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Wisconsin Vital Records

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Vital records, as their name suggests, are connected with central life events: birth, marriage, and death. Maintained by civil authorities, they are prime sources of genealogical information; but, unfortunately, official vital records are available only for relatively recent periods. These records, despite their recent creation in the United States, are critically important in genealogical research, often supplying details on family members well back into the nineteenth century. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking.

Ancestry.com  Wisconsin State Database
A large collection of databases of births, deaths, marriages, census, obituaries, directories, estate records, and service records.

Deaths

Ancestry.com  Wisconsin Deaths, 1820-1907
This database indexes over 435,000 deaths recorded in the state of Wisconsin prior to 1907. Wisconsin is one of few states to have a wide-spread index of records prior to establishment of a state vital records office. However, it is important to note that there will be some records at the county level not included in this statewide index. Taken from the index created by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Vital Records Division this database will prove useful to those seeking ancestors in early Wisconsin. (Requires Ancestry.com Membership) Get 14 Days Free Access!!!

Wisconsin State Vital Records Office
Wisconsin Division of Health Vital Records
P.O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309
(608) 266-1371

Make check or money order payable to Vital Records. Include a letter noting relationship of person on certificate to person requesting certificate; reason for requesting the certificate; full name of person on certificate; date of birth or death; city/county of event; parents name including mother’s maiden name for a birth record; for death records including age at time of death or social security number is helpful but not necessary; be sure to sign the letter of request; include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Note: Genealogy requests can take up to 3 months, other requests will be in the mail within 15 working days.

Birth

Scattered birth records earlier than 1857.  Records before Oct 1, 1907 are incomplete.

  • Mail requests to:
    Vital Records
    PO Box 309
    Madison WI  53701-0309

Use the application form (a PDF file) and include all information listed below.  Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope.  You must also enclose the necessary fees (see below).  Upon receipt in they’re office, mailed requests are generally completed in 10-15 working days.

  • In-person requests may be made at the Vital Records Office in Madison.  It is located at the One West Wilson Street state office building, in Room 158.  The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Identification is required for all records that are picked up.  You may wish to complete the application form (a PDF file) before you visit they’re office.  Requests made by 10:00 a.m. are usually ready by 12:00 noon; requests made by noon are usually ready by 2:00; requests made by 2:00 are usually ready by 4:00 p.m.; requests made at 4:00 are usually ready by 10:00 a.m. the next business day.
  • Fax requests are also possible, using your credit card.  Please complete the fax application form  (a PDF file).

Fees:  The fee for the first copy of any birth record is $12.00.  Additional copies of the same record, ordered at the same time, are $2.00 each.  Therefore, two copies of the same record would be $14.00.  Please make check or money order payable to VITAL RECORDS.

Information needed to request a copy of a birth record:

  1. The relationship between the person named on the record and the person making the request.  Example:  my own, my child’s, etc.  Only the person named on the record, the immediate family of that person or anyone with written permission from the person named on the record or the person’s family may get a “certified” copy of a birth certificate.  Note:  A “non-certified” copy of a birth certificate is available to anyone who applies.
  2. The reason for needing the record;
  3. The full name listed on the birth record;
  4. The date of birth;
  5. The city and county of birth;
  6. The parent’s names including mother’s maiden name;
  7. Your signature.

Death

Records before Oct 1, 1907 are incomplete.

  • Mail requests to:
    Vital Records
    PO Box 309
    Madison WI  53701-0309

Use the application form (a PDF file) and include all information listed below.  Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope.  You must also enclose the necessary fees (see below).  Upon receipt in they’re office, mailed requests are generally completed in 10-15 working days.

  • In-person requests may be made at the Vital Records Office in Madison.  It is located at the One West Wilson Street state office building, in Room 158.  The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Identification is required for all records that are picked up.  You may wish to complete the application form (a PDF file) before you visit they’re office.  Requests made by 10:00 a.m. are usually ready by 12:00 noon; requests made by noon are usually ready by 2:00; requests made by 2:00 are usually ready by 4:00 p.m.; requests made at 4:00 are usually ready by 10:00 a.m. the next business day.

