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Contents

Introduction to Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records.

Vital records in Wisconsin are maintained at both the state and the county level. The Wisconsin Vital Records Office in Madison maintains a centralized registry of vital records. County registrars also maintain copies of vital records. Copies may be obtained from either the Wisconsin Vital Records Office or the Register of Deeds office in the county where the event occurred.

Wisconsin Pre 1907 Vital records Indexes Collections on fiche:


Birth Records

Birth Records Before 1907

A few counties began keeping birth records in the 1850s, but most records date from the 1870s or later. Search the Wisconsin Genealogy Index for pre-1907 births, deaths, and marriages.

Microfilms of the records through 1907 have been deposited at the at Wisconsin Historical Society and the area research centers listed on the "Archives and Libraries" page.



The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the Registrations of Births, ca. 1852 to 1907. Consult the county pages for the records FHL Collection. Most counties begin in the 1870s. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:

WISCONSIN - VITAL RECORDS

Birth certificates generally give both parents' names and their places of birth.

There are three indexes to these records. Copies of these indexes are at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the area research centers, and the Family History Library. These are:

  • Unedited Index to Registrations of Births, 1852–1907, arranged alphabetically by surname FHL Collection 6331478. This gives the date of birth, the county, and the volume and page number of the original record.
  • Index to Registrations of Births, 1852–1907, arranged chronologically by the date of birth. 41 fiche, Family History Library fiche FHL Collection 6331476. Use this if you know the approximate date of birth or if the name is not found in the alphabetical index mentioned above.

The Family History Library also has a large set of birth and death records from the Register of Deeds in Milwaukee County. In the FamilySearch Catalog these are listed under:

WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE COUNTY, MILWAUKEE - VITAL RECORDS:
  • Births, 1854–1911 and index, 1854–1932. 194 films beginning with film FHL Collection 1011972.

Birth Records Since 1907

Statewide registration of births began in 1907. The Family History Library does not have copies of these records, although it does have several indexes. Copies can be obtained by writing to:

Wisconsin Vital Records Office
1 West Wilson St.
P. O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309
Telephone: 608-266-1372
Internet: Wisconsin Vital Records

The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are listed on the web page of the Wisconsin Vital Records Office.

Delayed Birth Records

Delayed registrations of births began in 1937. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog as Delayed Births, ca. 1937–1941; Affidavit Delayed Births, ca. 1940–1942. {{FHL|88741|item}| 1305612 item 2. The records to 1942 are located at the Wisconsin Vital Records Office (see address above). Later records are at the county courthouses.

Many of the delayed registrations have been included in the Unedited Pre-1907 birth index because the births occurred before statewide registration began.

Marriage Records

Marriage Records Before 1907

Before statewide registration, individual counties recorded marriages. Copies can be obtained by writing to the Wisconsin Vital Records Office (see address above) or to the Register of Deeds in the appropriate county . Some records, particularly those from Brown, Crawford, Dodge, and Jefferson counties, begin as early as the 1820s. Search the Wisconsin Genealogy Index for pre-1907 birth, marriage, and death indexes. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of many of the pre-1907 marriage records. Some counties have early marriage records that are not on microfilm. For example, Crawford County has marriage records that begin in 1816. The marriage records are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under the name of the county. Copies are also available at the Wisconsin Historical Society and its area research centers. Beginning about 1852, 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 lists one million names that are alphabetically arranged for counties Adams through Racine. Counties Richland through Wood are not included in the index. 77 microfiche, FHL Collection. Search for variations of the surname when using the index. The Wisconsin Historical Society in Wisconsin also has this index. Also available is Indexes for Wisconsin Marriage Records, 1973–1984. The Family History Library has three sets of marriage records for Milwaukee County:

  • Register of Deeds marriages 1838-1911 and index 1838-1918. Family History Library films beginning with film 1013949. Records come from the Milwaukee County courthouse.
  • Register of Deeds marriage certificates 1836-1876. FHL Collection. Records also come from the Milwaukee County courthouse.
  • Marriages 1837-1907 and index 1852-1907. FHL Collection. Records come from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office (see address above).

Marriage Records Since 1907

Marriage records created since 1907 in all counties can be obtained from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office (address above) or from the Register of Deeds of the appropriate county.

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Wisconsin marriages, click here.

Death Records

Death Records Before 1907

A few counties began keeping death records in the 1850s, but most records date from the 1870s or later. These documents often give excellent genealogical information. Search the Wisconsin Genealogy Index for pre-1907 death references.

Microfilms of the records through 1907 have been deposited at the at the Wisconsin Historical Society and the area research centers listed on the Wisconsin Archives and Libraries page.

Consult the county pages for the records, and the Registration of Deaths, ca. 1862–1907 FHL Collection. Most counties begin in the 1870s. These are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under:

WISCONSIN - VITAL RECORDS

Death certificates usually give birth date and place, death date and place, name of spouse, names of the person's parents, burial place, and residence. After mid-July, 1897, they also give the birth place of the person's father and mother.

There are three indexes to these records. Copies of these indexes are at the Wisconsin Historical Society, its area research centers, and the Family History Library. These are:

  • The Pre-1907 Death Index by Name, alphabetically arranged for the entire state. 29 fiche, Family History Library fiche FHL Collection 6331472. Be sure to search for spelling variations of the surname. Also available is the Death Records Index, 1959–1984. FHL Collection 6334350–51.

The Family History Library also has a large set of death records from the Register of Deeds in Milwaukee County. In the FamilySearch Catalog these are listed under:

WISCONSIN, MILWAUKEE COUNTY, MILWAUKEE - VITAL RECORDS:
  • Deaths, 1852–1912, and index, 1872–1916. 109 films {{FHL|384199|item}.

Death Records Since 1907

Statewide registration of;deaths began in 1907. The Family History Library does not have copies of these records, although it does have several indexes. You can obtain copies by writing to the Wisconsin Vital Records Office at the address above.

State your relationship to the individual for whom you want information and the reason you want the information. Death records can also be obtained from the Register of Deeds in the county where the event took place.

Vital Records Reference Dates

The registration of vital records began at different dates in each of Wisconsin's counties. Registration of vital records after statehood (1848):

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1852 1848 1848
Statewide Registration 1907 1907 1907
General Compliance 1917 - 1908

Information about the earliest vital records registration in each county can be found at the Wisconsin Vital Records Office website.

Online Wisconsin Birth, Marriage and Death Records

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Wisconsin Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Wisconsin Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Birth Indexes

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Marriage Indexes

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Death Indexes

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

More Online Wisconsin Vital Records Links

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at: Wisconsin, Fond du Lac Public Library Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

Divorce Records

Divorce proceedings are usually kept by the circuit court judges or local or regional archives. Contact the clerk of circuit court for information. The Family History Library does not have copies of these records.

Adoption Records

In early years, children were raised by relatives or interested families without a formal adoption taking place and no official adoption records being created. In later years, adoptions involved court proceedings whose records are closed to the public.

For more information, see Adoption Research for additional resources and strategies

Additional Help

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths. Other substitute records.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.

Alternative Records

These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.

  • Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.
  • Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information. These records may also reveal family relationships.
  • Census Records: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.
  • Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices.Also check newspaper social columns for additional information.
  • Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.
  • Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information, In addition, soldiers' homes records can included this same information.
  • Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.
  • History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the FamilySearch Catalog.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 11 November 2014, at 19:35.
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