Genealogy

Does the Probate Office have records that would aid in a genealogy search?

The Register in Probate office has been around much longer than you or I. While the Probate Court was officially established by Wisconsin Constitution in 1848, the Register in probate Office was first established by the State Legislature in 1880. Milwaukee County Probate records, however, extend as far back as the 1830s.

 
Probate records are invaluable for genealogical research. Genealogists can find records of heirs that show family relationships, household inventories, and land or building locations and descriptions. They are also useful to those studying economic and social history. Many famous Milwaukeeans have Probate records, most notably the beer barons of the 1800s, with court transcripts that read better than many fiction novels.
 
Pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes 807.08, the removal of any paper or court file from the Probate Office is strictly forbidden unless a Court Order is obtained to do so. Records or indexes cannot be written on, altered, mutilated, or destroyed. If you want to take notes, please be sure to bring paper and pencil. Our office does not furnish supplies. 
 

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How is information accessed?

Since Probate records date so many years back, the records are available in different formats. 

 
  1. The Probate Office index, located in Room 207 of the Courthouse, contains information from the 1800s through June of 2003. Please do not remove the index cards from the drawers.   Please write down the actual case/file number located on the upper, left hand corner of the card.
 
Please note, however, that cases from 1985 through the current date can be accessed on the CCAP web site at www.wicourts.gov. Anything prior to 1985 will have to be searched manually.
 
  1. For information pertaining to a file opened after June 1, 2003, search the CCAP web site at www.wicourts.gov . The files located on with web site will not be located in the Probate index. If you do not have internet access at home, you may use a public access computer in our office or visit your local library. 

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Are appointments necessary to view records?

You do not need an appointment to view an open, current record. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm. Please allow enough time to complete your business prior to 4:30 pm. The office is not open holidays. 

 
An appointment must be scheduled to view closed or microfilmed records. Please call (414) 278-5120 to schedule or if necessary, cancel an appointment. Various days and times are available and are made on a first-come, first served basis.  
 

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What is the cost for doing a probate search?

There is no cost when an individual comes into the office and searches a record him/herself. If the search request is mailed to the Register in Probate Office, there is a $4 search fee that must be prepaid. A self addressed stamped envelope must be included with the request and payment.

 

What is the cost of obtaining a copy of a document?

The cost is $1 per page pursuant to Wisconsin Statute 814.66(1)(h).   Genealogy/research copies are payable by cash only.

 

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