New legislation allows residents to obtain copies locally of records from anywhere in Wisconsin
By Brandi Makuski
Starting next year, residents of Portage Co. can access vital records from anywhere in Wisconsin — all at the local Register of Deeds Office.
New legislation was signed into law in Feb. by Gov. Scott Walker. Register of Deeds Cynthia Wisinski said she and other registers around the state have been working “for a number of years” on getting the legislation passed.
“Under this law, you can obtain vital records from any county in the state by just coming here,” Wisinski said. “It will save a lot of time, travel and money — sometimes copies of records can be expensive.”
The new law, Wisconsin Act 157, becomes effective Jan. 3 of 2017.
Scanning records electronically will take time, Wisinski added, and not all birth, death, marriage certificates and divorce decrees will be immediately available.
“Births from 1994, deaths from Sept. 1, 2013 and marriages from May 18, 2015 to present will be available statewide,” she said. “Older records will become available as the state vital records office completes back scanning and indexing of those records.”
It could take “a few years” before all the state’s vital records are available electronically, she added.
For more information about vital records, call the Portage County Register of Deeds at (715) 346-1428.