Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

What is the Registry of Interested Persons?

Who They Are and How to Join

The Registry of Interested Persons | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Registry of Interested Persons (RIP) is a list of people and organizations that have expressed significant interest in one or more cataloged burial sites or types of cataloged human burial sites in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Historical Society is required to maintain this list by Wisconsin Administrative Code HS 1.03 (PDF, 15 KB).

Any person or organization may apply to the Registry, whether they are residents of Wisconsin or not.

Rights of Registry Members

The Wisconsin Historical Society uses the Registry to decide who to notify when cataloged burial sites have been disturbed or are in danger of being disturbed.

Registry members have the right to provide input when someone requests to disturb a cataloged burial site or class of burial sites. Members can also request hearings to determine whether the proposed disturbances should be allowed to proceed.

Those rights also apply when a cataloged burial site has been accidentally or deliberately disturbed, or when human remains have been exhumed from the cataloged burial site, under the provisions of Wisconsin's burial sites law Wis. Stats. 157.70 (PDF, 36 KB).

When human remains exhumed from a burial site are available for reburial, family members on the Registry are given first preference, followed by applicants who share cultural, tribal or religious affiliation with the deceased. Institutions that wish to claim the remains for scientific reasons may be granted disposition if there are no other applicants.

How to Join the Registry

  • Join the Registry by filling out a Registry of Interested Persons Application (PDF, 39 KB).
  • You can register your interest in a single cemetery or mound group, or in all burial sites of a particular kind, age, or location.
  • Applications are accepted based on the reason for your interest in one or more cataloged burial sites. The Burial Sites Preservation Board determines who will be admitted.
  • If your application is received at least 30 days before the next quarterly meeting of Wisconsin's Burial Sites Preservation Board it will be reviewed by the Board at that meeting. You will be notified of the time and place of the meeting, but do not have to attend.
  • Wisconsin Historical Society staff will notify you of the Board's decision.

How to Remove Your Name

If you would like to remove your name or organization from the Registry, please notify the Burial Sites Preservation Board in writing.

How to Get a Copy of the Registry

A copy of the Registry of Interested Persons may be requested by contacting Ian Gort at 608-264-6502 or by email below:

Learn More

Learn about the state and federal laws that protect burial sites, Native American mounds and other places where human remains are buried.