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Wisconsin Public Records: How to Perform a Wisconsin Public Records Search

Wisconsin Public Records: How to Perform a Wisconsin Public Records Search
September 28, 2022

By definition, and according to the Wisconsin Open Records Act, public records are publicly available official documents. 


These records are typically curated and maintained by designated custodians, who make the records available to members of the public on request.


Individuals who are interested in accessing Wisconsin records may make their request at the office of the affected record custodian in person or send it via mail. 


As an alternative, third-party websites offer a convenient and straightforward option for accessing and obtaining online public records in Wisconsin. 


You can perform a Wisconsin free public records search with such sites, and gain access to important files.


Read on to discover how to find and obtain Wisconsin Public Records. 

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Wisconsin Vital Records

Vital records in Wisconsin incorporate birth, death, marriage, and divorce records. These records are maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services. 


Although vital records are typically available to members of the public on request, only eligible requesters can obtain certified copies of these records, after they present proof of their identity. 


The list of eligible requestors includes immediate family members of the people named on the record, people named on the record, and legal counsel authorized for this purpose. 

How to Find Wisconsin Vital Records

People interested in accessing vital records in Wisconsin must send a request to the office in charge of maintaining the particular record. 


Alternatively, they can perform an online vital records search by using VitalCheck, an online database maintained and provided by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

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To obtain vital records in Wisconsin, interested individuals must download and print a completed appropriate Wisconsin record application form and send the application, along with proof of payment and a valid ID to:


Wisconsin Vital Records Office
PO Box 309
Madison, WI 53701


In other words, an individual looking for birth records must download a birth records application form, complete the form, and send it, along with a valid ID, and payment, to the above address. 


In the same vein, someone seeking a death record must download a death records request form and follow the process outlined above.


Regarding payment, each vital records request carries a charge of $20 for the first copy and $3 for additional copies of the same document. 


The accepted payment methods are checks and money orders. Money order payments are to be made in favor of the State of Wisconsin Vital Records. 

Wisconsin Public Records: Criminal Records

Criminal records in Wisconsin document instances of an offender's interaction with law enforcement in the state. 


Per the state's Open Records Law, criminal records are Wisconsin public records, and the designated custodian of these records is mandated to make them available to the public on request.

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The state's designated custodian of criminal records is the Wisconsin Department of Justice Crime Information Bureau (CIB). 


The CIB makes these records available to interested members of the society via the Wisconsin Online Record Check System (WORCS) website. 

How to Find Wisconsin Criminal Records

Interested parties may access and obtain Wisconsin criminal records on the WORCS website. You may perform fingerprint or name-based searches, although the latter is typically less expensive and more accessible.


To perform a name-based search, requesters must first create an account, then provide their subject's full name, social security number, and date of birth. 


Once their account is approved, requesters may proceed with their criminal records search. Each record search attracts a $10 charge. 

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Wisconsin Public Records: Court Records

Court records in Wisconsin provide related information pertaining to the trial of an individual suspected of committing a crime in the state. 


Court records supply such information as the day and place of the trial, the name of the presiding judicial officer, charges, sentences, and expected release dates. The Wisconsin Open Records Law determines that court records are public records in Wisconsin. 

How to Find Wisconsin Court Records

You may find and obtain court records in courthouses throughout the state of Wisconsin. 


Courts in the state maintain records of cases determined in them in both paper and electronic formats. 


So, a person interested in accessing a specific court record must first determine the court where the record is kept, then make Wisconsin public records request to the designated record custodian. 


The Clerk of Court at every courthouse in Wisconsin is the designated record custodian.


For electronic versions of court records, interested parties can check the Wisconsin Consolidated Court Automation Programs (CCAP) Case Management System on the websites of courts in Wisconsin. 


To search the database, you're required to provide the subject's full name and date of birth. 

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Wisconsin Public Records: Inmate Records

Inmate records in Wisconsin are documents detailing identifying and administrative information relating to offenders held in any of the state's correctional facilities. 


The Wisconsin Department of Corrections is the state agency in charge of curating, maintaining, and disseminating inmate records in the state of Wisconsin. All inmate records requests must be directed to this agency. 

How to Find Wisconsin Inmate Records

The Wisconsin Department of Corrections provides an offender locator tool on its website. 


Interested members of the public may search and access the records of inmates incarcerated in any correctional facility in the state by providing the inmate's name or identification number.


To use this offender locator tool, visit the DOC website, then provide your subject's full name and identification number and click search. 


The system will bring up a list of matching records in its database.

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