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United States Gotoarrow.png Wisconsin Gotoarrow.png Vital Records


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. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Wisconsin Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.

Contents

 
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Vital Records Reference Dates

Wisconsin's vital records start the following years:


Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1852 County Formation 1852
Statewide Registration 1907 1907 1907
General Compliance



Wisconsin Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online

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:

Marriage Indexes:

Death Indexes:

Order a copy of the Certificate:

More Online Wisconsin Vital Records Links

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 birth marriage.

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 Family History Library 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 Family History Library 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.

Records of Births 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. You can obtain copies by writing to:

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

State your relationship to the individual for whom you want information and the reason you want the information

Birth records can also be obtained from the Register of Deeds in the county where the event took place.

The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's records are listed in Where to Write for Vital Records: Births, Deaths, Marriages, and Divorces. [1] Record come from the Milwaukee County courthouse.


Delayed Birth Records

  • Delayed registrations of births began in 1937. These are listed in the Family History Library 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 Bureau for Health Statistics (see address below). 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

  • 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 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.



Death Records

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 Wisconsin Historical Society and the area research centers listed on the "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 Family History Library 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, the 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 Family History Library Catalog these are listed under:

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

Records of Deaths 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:

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

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.

Divorce Records

Divorce proceedings are usually kept by the county clerks and circuit judges.  You should contact the county courthouse for information.  The Family History Library does not have copies of these records.  it does have Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics. 


Adoption Records

Additional Helps

Tips

  • 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.

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Burned, Lost, or Missing Records

For a list of record loss in Illinois counties see the following:

Substitute 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 addtion, 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 Family History Library catalog.

More Online Wisconsin Vital Records Links

Wisconsin Births and Christenings (FamilySearch Historical Records

Wisconsin Deaths and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records

Wisconsin Marriages (Family Search Historical Records


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