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Wisconsin Historical Society Pre-1907 Birth Index

The Wisconsin Historical Society has developed a Pre-1907 Wisconsin Birth Index, which may be viewed on the web at the following link: The society developed the index by digitizing a 1970s microfiche index, then expanding it with tens of thousands of delayed births, or births that were filed many years after the event, that were previously indexed separately. The result is free public access to more than 1,000,000 Wisconsin births, dating from the 1840s through 1907.

The index can be searched in a variety of ways – using just a last name or browsing by county and year. Users can try various names and locations to find Wisconsin ancestors. When an ancestor is found, a copy of the birth record can be ordered from the Wisconsin Historical Society online.

According to its announcement, the society plans to add pre-1907 death and marriage indexes in the next few months, creating a comprehensive vital records index that will be entirely free and publicly searchable. Until the death and marriage indexes are available, searches can be requested through the Wisconsin Genealogical Research Service at

Because statewide recording of births did not begin until 1907 in Wisconsin, the online index will not necessarily be complete. For example, when information about the site was announced, I searched for information about my grandfather, Jacob Detling, born in 1872, and his father, born in 1848. No records of either birth were found in the online index. I have previously relied on family records knowing there was a low probability I would find any official record of their births. Nevertheless, the society’s efforts will be a welcome addition to help those searching for ancestors in Wisconsin because, if there was a recorded birth for the time period in question, online searching for it will be relatively easy.

Posted in Detling Family History, Genealogy Web Sites, Older Posts.

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