  • Fax requests are also possible, using your credit card.  Please complete the fax application form (a PDF file).

Fees:  The fee for the first copy of any death record is $7.00.  Additional copies of the same record, ordered at the same time, are $2.00 each.  Therefore, two copies of the same record would be $9.00.  Please make check or money order payable to VITAL RECORDS.

Information needed to request a copy of a death record:

  1. The relationship between the person named on the record and the person making the request.  Example:  my spouse’s, my child’s, etc.  Only  the immediate family of the person named on the record or anyone with written permission from an immediate family member  may get a “certified” copy of a death certificate.  Note:  A “non-certified” copy of a death certificate is available to anyone who applies.
  2. The reason for needing the record;
  3. The full name listed on the death record;
  4. The date of death;
  5. The city and county of death;
  6. You may include the decedent’s age, birth date, occupation or Social Security number.   This information is not required for us to conduct a search;
  7. Your signature.

Marriage

Records before Oct 1, 1907 are incomplete.

There are three ways to request a copy of a marriage certificate:  by mail, in person, or by fax.

  • Mail requests to:
    Vital Records
    PO Box 309
    Madison WI  53701-0309

Use the application form and include all information listed below.  Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope.  You must also enclose the necessary fees (see below).  Upon receipt in they’re office, mailed requests are generally completed in 10-15 working days.

  • In-person requests may be made at the Vital Records Office in Madison.  It is located at the One West Wilson Street state office building, in Room 158.  The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Identification is required for all records that are picked up.  You may wish to complete the application form before you visit they’re office.  Requests made by 10:00 a.m. are usually ready by 12:00 noon; requests made by noon are usually ready by 2:00; requests made by 2:00 are usually ready by 4:00 p.m.; requests made at 4:00 are usually ready by 10:00 a.m. the next business day.
  • Fax requests are also possible, using your credit card.  Please complete the fax application form (a PDF file).

Fees:  The fee for the first copy of any marriage record is $7.00.  Additional copies of the same record, ordered at the same time, are $2.00 each.  Therefore, two copies of the same record would be $9.00.  Please make check or money order payable to VITAL RECORDS.

Divorce

There are three ways to request a copy of a divorce certificate:  by mail, in person, or by fax.

  • Mail requests to:
    Vital Records
    PO Box 309
    Madison WI  53701-0309

Use the application form (a PDF file) and include all information listed below.  Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped, business-sized envelope.  You must also enclose the necessary fees (see below).  Upon receipt in they’re office, mailed requests are generally completed in 10-15 working days.

  • In-person requests may be made at the Vital Records Office in Madison.  It is located at the One West Wilson Street state office building, in Room 158.  The office is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Identification is required for all records that are picked up.  You may wish to complete the application form (a PDF file) before you visit they’re office.  Requests made by 10:00 a.m. are usually ready by 12:00 noon; requests made by noon are usually ready by 2:00; requests made by 2:00 are usually ready by 4:00 p.m.; requests made at 4:00 are usually ready by 10:00 a.m. the next business day.
  • Fax requests are also possible, using your credit card.  Please complete the fax application form (a PDF file).

Fees:  The fee for the first copy of any divorce record is $7.00.  Additional copies of the same record, ordered at the same time, are $2.00 each.  Therefore, two copies of the same record would be $9.00.  Please make check or money order payable to VITAL RECORDS.

Information needed to request a copy of a divorce record:

  1. The relationship between the person named on the record and the person making the request.  Example:  my own, my child’s, etc.  Only the person named on the record, the immediate family of that person or anyone with written permission from the person named on the record or the person’s family may get a “certified” copy of a divorce certificate.  Note:  A “non-certified” copy of a divorce certificate is available to anyone who applies.
  2. The reason for needing the record;
  3. The full name of the husband listed on the divorce record;
  4. The full maiden name of the wife listed on the divorce record;
  5. The date of divorce;
  6. The city and county of divorce;
  7. Your signature.

