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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

 

Vital Records Main Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Birth Records

Death Records

Marriage Records

Divorce Records

Declaration of Domestic Partnership Records

Termination of Domestic Partnership Records

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Office Closure Dates

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Genealogy Services


State Vital Records Office
2014 Closure Dates

The Wisconsin State Vital Records Office will be closed on the days shown below. 

  • January 1, Wednesday, New Year's Day
  • January 20, Monday, Martin Luther King Day
  • May 26, Monday, Memorial Day
  • July 4, Friday, Fourth of July
  • September 1, Monday, Labor Day
  • November 27, Thursday, Thanksgiving Day
  • December 24, Wednesday, Christmas Eve Day
  • December 25, Thursday, Christmas Day
  • December 31, Wednesday, New Year's Eve Day

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I search indexes and certificates in person?

The Wisconsin Vital Records Office allows in-person searching by appointment only at 1 W. Wilson Street, Rm. 159, Madison, Wisconsin (driving directions/parking).

To schedule an appointment, please contact the genealogy receptionist at (608) 267-7820 between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. (Central Time), Monday through Friday.  A limited number of appointments are available and they fill up quickly.  Please call as far in advance as possible.

Available Hours for in-person searching:
Monday through Thursday:   8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.
Monday through Thursday: 10:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

If you still have questions after reading the information below, please contact us.

Which records can I access?

In-person searchers may be allowed supervised access to all Wisconsin birth, death, marriage, and divorce records with the following exceptions:

1.  The following records cannot be handled by non-staff searchers and require staff assistance because they contain confidential information or are on microfilm in our confidential area:

  • Birth records 1939 to present,

  • Marriage records 1968 to present,

  • Divorce records 1968 to present, and

  • Death records 2003 to present.

2.  All staff-assisted searches will require a $20.00 fee which includes a copy of a record.   

3.  Non-marital birth certificates and records sealed by court action are not open to searchers unless the searcher meets statutory criteria for viewing or receiving a copy.

Policy for On-Site Searching:

  • Advance appointments are required. An appointment must be made for each person entering the search area. Cancellations are allowed. No-shows may be restricted from future searches.
  • Two persons are allowed in the search area at one time. This office reserves the right to alter the number of searchers allowed in the area.
  • Two-hour time blocks are available. A person may schedule up to a maximum of four hours in a three-month period.
  • This office reserves the right to alter the hours for emergencies and/or holidays.
  • We expect temporary suspensions of service in the future when vital records staff and contractors are converting paper and filmed records to the new electronic system. Access to county registrars should not be affected.
  • First-time searchers will be provided an orientation to the archives upon request.
  • Children under 12 are not allowed in the search area. Children over 12 must have an appointment to enter the area.
  • Each searcher must register each day he or she enters the search area. The searcher must be prepared to show proper identification.  The acceptable forms of identification are listed below.
ONE of the following:
Wisconsin driver's license
Wisconsin ID card
Out-of-state driver's license/ID card

OR
TWO of the following:
U.S. government-issued photo ID
Passport
Checkbook/bank statement
Health insurance card
Current, dated, signed lease
Utility bill or traffic ticket
Paycheck or earnings statement

At least one form of identification must show your name and address.  Expired cards or documents will not be accepted.

  • At the time of registration, the searcher will be given a list of State regulations and office policies regarding the lawful use of the State’s vital records. The searcher is expected to read and follow these rules and policies. Failure to comply may result in the loss of searching privileges.

  • Wisconsin statute limits who may be issued a certified copy of a vital record. The searcher will be asked to state his or her relationship to the person listed on the record when asking for a certified copy. Staff will determine whether a certified copy of the record will be issued.

  • Searchers are not permitted to enter the search area prior to their scheduled appointment. Searchers are required to exit the search area at the end of their scheduled appointment. Any searchers entering the search area prior to their scheduled appointment will forfeit their appointment.

Where else are Wisconsin vital records available?

You can purchase certified and uncertified copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates at the Register of Deeds office in the county in which the event occurred. For example, if a child was born in Dane County, you can purchase a birth certificate at the Dane County Register of Deeds office.

Birth, death, and marriage certificates for events that occurred prior to 1907 are available for viewing at the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives. Information on the Wisconsin Historical Archives can be found on the Internet at http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/genealogy/index.html.

What are the earliest filed vital records?

Registration of events prior to 1907 was voluntary and vital records were not filed for most events.  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 dates listed in the following table.  Divorce certificates from any county are not available before October 1907.

 

Earliest Registration Dates by County

County Births Deaths Marriages County Births Deaths Marriages
Adams 1857 1876 1857 Manitowoc 1858 1864 1859
Ashland 1876 1877 1874 Marathon 1870 1868 1865
Barron 1877 1877 1868 Marinette 1874 1879 1878
Bayfield 1879 1870 1869 Marquette 1864 1876 1863
Brown 1814 1834 1823 Milwaukee 1835 1872 1851
Buffalo 1855 1873 1856 Monroe 1877 1876 1856
Burnett 1853 1846 1869 Oconto 1876 1872 1855
Calumet 1858 1856 1850 Oneida 1887 1888 1877
Chippewa 1858 1855 1869 Outagamie 1856 1869 1855
Clark 1869 1877 1857 Ozaukee 1852 1849 1855
Columbia 1860 1877 1849 Pepin 1863 1877 1857
Crawford 1858 1876 1862 Pierce 1870 1876 1851
Dane 1860 1876 1839 Polk 1867 1865 1855
Dodge 1870 1852 1843 Portage 1866 1875 1859
Door 1852 1856 1860 Price 1880 1879 1880
Douglas 1861 1877 1854 Racine 1877 1880 1839
Dunn 1870 1877 1858 Richland 1875 1876 1864
Eau Claire 1870 1876 1857 Rock 1856 1871 1847
Florence 1882 1882 1882 Rusk 1900 1901 1901
Fond du Lac 1879 1854 1844 St. Croix 1858 1876 1852
Forest 1891 1871 1889 Sauk 1864 1876 1852
Grant 1870 1876 1842 Sawyer 1869 1883 1883
Green 1862 1874 1838 Shawano 1862 1873 1848
Green Lake 1864 1877 1858 Sheboygan 1852 1854 1852
Iowa 1876 1871 1836 Taylor 1877 1877 1875
Iron 1886 1887 1858 Trempealeau 1845 1847 1856
Jackson 1876 1876 1858 Vernon 1863 1878 1855
Jefferson 1852 1856 1844 Vilas 1889 1889 1893
Juneau 1877 1876 1844 Walworth 1872 1872 1839
Kenosha 1876 1876 1850 Washburn 1883 1883 1883
Kewaunee 1861 1873 1857 Washington 1859 1873 1846
La Crosse 1877 1876 1851 Waukesha 1860 1872 1846
Lafayette 1854 1877 1847 Waupaca 1858 1848 1852
Langlade 1882 1868 1881 Waushara 1859 1876 1852
Lincoln 1875 1871 1875 Winnebago 1876 1876 1860
Menominee became a county in 1961. Wood 1871 1872 1844

How can I contact the Wisconsin Vital Records Office directly?

If you have a question that is not answered on this Web site, please contact us directly in one of the following ways:

  • E-mail:  DHSVitalRecords@wisconsin.gov
  • Telephone:  For automated assistance 24 hours a day, please call (608) 266-1371.   To contact our service counter during the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:15 P.M. (C.T.), Monday through Friday, please call (608) 266-1373.
  • Mail:  Our mailing address is Wisconsin Vital Records Office, P.O. Box 309, Madison, WI   53701-0309.

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Last Revised:  April 04, 2014