About Our Pre-1907 Wisconsin Vital Records Collections | Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Pre-1907 Wisconsin Vital Records

The Society has millions of vital records recorded in Wisconsin before October 1, 1907, at the state level. The collection includes approximately:

  • 1 million birth records and 27,000 delayed birth records
  • 1 million marriage records
  • 400,000 death records

Wisconsin law required counties to register birth, marriage and death events with state officials starting in 1852, but the law was not strictly enforced until roughly 1880. Most records date from 1880 or later.

It is possible that some records only exist at the county level and are not in our state-level collection. The Society does not own vital records after September 30, 1907.

How the Pre-1907 Wisconsin Vital Records Collections are Organized

Online

Vital records are indexed in the Pre-1907 Vital Records Index. This online resource can be searched by ancestor name and year of event from the Research Your Family History page. Write down the microfilm location information to find and view the record on microfilm or buy a copyof the vital record from the Wisconsin Historical Society. The full record will include details not found in the index.

Physical

Original vital records are stored on microfilm in the Society's Library. The reels are arranged by county and date of registration. Records are not filmed by the date of the event. Therefore, it is necessary to first get the microfilm location information using the index before you can view a record.

Locating Post-1907 Vital Records

To view post-1907 vital records, contact one of the following organizations:

Wisconsin Vital Records Office
Department of Health Services
PO Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309

or

Register of Deeds at the appropriate county courthouse. View a list of addresses (PDF, 125 KB).

Both the state registrar and local registers of deeds are required by state statute to require a written application and fees for copies.

Purchasing Copies

Many vital records are available for purchase through the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Due to Wisconsin state law, we can only issue uncertified copies of the records. No vital records can be digitized and published in electronic form.

Each record costs $15. Wisconsin Historical Society Members receive a 10 percent discount. Learn more about how to become a member. Orders are usually mailed within two weeks of receipt.

If a record is for sale through the Wisconsin Historical Society, copies may be available through the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or the Register of Deeds office in the appropriate county courthouse. View a list of addresses (PDF, 125 KB).

Purchasing Certified Copies

For a certified copy of a vital record contact:

Wisconsin Vital Records Office
Department of Health Services
P.O. Box 309
Madison, Wisconsin 53701-0309

or

Register of Deeds office at the appropriate county courthouse. View a list of addresses (PDF, 125 KB).

Learn More

See more articles about researching your family history.

Have Questions?

Contact our Library and Archives staff by email.

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