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Madison Public Library has the Wisconsin State Journal from 1866 to present and the Capital Times from 1917 to present. These two papers often serve as the only source of obituaries for the Dane County area.

Obituaries can be obtained three ways:

  • Recent obituaries from the current year can be viewed, many without images, at the Wisconsin State Journal web site.
  • Obituaries before the current year can be obtained by browsing the newspaper microfilm or can be requested (with a two-week date range) by phone, mail, or email.
  • Obituaries from 10/9/1852 to present may be obtained by accessing NewspaperArchive (1852-1977) or US Newsstream (1995-present). There are some significant gaps in coverage, and the format varies from text-only to images of newspaper clippings. A valid library card is needed to access NewspaperArchive outside of the library.
    • Tip for searching NewspaperArchive when you don't know the exact date when an obituary was published: Wisconsin State Journal obituaries dating 1960 to present are indexed in the LINKcat Newspaper Index, a useful tool to help you narrow down the issue and page number where a particular obituary is located:
      1. From the drop-down menu at the top of the screen, select "Subject" instead of "Keyword."
      2. Type in the name of the deceased
      3. Select the result that most closely matches the name and date you're looking for (if there are no matching results, contact us for assistance!)
      4. Look to the "Publisher and Date" and "Description" for the newspaper, date, and section or page number where the obituary was printed. Note: You will not be able to access the actual article here. The index only contains information about where articles are located.
      5. Go to NewspaperArchive to access the article using the date and page number information found in the LINKcat Newspaper Index

We will obtain obituaries for people with the following criteria:

  • You must provide the name of the person who died.
  • You must provide a date of death, or date range of two weeks.
  • You must provide your own name, mailing address, phone number, and email address (if applicable).
  • You agree to our fax/mail policy (if applicable).

To request an obituary be sent to you, please call us at 608-266-6300 or use our email reference form. If charges apply, please send a request with payment to Madison Public Library; Attn: RUS Office-obit; 201 W. Mifflin St.; Madison WI 53703 with a check made payable to Madison Public Library

Fax/mail policy


For persons within the South Central Library System the first five pages will be sent free and additional pages cost $1 each payable in advance or charged to a valid SCLS library card.

For persons outside the South Central Library System, a $6.00 per page fee applies. Material can be mailed, faxed, or scanned and sent via email. The fees must be paid in advance. Your local library may be able to obtain the material for you through Interlibrary Loan. Any charges for this would be determined by your local library.

Additional staff charges may apply beyond these limits, or you may be referred elsewhere

If charges apply, please send a request with payment to Obituary Request, Central Reference Department; Madison Public Library; 201 W. Mifflin St.; Madison WI 53703 with a check made payable to Madison Public Library.


The copyright law of the U.S. governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproductions are not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law.