Obtaining Birth Certificates


From 1852-1907, physicians or other persons attendant on a birth or the parents, if no one else was attendant, were required to file a certificate of birth within thirty days with the county register of deeds. At the time of the recording, many of the children were not yet named, so the index just shows the last surname.

After July 1897, the certificate was to be filed with the local health officer (or local clerk if there was no health officer) who then forwarded the certificate to the county register of deeds. The register of deeds entered information from the certificate into a separate registry book and submitted a copy of the registry semiannually to the Secretary of State (before October 1907) or Bureau of Health Statistics (after October 1907). It has been estimated that less than 50% of the records were submitted for State permanent filing before Oct. 1907. Birth Records at the Wisconsin Vital Records Office are available for Waukesha County births after 1860. Additional records might be found at the county level. Waukesha was part of Milwaukee County prior to 1846. Any available records from that time period were recorded there.

Searching for Birth Certificates

There are a number of birth indexes available both online and at area facilities.

A list of free online birth indexes is available here.

Once you have the information you need, you can order a birth certficate from Milwaukee County Register of Deeds or the Wisconsin Vital Records Office.

Wisconsin Vital Records Office allows in person searching of records. See their site to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Record Searches

If you don't have the information to order a certificate, the Wisconsin Vital Records office will conduct a search for a nominal fee.

If you cannot narrow down your search to a five year period you may want to contact a professional researcher to help you narrow down your search.

Ordering a Birth Certificate By Mail

If you know the county of birth is Milwaukee, you will have the best luck ordering the certificate from the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds

Cost of a birth certificate is $20.00. A cashier's check or money order must be included. If they don't have the record in their books, the money is kept for the search fee. Otherwise there is no search fee, just the amounts quoted for the records.

For More information see the Milwaukee County Website

Wisconsin State Law states that only person named on the record, the immediate family of that person or anyone with written permission from the person named on the record or the person's family may get a "certified" copy of a birth certificate. A "non-certified" copy of a birth certificate is available to anyone who applies.

Application is available here: http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/forms/dph/dph05291.pdf

With your request include as much as you can of the following:
the name on the birth record being requested
date of birth
place of birth (city or county)
father's full name, (last, first, middle)
mothers full name, including her maiden name
your relationship to the individual
the purpose for your request
your daytime telephone number with area code
your mailing address and your signature
Application and payment

Wisconsin Division of Health Vital Records P.O. Box 309 1 West Wilson Street, Rm 158 Madison, WI 53701

Other Sources of Birth Information:
Bible records and other family papers
Court records (wills and administrations)
Census records
Military service and pension records
Newspapers (birth notices, news articles)
Cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions
Church Records
Death Certificate
Marriage License