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Wisconsin Death Records: How to perform a Wisconsin Death Records Search

Wisconsin Death Records: How to perform a Wisconsin Death Records Search
November 20, 2022

The State of Wisconsin officially started maintaining death records in 1907. 


Prior to this time, death records in Wisconsin were logged voluntarily by counties. 


These days, however, Wisconsin death records are held by the Vital Records Office of the state’s Department of Health Services.


Death records in Wisconsin provide details such as the deceased's name and personal information as well as events surrounding the death. 


Wisconsin death records are protected by confidentiality laws that limit access to the certified copies of the records to only a few individuals within the statutory period of confidentiality.


Requesters of Wisconsin Death Records must make their requests in person or by mail; the Vital Records Office in Wisconsin does not offer an online database.

Accessing Wisconsin Death Records Online

Officially, death records in Wisconsin may not be accessed online, as the Office of Vital Records in Wisconsin does not provide an online search tool. 


Unofficially, though, third-party websites offer a fast and convenient option for locating Wisconsin death records.


In Wisconsin, death certificates are publicly available. As a result, third-party websites and organizations are permitted access to these records. 

hands going over files


They also make these records available to the general public on request.


Requesters who opt for the simplicity and ease of using third-party websites just need to supply the record subject's name and most recent address in order to conduct a search. 


Wisconsin death record searches can be carried out from any location in the nation because these third-party websites are not restricted by regional restrictions.

Who Can Access Wisconsin Death Records?

An individual who requests a death record in Wisconsin will receive either a certified or uncertified record based on their eligibility status. 


Certified Wisconsin death records, ones sporting a raised seal and the signature of the State Registrar and printed on security paper, are only available to authorized individuals.


According to state laws, authorized individuals include:


* The decedent’s immediate family members
* Members of their extended family
* Any individual the provides a written and notarized document that clearly states their relationship to the decedent
* The decedent’s guardian or legal custodian bearing legal proof of this relationship
* Any individual that provides evidence that the death record is necessary to support a property claim


In contrast, uncertified death certificates are printed on plain white paper and contain a stamp indicating they cannot be used for legal or identity purposes, but still include the same information as certified copies. 

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Anyone can obtain uncertified copies. In any event, uncertified copies shall not include extended facts of deaths (cause of death, mode of death, and ultimate disposition) unless 50 years have passed since the death occurred or the requester has a direct and concrete interest in the record.


All requesters, either authorized or unauthorized, will be required to present valid IDs as well as other necessary documents.

How to Access Wisconsin Death Records

Records of deaths occurring in Wisconsin since October 1, 1907, are maintained and issued by the Wisconsin Vital Records Office of the Department of Health Services. 


Access to the records is restricted to those who have a direct and concrete interest in them. In order to get a death record from the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, requesters must accurately fill out the Wisconsin Death Certificate Application. 


A legitimate copy of the requester's official identification as well as other relevant documents is also required. 


The application will not be accepted if it includes documents that have expired.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Office of Vital Records in Wisconsin does not currently accept in-person Wisconsin death record requests. 


Interested individuals must print and fill out a Wisconsin Death Certificate Application, then enclose it, along with a valid ID and any applicable fees, in a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Next, they may proceed to mail the package to:


Wisconsin Vital Records Office,
P.O. Box 309,
Madison, WI 53701


Although this avenue has been blocked off now, in-person death records applications (along with other required documents and fees) can be submitted at:


Wisconsin Vital Records Office,
1 West Wilson Street, Room 160,
Madison, WI 53703


Alternatively, Wisconsin death records may be obtained from the Milwaukee Health Department. 


The Milwaukee Health Department can provide you with a death certificate once you submit the Wisconsin Death Certificate Application or a letter with your name on it, your current, valid identification, and the required fee to the following address:


City of Milwaukee Health Department - Vital Statistics,
Zeidler Municipal Building,
841 North Broadway, Room 115,
Milwaukee, WI 53202

a woman's hand signing forms

How Much Do Wisconsin Death Records Cost?

Requesters of Wisconsin death records are to pay $20 for the first copy of the document. Additional copies cost $3 each.


People who make their request in person can pay via cash, check, or money order, payable to the State of Wisconsin Vital Records. 


For mail-in requests, checks and money orders payable to the State of Wisconsin Vital Records are accepted.

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