenty years, obits had been collected in various boxes, files drawers and cabinets in the workspace. A thorough search was done of the workspace by Susan, with help from Dee Howard and Karen Jegen, to find, sort, file and box all these death notices/obits, which were packed into nine boxes, and then taken to the storage room.
While a couple of MCGS members worked to prepare these records for transport, countless MCGS members have contributed to this project over the years. I am sure, they never imagined that this collection would be able to be viewed online by the public. Thanks to FamilySearch this dream is becoming a reality.
What is the history of the Family Files?
Milwaukee County  Genealogical Society was founded in July 1935. Forty years later, it was reported in the May 1976 MCGS Reporter, that the Family Files, formerly located in a staff only area, had been moved into one file cabinet in the Local History Room. Today, that room is called the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room of the Milwaukee Public Library Central. The Family Files were described as arranged alphabetically by surname, and in these files there contained a potpourri of material placed there by our members, including everything from penciled research notes to copies of documents. It was again reported in the May 1991 MCGS Reporter, that the Family Files included obits, death notices and other family information. Reference was also made to Subject Files and three-ring binders of pedigree charts.
From the 2002 “Surname Index – Milwaukee County Genealogical Society Death Notices/Obits 1930s(?) – June 20, 1992” prepared by Mary Graves, Jean Hinz and Monica Schilter.
Introduction—Origin of clippings
When the Milwaukee Public Library closed its Humanities Room in July of 1992 for remodeling, it removed all materials from the room. This included the contents of the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society’s Family Files: obituaries and death notices, articles clipped from the newspapers by its members and friends since the early 1930’s as well as family histories and subject files. T he obituaries and death notices were taken from the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and some other local papers. Members later donated articles from other Wisconsin newspapers and even from out-of-state papers. Some of these predate 1930. 
In 1992 the Society asked some of its members to prepare the obituary and death notice clippings for microfilming. Many members working at home and at the Library pasted the articles on individual sheets of paper. The articles were loosely arranged by surname in alphabetical order, usually of the deceased’s name at time of death. However, there are some arranged by a woman’s maiden name. The arrangement is not strictly alphabetical.
Member Janet Geronime microfilmed the articles. The pages were filmed as pasted, without page numbers.
Thirty-four reels of microfilm were presented to the Milwaukee Public Library in April 2002.
The volunteers prepared a surname index using their own laptop computers. This paper printout of the index was presented to the Library in April 2002.
The introduction to the microfilm states that the surname index was also microfilmed, but as of April 2002 it had not yet been filmed.
Newer Files
When the Humanities Room was reopened January 1993 the Society returned the family histories and subject files to the new Family File cabinets and  again began to collect obituaries and death notices. The original obituary and death notice articles  were not returned. The microfilm was placed in the Periodicals Room.
With the increased availability of computerized newspaper indexes, in January 2002 the Society’s Board of Directors decided to stop adding materials  to the obituary and death notice files.
Humanities were renamed the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room in 1997 in honor of Milwaukee’s mayor and long-time friend of the Milwaukee Public Library Frank P. Zeidler.
In April 2002 the files were still in place and the Society was considering measures to preserve them.
2023 MCGS “Family Files” Available at Milwaukee Public Library
Family Files and Subject Files are located in file cabinets in Humanities Room. Five more boxes of f iles, from in the MCGS workspace area, will be placed in Humanities Room, after they are sorted, f iled and indexed. Donations by MCGS members, to the family files, will be accepted by librarians at the Humanities Room desk, during library hours. The library maintains “Indexes to the Milwaukee County Genealogical Society’s Family Files” on their website at: files.php
Death Notices/Obits Files are currently located only on 34 reels of microfilm with associated surname index at Milwaukee Public Library Central Periodicals Desk. In the future, the complete collection, will be available in the “Images” collection on
Pedigree Charts were published in books and available in Humanities Room
Thank You
The Milwaukee County Genealogical Society would like to give special thanks to MPL librarian Kirsten Thompson for all her help with the obituary project. And thank you to all the past Milwaukee County Genealogical Society members that collected the obituaries over the years. And thank you to for digitalizing the estimated one million death notices/obits. 

From Reporter, Vol. 54, No. 4, Novmeber 2023, page 106:
MCGS Death Notice/Obituary Project is Now on!
By Karen Jegen
)ur death notice/obituary project is beginning to appear on-line on The death notices were clipped and collected by MCGS members between 1930 -1992. They were stored in ninety-two banker boxes in the basement of the Central Milwaukee Public Library (MPL). When MPL wanted to renovate the basement area they asked us to please move the boxes. Susan Chapman contacted the FamilySearch office in Salt Lake City. FamilySearch agreed to digitize the contents of all 92 boxes at no cost to us. More on the history of this project can be found in the May 2023 issue of the MCGS Reporter. 
The boxes include clippings from newspapers all over the state but mostly from Milwaukee County. Even a few out of state clippings are included, whatever our past members contributed. T he clippings are not indexed and can only be found by browsing the Image Groups. They are roughly alphabetical inside each Image Group. Each Image Group has 90-115 pages. Usually only one surname  is on each page.  
An uncommon surname may only have one clipping on the page and a page with a common surname may have as many as ten. As of this printing all have not been scanned, so far there are 609 Image Groups. Here is the link to the familysearch page: https:// Society&page=1
To get a listing like the one shown here, use the OPTIONS box on the page and only check Image Group and Volume. This will make it easier to find the group you want to look at. As you can see, the Groups are not in alphabetical order.  Also, each group is not all inclusive. For example, the first group shown here ends in SHI but another group may start with SHI. Browse the Image Group page by page. As I said before, the alphabetizing is rough.
Note that married females will usually appear on a page with their maiden name, so we suggest checking both surnames. We hope that when the scanning is complete, the names will be indexed. We will try to update you whenever more images have been added.