March 31, 2023, 7:23 pm
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General Information About Wisconsin Death Records and Laws
In Wisconsin, death records are on file for many people for the last 150 years or more. For those who are in need of these records for such things as family genealogy reporting, property record searches and verifications as well as details on a person's address, it is possible to find information. It can take some time for you to get these records, but having them can help in many ways. For those who need this information, it pays to know where to look to find it. While you may think such a search is easy to do, this is not always the case.
Initially, the state required only the counties to record the deaths of individuals happening within the county. This mandate from the state occurred in 1852. However, there was very little compliance or change on behalf of this law. Most counties did not actually record this information. However, during this time, many cities did. There was no law requiring this information to be recorded at the city level, but many cities did collect the information and store it. If you are looking for death records from the early years, it is the city level that you will want to look at first.
In 1878, the state passed another law that mandated the same thing, that death records be kept in the local counties. This law did get more attention and more compliance, but still was not considered compliant. It wouldn't be until 1907 when the state established the State Bureau of Vital Statistics that things would change and these records would be recorded at the state level. With this organization, all registrations of individual's deaths were recorded at the state's offices. You can find these records on file at the Department of Health. You can write to the organization or visit them in person at the following address:
Wisconsin State Department of Health
Vital Records Services
One West Wilson Street
PO Box 309
Madison, Wisconsin 53701
It can take some time to process these record searches by the agency. It is possible that it can take several weeks to several months to get them, but the state's agency does not say how long the process will take conclusively.
If you do not find the records you need at this level, the next step in the process is to look for information at a more local level. As mentioned, many cities still maintain a record of all deaths dating from the early 1800's onward. This information may or may not be accessible to you, though. It also requires knowing where the individual died in order to get this information.
If you are looking for Wisconsin death records, finding them can be an adventure. However, once you find this information on file with the state or with a local authority, it will be easy for you to get the information for use in many different ways. For family genealogy research, these records can be exactly what you need to get your questions answered and for you to learn more about your family.
Wisconsin Death Records

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