Finding Vital Records

Vital records are one of the best resources for genealogists. Vital records are official registrations of births, deaths, marriages, divorces, and sometimes adoptions. In Wisconsin vital records are maintained at the State and County level. You can obtain these records from County Register of Deed Office or the Wisconsin State Vital Records office. You will want to check both areas as sometimes State level certificates contain different information than the County level certificates. The Wisconsin Historical Society, a Family History Center, and some local libraries have indexes or microfilms for early vital records.

I have found I am more successful with my research if I do the search for vital records in the reverse order of life's events. Which means search for death before marriage, marriage before birth. If you have a child's birthdate, you can begin to narrow down the marriage date, and then move to the parent's birthdates.

Vital records are government registered records such as:

Click on one of the links above to get specific information about these records.

Things to keep in mind when examining certificates:

  • People lie especially in the case of age when applying for marriage records
  • The knowledge of the informant will influence the information on the certificate. Sometimes the informant was guessing. If information is slightly off from other information you have, it could be a result of mis-remembering.
  • Clerks are people too and make mistakes when creating copies of certificates. You will want to check both the State and County level certificate.