Genealogy Research

  • They file records only for events that occurred in Wisconsin.
  • To schedule an appointment for self-searching, call  (608) 267-7820 .
  • To request a genealogy search:
    • You must list only one possible county of occurrence for each birth record prior to 1876.
    • You must list only one possible county of occurrence for each death record prior to 1876.
    • You must list only one possible county of occurrence for each marriage record prior to 1907.
    • You must indicate the groom’s/husband’s name for each marriage and divorce record.
    • You must list an approximate date of occurrence for each record requested.
    • You must list additional identifying information when requesting a vital record with a common surname, such as Brown, Smith, Johnson, Schmidt, etc. (County of occurrence and parents’ names are very helpful.)
    • They have no divorce records prior to 1907.
  • Genealogy requests may take 3 to 6 months to process.
  • Fees are not returned if the record is not found on file.

The mailing address for the Vital Records Office:
Vital Records
PO Box 309
Madison WI  53701-0309

Earliest Registration Dates

Registration of events prior to 1907 was rather sketchy.  It has been estimated that less than 50% of the records were prepared and submitted for permanent filing before that time.  Records are not on file for events that occurred before the following dates.

CountyBirthsDeathsMarriagesCountyBirthsDeathsMarriages
Adams185718761857Manitowoc185818641859
Ashland187618771874Marathon187018681865
Barron187718771868Marinette187418791878
Bayfield187918701869Marquette186418761863
Brown181418341823Milwaukee183518721851
Buffalo185518731856Monroe187718761856
Burnett185318461869Oconto187618721855
Calumet185818561850Oneida188718881877
Chippewa185818551869Outagamie185618691855
Clark186918771857Ozaukee185218491855
Columbia186018771849Pepin186318771857
Crawford185818761862Pierce187018761851
Dane186018761839Polk186718651855
Dodge187018521843Portage186618751859
Door185218561860Price188018791880
Douglas186118771854Racine187718801939
Dunn187018771858Richland187518761864
Eau Claire187018761857Rock185618711847
Florence188218821882Rusk190019011901
Fond du Lac187918541844St. Croix185818761852
Forest189118711889Sauk186418761852
Grant187018761842Sawyer186918831883
Green186218741838Shawano186218731848
Green Lake186418771858Sheboygan185218541848
Iowa187618711836Taylor187718771852
Iron188618871858Trempealeau184518471875
Jackson187618761858Vernon186318781856
Jefferson185218561844Vilas188918891855
Juneau187718761844Walworth187218721893
Kenosha187618761850Washburn188318831839
Kewaunee186118731857Washington185918731883
La Crosse187718761851Waukesha186018721846
Lafayette185418771847Waupaca185818481846
Langlade188218681881Waushara185918761852
Lincoln187518711875Winnebago187618761860

Menominee became a county in 1961.

Wood187118721844

Note:  Birth – The charge for the first search period is $12.00.  The charge for additional search periods is $7.00 for each 5-year period; or $7.00 for each single index period listed below.

Death, Marriage, or Divorce – All searches cost $7.00 for each 5-year period; or $7.00 for each single index period listed below.

Index Search Periods

Birth:Pre – 1907 to Oct. 1907Marriage:Pre – 1907 to Oct. 1907
1948 to 19661973 to 1978
1967 to 19791979 to 1992
1980 to Present1993 to Present
Death:Pre – 1907 to Oct. 1907Divorce:1907 to 1935
1959 to 19791965 to 1978
1980 to 19911979 to 1986
1992 to Present1988 to Present*

 

 

* The State Vital Records Office does not have divorce certificates for the period of January 1, 1987 through December 31, 1987.  You should contact the Clerk of Court in the county where the divorce occurred if you require proof of divorce.

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