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Census Index

1837 CENSUS INDEX, Wisconsin Territory, Jefferson County, 
Milwaukee or Milaukee Township 

756 total individuals are listed 

Compiled and Edited by Michael R. Reilly

Last Revised 03/03/2005

SURNAME INDEX:  Notes in ( ) added later
For specific name searches of this index, use the "Find" or "Search" feature of your 
This short list below was created by searching the Wisconsin Census records on, all known surnames from 1836 thru 1840 were searched using Soundex
only those below were found for 1837. 
Note: The following question was asked of the Wisconsin State Historical Society 
regarding the 1837 Census data on
I hope you can help me come up with an answer to this.

The 1837 Wisconsin State Census lists the Town of Milwaukee or Milaukee under the County of Jefferson. The inhabitants of Milwaukee County and the later formed Waukesha County are included.

Jefferson County was separated from Milwaukee County in December 1836.

Does anyone know why the 1837 Census lists residents under Jefferson rather than Milwaukee County?

Thank you,

Michael R. Reilly
Town of Lisbon, Waukesha County

From: Archives Reference [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2004 4:41 PM
To: Reilly, Mike
Subject: Re: 1837 Wisconsin State Census

Dear Mr. Reilly:
No census was conducted in 1837.  In skimming the 1838 census I notice that one page of the Milwaukee County returns is headed Jefferson County, and assume this is what you are referring to.
Jefferson County was indeed established in 1836, but was "attached" to Milwaukee county until 1839.  This means that no county government was established in Jefferson county until 1839 and until that time governmental functions for Jefferson county were carried out by Milwaukee county.  Hence residents of Jefferson county are listed in the Milwaukee County returns.
Hope this explains the situation.
Harry Miller,
   Reference Archivist
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison WI 53706-1482
fax: 608-264-6472

3/24/2004 8:58:36

Mr. Miller

Thank you for replying to my query. The basis of my question is information contained on which contains 1837 Census data unless they're totally in error or their source is. Is it possible that the Historical Society doesn't have the 1837 Census or is in the wrong? Please see their about census information below.

This collection contains the following indexes: 1820 Federal Census Index; 1821-29 Early Census Index; 1830 Federal Census Index; 1836 State Census Index; 1837 State Census Index; 1838 State Census Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1842 State Census Index; 1846 State Census Index; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1855 State Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1890 Veterans Schedule.

Source Information:
Jackson, Ronald V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp. Wisconsin Census, 1820-90. [database on-line] Provo, UT:, 1999-. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.


Besides my original question and reason behind it is, I'm trying to determine why the Township of Lisbon (now in Waukesha County) was named as such. It completely goes against any other nearby town naming rationale.

My first thought was that it was named after an early settler's home out East (New York, Maine or Connecticut), or possibly the Lisbon in Ohio. So far I've been unable to find an early settler from any of these areas.

My next thought was it was named by someone associated with the "Milwaukee & Rock River Canal Company", perhaps Byron Kilbourn. The only logic being that someone regarded the township as a potential "port" on the canal, thus linking it to the seaport of Lisbon, Portugal. Maybe yes, maybe no.

Can you tell me if early territorial legislative records exist in the archives for the following:

By act of the Territorial Legislature, approved January 2, 1838, the land included in the present towns of Lisbon, Pewaukee, Brookfield and Menomonee, was erected into the Town of Lisbon [1838 - the Town of Lisbon is formed (as a political unit ?)within the Milwaukee County Territory along with the Towns of Summit to the west), Muskego (to the southwest), and Mukwonago (to the south).

December 20, 1839 - the Town of Lisbon (which was 12 miles by 12 miles square) is split into the towns of Lisbon (Township 8 Range 19, East),  Menomonee (Township 8, Range 20, East), Pewaukee and Brookfield (each 6 miles by 6 miles square). This was approved by the Wisconsin Legislature, but not effective until after March 1, 1840.

Mr. Miller, could your statement "Jefferson County was indeed established in 1836, but was "attached" to Milwaukee county until 1839",  explain the 1837 Census that has, it there truly was a 1837 Census?

Most importantly, is there legislative evidence/records from the time period that could explain why the Town of Lisbon was named so? I'm trying to determine this for our local historical society (Sussex-Lisbon).


Michael R. Reilly

From: Archives Reference [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 10:31 AM
To: Reilly, Mike
Subject: RE: 1837 Wisconsin State Census

Dear Mr. Reilly:
The territory of Wisconsin did not conduct a census in 1837.  About that there is no doubt.
I discussed your question with our senior reference librarian, who was aware of the problem.  He feels that the problem originated with inaccurate work on the part of Accelerated Indexing Systems, whose resources were later acquired up by  His assumption, like mine, is that the 1837 citation really refers to the 1838 census.  If you would like to verity this opinion microfilm and the original 1838 schedules is available for interlibrary loan.
On the naming of Lisbon township, it is unlikely that legislative documents would specify the origin of the name.  Our library has a number of published sources on the history of WI place names.  I'm forwarding a copy of your message to Library Reference and if they have information on the origin of the name they will contact you separately.
Harry Miller,
   Reference Archivist
Wisconsin Historical Society
816 State Street
Madison WI 53706-1482

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 11:28 AM

Thank you Mr. Miller once again, and please thank your colleague for the 1837 Census information. I can now update our website information and remove or at least note the discrepancy in documentation. I may try to notify of their database error, perhaps they will at least note the possibility of an error in their documentation on Wisconsin State Census material.

I'm anxious to hear if such early Wisconsin Territory legislative records even exist. If so, I would certainly make an effort to personally attempt further research in Madison, if possible to view such material.
Michael R. Reilly



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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)