Wisconsin death records date back to the second half of the 1800s, but the central state Vital Records office only has a collection that begins in 1907. Contacting the county clerk or registrar's offices can help you find earlier records, and you can also access a free collection of pre-1907 death record indexes through the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Their website (http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/vitalrecords/) has a large database that you can search through by name. The site will return the name, place and date of death as well as the reel of microfilm that contains the full record. You'll need to visit their research room in person to access that material.
Their holdings include official death registrations, as well as newspaper obituaries, burial notices and cemetery records.
But if you are looking for Wisconsin death records that came after 1907, you just need to put in a request to the Vital Records office for a copy. Only immediate family members can request a legal certified copy of a death certificate, but anyone can order a non-certified one. Both types of documents will have the same facts on them but the certified one is printed with the state seal. It is a true legal document whereas the non-certified one is not.
If you need a certified copy, you will have to be a child, parent, sibling, spouse or grandparent of the person on the death record.
You can get the application form from the Department of Health Services website (http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/forms/F0/F05280.pdf) which includes a full page of instructions and current regulations. To make a request for a Wisconsin death record, you have to send in a completed form, the correct payment, a copy of your own ID and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
The form requires the full name of the deceased, their date of death, place of death, their age or date of birth and parent's names if they are known. You also have to provide your own name and information, and indicate your relationship if you are ordering a certified copy. A copy of your personal ID is also necessary, unless you are submitting this in person. Then you can just show the clerk.
A Wisconsin death record search will cost $20 USD, and an extra $3 for any extra copies you order at the same time. Checks or money orders need to be payable to "State of Wisconsin Vital Records". If they can't find your record, the money is not refunded.
Once all the papers are together, you can drop it all off at the Vital Records Office, 1 West Wilson Street, Room 158 in Madison. They serve records requests within about 2 hours this way. The public service counter is open Monday through Friday during usual business hours.
Otherwise, you can mail the package to the Wisconsin Vital Records Office, PO Box 309, Madison WI, 53701-0309 USA. Then it will take about a month to get your Wisconsin death record back to you.
To request a Wisconsin death certificate by mail, you will need to complete the following steps:
Download and complete a Wisconsin Death Certificate form. The application must be fully completed and signed to have your request processed.
Write out a check or money order in the amount of $20. This covers your search fee and a copy if the record is found.
Return the fee and application to the Department of Health using the address below. Also include a self-addressed, stamped business envelope to have your record returned to you.
For more information on how to access Wisconsin death records, you will need to contact the Department of Health:
Wisconsin Department of Health
Wisconsin Vital Records Office
P.O. Box 309
Madison, WI 53701-0309
How To Obtain Wisconsin Death Records
Persons needing to obtain Wisconsin death records will need to make a request with the Wisconsin Department of Health. Both certified and uncertified death records are available through the Department.
Available Ordering Methods
Because state law requires a signature with all Wisconsin death record requests, you cannot order death records online or by phone. Mail, fax, and in-person ordering are all available through the Department of Health.
Certified Copies Have Limited Availability
In order to receive a certified copy of Wisconsin death records, you must be a surviving spouse, parent or grandparent, sibling, child, or have other legal access to the death record. All other requesters will be given uncertified copies of Wisconsin death records, which are applicable for informational use only.