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Birth Records Help

Search Tips

Last Name:
This field is generally required. The last name field will search for all names that begin with the letters entered. You must enter at least three letters. For example, if you enter Roger, you will get Roger, Rogers, Rogerson, etc. This field is not case sensitive. Do not use apostrophes. You can use spaces in names, but it is not necessary (i.e. O Malley will bring up the same results as Omalley). You do not need a last name if you are searching by exact date or by county and birth year.

First Name:
This field is optional. The first name field will return names that begin with the letters entered. For example, if you enter "Ed," you will get Edith, Edmund, Edward, etc.

This field is optional. Enter the county where you think the person was born. You can view a map to determine adjacent counties, which can be helpful in your research, especially if your ancestor lived near a bordering county. You can search county and year without using a last name.

Event Date:
Entering the exact date of the event can be helpful when searching for possible name variations or when you have a date but an unclear name.

This field is optional. Enter the four digit birth year.


1. What is the Wisconsin Pre-1907 Birth Records Index?
The Wisconsin Pre-1907 Birth Records Index includes approximately one million names from Wisconsin birth records dated between 1852 and September 30, 1907. Vital records, including birth records, were maintained at the state and/or county level. The Society owns microfilm copies of state level vital records. The online database was created in 2005 by reformatting the state’s microfiche index and adding 27,000 names from delayed birth records, (courtesy of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society.)

2. How can I use the index?
You can search the index in order to find your ancestors in the pre-1907 Birth Records Index. You can then use the information from the index to find the records on microfilm at the Wisconsin Historical Society or any other institution that holds the microfilm of pre-1907 Wisconsin births. You can also order copies directly from our website, simply by clicking "order a copy."

3. What will I receive if I order a copy?
A photo copy of the record will be created by our staff and mailed to you. Due to Wisconsin state law, we can only issue uncertified copies of the records and no vital records can be digitized and published in electronic form.

4. How long will it take?
Orders are usually mailed within two weeks of receipt.

5. What does it cost?
Each birth record costs $15. Wisconsin Historical Society Members receive a 10% discount. Learn more about how to become a member.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What records are indexed?
After a birth was recorded at the county level, local officials normally forwarded that information to the state. Wisconsin law required counties to register these events since 1852, but the law was not strictly enforced prior to roughly 1880. Most records date from 1880 or later. The index contains approximately one million birth records as well as an additional 27,000 delayed birth records. We do not hold nor have an index available for records after September 30, 1907.

2. What information can be found on a birth record?
Information recorded varies from record to record, but most records include place of birth, parents' names, as well as date of birth and siblings. Some include a mother's maiden name, but this is not always the case.

3. What are delayed birth records?
A Delayed Birth Record is one that was filed many years after the birth event, often for Social Security or military reasons. All of the Pre-1907 records of this type in Society collections have been indexed by the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, but there are some Pre-1907 Delayed Birth Records that the Society does not have because they were not forwarded to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Wherever possible these records, which can be purchased through the Department of Health and Social Services, have been identified in our online index.

We would like to thank the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society for generously sharing their index to delayed birth records with us.

4. How was the Birth Records Index created?
The Society holds microfilm of the births recorded in Wisconsin prior to September 1907. The microfilm is not arranged by name, however, and an index is necessary to locate a specific record. Decades ago state officials created such an index on microfiche. With grant funding from the Schoenleber Foundation of Milwaukee, this microfiche index has been converted to electronic form and expanded through the addition of delayed births into a searchable, online database.

5. What will I receive if I order a birth record?
You will receive a copy of the selected birth record or records.

6. Where can I get a certified copy of a birth record?
You can get a certified copy from:

Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics
Dept. of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 309
Madison, Wisconsin 53701

7. Where can I get a copy of a birth record from after 1907?
You can contact one of the following:

Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics
Dept. of Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 309
Madison, Wisconsin 53701

or Register of Deeds at the appropriate county courthouse. View a list of addresses.

8. What if I don't find the person I am looking for?
Take a look at these additional search tips.

9. What about marriage and death records?
Pre-1907 marriage and death indexes are included in the index. There are over 2 million vital records in our index

10. How Should I Cite This Information?
If you wish to cite vital records data found in this online index, please first bear in mind that this information is not a legal vital record and that its information does not constitute legal verification of the fact of the event. For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, you should follow this model:

Wisconsin Historical Society. Wisconsin Genealogy Index: Birth Record Entry for Racine County, Reel No. 0248, Record No. 002578; viewed online at on [insert today's date here]

Who will you find?

Society members receive a 10-percent discount on:

  • Vital records and microfilm
  • Civil War service records
  • Plus more!

Become a member today!

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