Family History and Genealogy Services

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Wisconsin Genealogy Resources

Marriage and Divorce Records

Marriage Records

Before statewide registration, individual counties recorded marriages. You can obtain copies by writing to the register of deeds or the Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services. Some records, particularly those from Brown, Crawford, Dodge, and Jefferson counties, begin as early as the 1820's.

The Family History Library has microfilm copies of many of the existing pre-1907 marriage records. Some counties have early marriage records which are not on microfilm. For example, Crawford County has marriage records that begin in 1816. The marriage records are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the county. Copies are also available at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin and the area research centers. Beginning about 1852, the marriage records generally give the names of the parents of the bride and groom. By 1881 the form asked for the parents' places of birth.

The index to these records is the Index to Registrations of Marriages, 1852–1907, which list one million names that are alphabetically arranged for counties Adams through Racine. Counties Richland through Wood are not included in the index (on 77 microfiche, FHL fiche 6331479; computer number 321176). Search for variations of the surname when using the index. The State Historical Society in Wisconsin also has this index. Also available is Indexes for Wisconsin Marriage Records, 1973–1984 (FHL fiche 6334468–9; computer number 549068).

The Family History Library has three sets of marriage records for Milwaukee County:

  • Register of Deeds marriages 1838-1911 and index 1838-1918 (on 83 FHL films beginning with film 1013949). Record come from the Milwaukee County courthouse.
  • Register of Deeds marriage certificates 1836-1876 (on 14 FHL films beginning with film 1032378). Records also come from the Milwaukee County courthouse.
  • Marriages 1837-1907 and index 1852-1907 (on 63 FHL films beginning with film 1275674 items 2–3). Records come from the Bureau for Health Statistics (see address above).

After 1907, marriage records from all counties can be obtained from the Bureau for Health Statistics (address above) or from the register of deeds of the appropriate county.

Divorce Records

Divorce proceedings are usually kept by the county clerks and circuit judges. You should contact the county courthouse for information. Also, for divorce records check:

  • Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics. Indexes for Wisconsin Divorces, 1965–1984. Madison, Wis.: State Microfilm Laboratory, ca. 1984. (On 36 FHL fiche beginning with 6334470; computer number 549069.)