How to Find Wisconsin Birth RecordsEdit This Page

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How to Find United States Births Gotoarrow.png Wisconsin Gotoarrow.png Wisconsin Births

In 1848, Wisconsin was created a state from Wisconsin Territory. The state directed the counties in 1852 to record births, but the directive was largely ignored. Another law was established in 1878 which garnered more support. Statewide registration of births began in 1907.

Next Step: When did the birth occur?

Birth Records
Choose a time period:

Learn more about U.S. Birth Records

Births before 1852

Wisconsin did not record births at this time. Before 1852, no births were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place.

  Records that give birth information:
Death Records
Cemetery Records
Newspapers
Church Records
Census
Military Records
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1853 thru 1907

  • 1852 - Wisconsin law required counties to record births, but this was largely ignored.
  • 1878 - Wisconsin law required counties to records births. This met with better compliance.
  • 1907 - Wisconsin Statewide birth registration began


If you cannot locate your ancestor in the databases below, try searching for birth information in other records.

For births that exist during the time period, try the following databases.

Wisconsin Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1820-1907 - At FamilySearch.org Free: Index of births from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services in Madison
Try 2nd:
1826-1926 - At FamilySearch.org Free: Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Wisconsin. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information
Return to top: Choose another birth year


Births from 1907 to Present

STEP ONE: Find Birth Information

Limited births maybe found in the following databases. Try each link. If you do not find your ancestor's birth or if you want order a copy of the certificate, then contact the Wisconsin State Bureau of Vital Statistics office.

Wisconsin Births Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1820-1907 Free: Index of births from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services in Madison.
Try 2nd:
1826-1926 - At FamilySearch.org Free:Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Wisconsin. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Next try:
Ancestry database: Includes Index Only

Choose one of the following:

Wisconsin Births, 1820-1907
Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries: Find your local FamilySearch Center

Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1826-1908
Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries: Ancestry is often available for free through your local public library
Can't access Ancestry? Go to Step Two: Part B listed below. You may be able to order the birth record for your ancestor from the Wisconsin State Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Can't find your ancestor in the online index? Tips for searching online indexes
No birth record for your ancestor? Other records with birth information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate

PART A: You know the exact date of birth

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Birth Certificates
From County of Birth From Wisconsin State Bureau of Vital Statistics
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use Offers a search of the state index for an additional fee May be more expensive than ordering from the county

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

PART B: You don't know the exact date of birth

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the Wisconsin State Bureau of Vital Statistics will do any five-year period in the following single-year indexes as one search:

  • October 1, 1907 through 1947

Can search either one of the following multi-year indexes as one search:

  • Earliest filed records through September 1907;1948 to the present.

See list of restrictions for ordering birth records

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year



Restrictions for Obtaining Birth Records

State law restricts who may obtain a certified copy of a birth certificate. A certified copy may be issued to:


  • The person named on the record
  • The current spouse of the person named on the record
  • The current domestic partner of the person named on the record
  • A parent of the person named on the record
  • A sibling of the person named on the record
  • A child of the person named on the record
  • A grandparent of the person named on the record
  • A person authorized in writing by one of the above. The written authorization must accompany the request and the relationship of the authorizing party to the subject of the record must be clearly explained.
  • A person who can demonstrate that the record is required to protect a personal or property right.

If you do not meet one of the above criteria, you cannot receive a certified copy of a birth certificate.

An uncertified copy of a birth certificate is available to anyone who applies. An uncertified copy will contain the same information as a certified copy but will not be acceptable for legal purposes, such as obtaining identification.

If you do not want to order the birth record, you can search other records with birth information.

Return to top: Choose another birth year


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  • This page was last modified on 9 July 2014, at 23:40.
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