Wisconsin Historical Society

Resource Description

About Our Death Records

Pre-1907 Vital Records Collection

About the Wisconsin Historical Society Death Records | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Society has approximately 400,000 state-level death records dated between 1852 and September 30, 1907. They are a part of our Pre-1907 Vital Records Collection.

After a death was recorded at the county level, local officials normally forwarded that information to the state. Wisconsin law required counties to register 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.

We do not have an index or microfilm of death records after September 30, 1907. No single statewide index exists for vital records created after September 30, 1907.

How Death Records are Organized

Online

Death index records are online as a part of our Pre-1907 Vital Records Collection, which searchable from any computer with internet access. The index provides the information necessary to locate a specific microfilm reel containing the ancestor's full death record. The full record will include details not found in the index. Search for your ancestor by name or year of the event on the Research Your Family History page.

Physical

The Society's Library has microfilm of full death records organized by county and date of registration; not by name or date of the event

Purchasing Copies

You can buy vital records through the Wisconsin Historical Society. On the individual record, click the orange "Buy" button and proceed through the Online Store purchasing process.

Due to Wisconsin state law, we can only issue uncertified copies of the records. 

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

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model.

Wisconsin Genealogy Index Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society. Wisconsin Genealogy Index: Death Record Entry for John Alvin Doe, Dane County, Volume 2, Page 257; viewed online at //www.wisconsinhistory.org/ on [insert today's date here]
Death Record Citation
John Alvin Doe death record, Jackson County, Wisconsin, Volume 10, Page 54, Wisconsin Historical Society Library Archives.

Locating Death Records After 1907

Contact one of the following agencies:

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

or

Register of Deeds 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.