Check these dates the Wisconsin Vital Records Office will be closed.
Genealogy Services: Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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
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 States 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.
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.
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
|Fond du Lac||1879||1854||1844||St. Croix||1858||1876||1852|
|Menominee became a county in 1961.||Wood||1871||1872||1844|
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.