Skip to Main Content
site header image

Death records in the River Falls Area Research Center

Information and resources on locating information deceased individuals in the records of the River Falls Area Research Center

Registrations of deaths (Wisconsin Bureau of Health Statistics) collection

Registrations of deaths may be used to locate deaths recorded with the County Registers of Deeds in Burnett, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix Counties between 1852 and 1907.

Local officials normally forwarded registrations of death at the county level to the state. Wisconsin law required counties to register death events with state officials beginning in 1852, but the law was not strictly enforced until roughly 1880. Most records in this collection date from 1880 or later.

Use the Pre-1907 death records index, made available by the Wisconsin Historical Society, to locate your record of interest

  • Use the delimiters on the left hand side of the menu to further isolate your search by name, date, or county of death

  • This index will give you first and last name (as available), the date of death, and county of death

  • This index only lists names of individuals whose deaths were registered in the county; it is possible that your person of interest's death was not registered in the state or at all.

  • This index is for all deaths registered with the Register of Deeds Office in all counties of the state.

Once you locate your person of interest in the Pre-1907 death records index, you can request to view the record on microfilm at our facility. You will need to know the name of the individual, county of death, and date of registration (all can be found in the index). These records are only available on microfilm in our Reading Room.

  • If you are unable to view the microfilm in person, the UWRF Area Research Center provides research services for a fee. Please see our Services and Fees page for additional information. or contact us at 715 425 3567 or archives@uwrf.edu for additional information.

What if you are unable to locate your person of interest using the registrations of deaths collection?

  • Ensure that your person of interest would have had their death registered prior to 1907.
    • The date of death and date of registration are generally different. That means if your person of interest died at the end of 1907, it is possible that their death wasn't registered until 1908.
  • Ensure that your person of interest died in Wisconsin
    • The index and registrations are only for those deaths occurring in the state of Wisconsin. Each State has different rules for how deaths are recorded. It may be worth your while to look at the records available in surrounding states, particularly Minnesota, if you are unable to locate them here. The Minnesota Historical Society has an index to death records dating from 1904-2001; you can find more information on the records held in MN on the Minnesota Death Records help/about page.
  • Possible that your person of interest died in Burnett County but there death was not registered with the county.
    • Try alternate searching strategies, such as obituaries.

Local county government records

  • Polk County, Wisconsin, Circuit Court, Coroner's docket, 1931-1948.

    • Records indicate name of deceased and cause of death. Also included are coroner's inquests, histories of individual cases, summons, and subpoenas.

    • Locator: 7.F.4

  • Clerk, Town of Martell, Pierce County, Wisconsin, clerk's records, 1854-1967

    • Proceedings of town and board meetings, register of town and school officers, oaths of office, constables' bonds, records of chattel mortgages, apportionment of school funds, financial reports of the board, town treasurer's bonds, a record of school district boundaries, records of the superintendent of highways, registers of orders drawn on the town treasurer, election reports, burial permits, and scattered marriage, death, and birth registrations.

    • Locator: 5.D.3