The Area Research
Center (ARC) network of the Wisconsin Historical Society consists
of 14 ARC’s throughout the state. Each contains records
for their geographic region. Learn more about the ARC
Network and find the center
do I need to do before planning a visit to the ARC?
In order to get the most out of your
visit it is important that you be prepared and organized. Have a clear
idea of what you already know to be fact and what questions you hope
to have answered. Visit our Collections
page or call us to determine exactly what resources we have and whether
they might be helpful to you. Researching historical records takes
time so plan on spending long enough at the center to be effective.
Be sure to call ahead to ensure public hours before planning a visit:
(715) 425-3567. Once you get here don't be afraid to ask questions.
We're here to help you get the most out of your time.
For hours, location, and other general
information click here.
counties does the River Falls ARC cover? Do you have records for any
Our holdings focus primarily on the
four counties designated to the River Falls ARC by the Wisconsin Historical
Society: Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix. We do have miscellaneous
items, such as plat maps or written histories, that cover counties
outside of our region and in some cases, such as census records and
the pre-1907 vital statistics index, our records cover the entire
aren't your records online?
While numerous digitization projects are currently in progress
at the UW-River Falls Area Research Center (ARC) as well as the
Network, the composition and arrangement of archival records
make automation a slow and sometimes impossible process. The Wisconsin
Historical Society already has a number of searchable databases
and digitized collections such as the Roster
of WI Volunteers-War of the Rebellion, 1861-65. Through volunteers
at the US GenWeb Project, many historical and genealogical records
for Wisconsin and other states can be found online at sites such
as USGenWeb. As River Falls
ARC and University Archives materials are converted into digital
format they will be made available to our patrons online. In the
absence of online records, collection finding aids are a valuable
resource to identify archival materials.
A finding aid, also called a collectioninventory or a register, is an instrument that gives information
about a collection. A typical finding aid for a manuscript collection
will give the title of the collection; the call number; information
as to the background on the person, agency, or organization the collection
is about/from; an abstract of what is contained in the collection;
a scope note (brief synopsis) of what materials are in the collection;
a detailed description by box and folder number of the contents of
the collection; a noting of who donated the materials; and a noting
of when the collection was donated.
Finding aids are the first and best tool a researcher can use to guide
them to appropriate materials without the luxury of online records.
Finding aids are particularly useful when using large collections
stored in multiple boxes or locations. If a patron is interested in
having a large collection transferred from another ARC for research,
often times the holding ARC will send the patron a finding aid in
advance so he or she can determine which boxes/volumes are most valuable
Archival materials such as manuscripts, photographs, naturalization papers, oral histories, and diaries are unique items that often require complex citations. View examples of MLA, APA and Chicago Manual of Style citations and find citation tips here.
I borrow ARC materials?
All items housed in the archives are
non-circulating and do not loan directly to patrons. However, most
collections from the Wisconsin
Historical Society (WHS) and collections from other Area Research
Centers (ARC) can be made available to patrons across the state at
any of the 14 ARC's in the network through a library courier service.
For information about accessing materials, call (715) 425-3567 or
email the archivist.
else can I find historical records?
Historical records can be found in
many places: Area Research Centers; libraries and museums; historical
societies; courthouses; churches and cemeteries; and increasingly,
online at sites such as USGenWeb
and Ancestry.com. To search
a list of over 300 county, local and specialized historical societies
in Wisconsin, click here.
Visit our Research
Tools & Information page for additional resources.
the UW-River Falls Area Research Center (ARC) provide remote research
assistance if I am unable to visit the center?
The River Falls ARC does provide remote
research assistance for patrons who are unable to visit the center.
Before filling out a request form, please check the UW-River Falls
ARC and University Archives Collections
pages to ensure that we have sources that correspond to your
request. Keep in mind that the archives staff can do only a limited
amount of research. If your request is too broad we may suggest that
you visit the center to view the records yourself.
Research requests are answered via U.S. mail only. Please allow
4-6 weeks. The UW-River Falls ARC & University Archives does not
have a research fee at this time but photocopying and image replication
fees do apply. Donations to the center are appreciated and can be
sent directly to the River Falls ARC or made through the University
Some records are restricted as a matter
of state statute or at the request of the donor and cannot be viewed
by the public. All materials are subject to copyright.
I donate materials to the Area Research Center & University Archives?
We accept materials of historical
value that are relevent to our collections and not already owned by
the Wisconsin Historical
Society (WHS) or the UW-River Falls University Archives. If you
are interested in donating records, contact
the archivist to arrange an evaluation. If a donation is accepted,
you will be asked to complete a deed of gift. In most cases, the deed
transfers ownership of the items to the WHS or to the university,
although the donor has the right to impose use restrictions on the
materials and can retain copyright to applicable items.
is the 1930 the most recent census you hold?
The 1930 Census, released April 1,
2002, is the most recent federal census released to the public. Certain
aggregate data is released from the Census Bureau without delay. However,
a 72-year waiting period is imposed on the public release of federal
census records in an effort to protect individual privacy. Hence,
the 1940 federal census will be released in 2012; the 1950 census
in 2022, and so on. The UW-River Falls ARC holds the 1930 census for
Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix Counties. For more information
about the 1930 census click here.
Visit our Research
Tools & Information page for additional information regarding
do I research my family tree?
The Wisconsin Historical Society has
compiled a list of genealogy
tools as well as a step-by-step outline
for beginners to family research. Ancestry.com
and Rootsweb also have good
quality tutorials but a subscription fee is required to access many
of the materials. USGenWeb
is a volunteer-run website dedicated to compiling free state-by-state
records that genealogists will find useful. Family group sheets are
one of several tools used by genealogists to compile and organize
data. To download your own pedigree charts, ancestral charts, family
group sheets and more, click here.
See our Research Tools & Information
page for more information and additional resources.
do I preserve my family treasures?
A few simple and inexpensive steps
can help preserve your family treasures whether they be documents,
photographs or textiles. The most important precaution you can take
is to keep your treasured items away from heat, moisture and light,
all of which can quickly lead to deterioration. Two of the best sources
for information on preservation can be found at the U.
S. National Archives and the Minnesota
the Archivist talk to my group about historical research?
Tours or instructional sessions with
high school and college classes as well as historical societies and
other civic groups can be arranged. Email the archivist
or call (715) 425-3567.