Milwaukee County Probate records reach as far back as the 1830s! Probate records are a valuable source of information, whether you're searching for the history of your own family, or the families of Milwaukee's famous brewing and manufacturing magnates.
They can show family relationships, household inventories, land or building locations and descriptions, and some court transcripts that read like a novel.
However, since these records reach so far back, and technology has changed so much in the intervening time, there are multiple ways to find the record(s) you're looking for!
- For records created before the year 1985, the only way to view them is in person, at the Milwaukee County Register in Probate office in Room 207 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Records may not be removed from the office unless a court order is issued stating otherwise. Records also may not be altered, mutilated, or destroyed. But feel free to bring along a pencil and paper and take all the notes you need! (Our office does not furnish supplies!)
- For records created between the years 1985 and June 1, 2003, you're still welcome to pay us a visit to look at them, but you can also access them from home via the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website!
- For records created after June 1, 2003, the only way to access them is through the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website. These files will not be located in the index in our office. If you do not have access to the internet at home, please feel free to use our public-access terminal in our office, or visit the free, public computers available at any Milwaukee Public Library.
If you do decide to pay us a visit, please understand the following:
- There is no cost to conduct a search on your own. However, if you mail us a request for a search, a $4.00 search fee must be pre-paid, and the request must include a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The cost to make copies of records is $1.00 per page.
- You do not need to make an appointment to view an open, current record. Please visit us during our normal office times of 8:00am - 4:30pm (excluding holidays, of course!). Please show up early enough, however, to complete your searching by 4:30pm.
- You must make an appointment to view closed or microfilmed records. Please call us at (414) 278-4452 to schedule your appointment. Various days and times are available, and are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you would like to know more about Genealogy record searching in the Register of Probate office, please contact us by phone at (414) 278-4444 or by visiting us in Room 207 of the Milwaukee County Courthouse, or take a look at our Genealogy FAQ.