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Wisconsin Genealogy Resources

Wisconsin Vital Records

Wisconsin Vital Records - Wisconsin issued marriage applications as early as the 1820s in some counties, although most jurisdictions began maintaining them with county organization. In 1852, the state directed the counties to record births, a mandate generally ignored. In 1878 a similar law received more attention and adherence. However, it was 1907 before the State Bureau of Vital Statistics was established.

Wisconsin State Vital Records Office allows in-person searching by appointment only.  To schedule an appointment, contact the genealogy receptionist at (608) 267-7820 between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:15 P.M. (CST), Monday through Friday.  A limited number of appointments are available and they fill up quickly.
  • Birth, death, and marriage certificates for events that occurred prior to 1907 are available for viewing at the Wisconsin State Historical Society Archives. Information on the Wisconsin State Historical Archives can be found on the Internet at http://www.shsw.wisc.edu/genealogy/vitalrecords/
     
  • Pre-1907 Wisconsin Birth Records. Search birth records by last name, first name, county, and/or birth year.
     
  • Wisconsin Genealogy Index. Search more than 150,000 Wisconsin obituaries and biographical sketches published before 1999, as well as 1,000,000 births, 400,000 deaths and 1,000,000 marriages registered before September 1907.
     

Vital Records. How to order Wisconsin vital records for both state and counties. The site provides updated information about process and costs for obtaining copies. Certified copies are only available to the person on the record or specific relatives of that person, such as parent, spouse, or grandparent. Onsite searching in the state vital records is possible with advance appointments at particular hours and on particular days.

Wisconsin Vital Records
P.O. Box 309
Madison, Wisconsin 53701-0309.

Vital records at the county level are held by the register of deeds at each county government center. Indexes and original records may be searched within established guidelines. Photocopies or certificates of county records can be obtained at the same rate schedule as the state's.

Of great value to the genealogist in Wisconsin is the statewide microfiche index to the births, deaths, and marriages recorded in the state prior to October 1907. The Wisconsin Historical Society, all Area Research Centers, and the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City hold copies of this index that has to be searched in person. The Wisconsin Historical Society Library at Madison has microfilmed copies of the actual records referred to in the index, and each Area Research Center has the microfilmed records for the counties covered by that center. Some records at the county level are not included in the statewide index. Some specific counties are not indexed for specific types of vital events, such as a marriage index for some counties. For those counties without a marriage index, the society also has microfilmed, handwritten registers, arranged chronologically by registration date, and indexed primarily by the first letter of the groom's surname.

Divorce records are usually found in the county government centers and most often in the civil court records. Post-1907 divorce decrees, although they actually contain very little genealogical information, can be located at the State Bureau of Vital Statistics. From 1836 through 1848, the territorial legislature granted the divorces listed in the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Newsletter (April 1980).

The "Wisconsin Necrology" at the Wisconsin Historical Society is a collection of several thousand selected obituaries of Wisconsin citizens (1890-1945). The obituaries are in scrapbooks that were originally indexed by a card catalog, and are now searchable online at < http://wisconsinhistory.org/wni/ >. The scrapbooks have been microfilmed and are available through interlibrary loan.

Other obituary indexes can be located in numerous local libraries and in some Area Research Centers. Some early vital records have been extracted and published in state and county genealogical periodicals.

For further information:

  • The Genealogist and the Courthouse  Using Wisconsin and Michigan Upper Peninsula Courthouses for Genealogy.
     
  • Historical Records Survey. Wisconsin. Guide to Public Vital Statistics Records. Madison, Wisconsin: Work Projects Administration, 1941. Explains laws concerning birth, marriage and death records. Lists vital records held throughout the state. Alphabetical by county, then city, town and village.
     
  • Historical Records Survey. Wisconsin.  Inventory of County Archives. 26 volumes. Madison, Wisconsin: Work Projects Administration, 1939-1942. Includes information pertaining to each county in separate volumes. Volumes include general information, county offices and their records and a bibliography. Indexed chronologically and by subject. Volumes 1-3 based on county government in Wisconsin. Volumes 4-26 individually on the counties of Barron, Buffalo, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Grant, Jackson, La Crosse, Marathon, Monroe, Oneida, Pepin, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Shawano, Sheboygan, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vernon and Waushara. World War II stopped the production of the complete set.
     
  • Historical Records Survey. Wisconsin. Origin and Legislative History of County Boundaries. Madison, Wisconsin: Work Projects Administration, 1942. Individual county boundary descriptions with outline maps, list of laws affecting county boundaries and a bibliography.
     
  • Historical Records Survey. Wisconsin. Outline of Vital Statistics Laws of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin: Work Projects Administration, 1941. Featuring Pepin County, the source includes an historical sketch, an explanation of county offices and their records. Indexed chronologically and by subject. Includes a bibliography.
     
  • Index to births as reported in the Marshfield news & Marshfield times prior to 1908 / a joint project of the Marshfield Area Genealogy Group and the Marshfield Public Library. 1st ed. Marshfield, Wis. (P.O. Box 337, Marshfield 54449) : The Group, c1998. 69, 46 p. ; 30 cm.
     
  • Lappin, Zoe von Ende. The Iron River Pioneer. Vital records, Volume 3, 1925-1943, Bayfield County, Wisconsin. Denver, Colorado: The author, n.d.

  • Wisconsin Birth Records Search

  • Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826-1926 – Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Wisconsin. FamilySearch.
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Health Statistics. Index to Registrations of Births, 1852–1907. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1979. - Arranged chronologically by the date of birth (on 41 fiche, FHL fiche 6331476; computer number 258503). Use this if you know the approximate date of birth or if the name is not found in the alphabetical index mentioned above.
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Health Statistics. Index to Registrations of Marriages, 1852-1907. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1980. 77 microfiche.
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Health Statistics. Pre-1907 Death Index by Name. Madison: Wisconsin State Historical Society, 1981. Microfiche. The Pre-1907 Death Index by Name - alphabetically arranged for the entire state (on 29 fiche, Family History Library fiche 6331472; computer number 258489). Be sure to search for spelling variations of the surname. Also available is the Death Records Index, 1959–1984 (Family History Library fiche 6334350–51; computer number 549067).
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Health Statistics. Unedited Index to Registration of Births, 1852-1907. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1979. The unedited Index to Registrations of Births, 1852–1907 - arranged alphabetically by surname (on 38 microfiche, Family History Library fiche 6331478; computer number 258488). This gives the date of birth, the county, and the volume and page number of the original record.
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Delayed Births, Ca. 1937-1941; Affidavit Delayed Births, Ca. 1940-1942. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. Microfilm.
     
  • Wisconsin. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Registration of Deaths, ca. 1862-1907. Microfilm of original records of the Bureau of Health Statistics in Madison, Wisconsin. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1981. 68 reels of microfilm.
     
  • Wisconsin. Center for Health Statistics. Death Records Index, 1959-1984. Madison, Wisconsin: Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics, 198-. Microfilm.

  • Wisconsin Death Certificates - Order death certificates online

  • Wisconsin Death Record Search

  • Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968 – Name index to death and burial records from the state of Wisconsin. FamilySearch.
     
  • The Family History Library also has a large set of birth and death records from the Register of Deeds in Milwaukee County. In the Family History Library Catalog these are listed under WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE COUNTY, MILWAUKEE - VITAL RECORDS:
     
    • Births, 1854–1911 and index, 1854–1932 (on 194 films beginning with film 1011972).
    • Deaths, 1852–1912, and index, 1872–1916 (on 109 films beginning with film 1013185).