Genealogical Research

A large share of the records genealogical researchers often seek is available from non-County agencies and from other community sources.

Birth Records

Birth certificates from 7/1/1911 to present are on file in Topeka with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Office of Vital Statistics. Sedgwick County has no birth certificates or birth registers.

Death Records

Death certificates from 7/1/1911 to present are filed in Topeka with the Office of Vital Statistics. Before 1885 there was no requirement in Kansas to record deaths. Sedgwick County has no death records.

The City of Wichita microfilmed death certificates for deaths occurring within its city limits for 1887-1910. A listing is available at the Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society’s web site. Both the Society and the Wichita Public Library can provide copies of certificates.

The Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society has compiled alternative information about deaths from private mortuary records, newspaper obituary notices, and cemetery records and headstones. Contact the Society for details, or visit its web site.

Marriage Records

Marriage certificates since 5/1/1913 are on file in Topeka with the Office of Vital Statistics. Custodian for earlier records is the State’s 18th Judicial District Court. For persons applying in person, District Court is able to provide a copy of any marriage certificate it has on file. District Court conveyed original marriage license applications for 1879-1990 to the Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society after microfilming.

Immigration & Naturalization

Immigration and Naturalization records consist of two parts: (1) first intention papers, and (2) final naturalization papers. Applicants for naturalization filed documents in county courthouses until 1911. After 1911, applicants filed with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.

To obtain citizenship before 1911, immigrants were required to live in the United States for five years, including at least six months within the state in which they filed. First intention papers were to be filed three years before application for naturalization. Please note that applicants sometimes filed first intention and final naturalization papers in different counties.

District Court has first intention papers for 1870-1905 and 1908 (journal missing), and final naturalization papers for 1871-1906. Information from all final naturalization records was transcribed onto index cards as part of a WPA project about 1936. An alphabetized listing of final naturalizations is available at the Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society web site. The Clerk of District Court has authorized Sedgwick County Records Management Services to provide access to these records.

Divorce Records

The District Court has divorce records dating back to the early 1900’s. Since 7/1/1951, all District Courts have reported divorces to the Office of Vital Statistics.

Burial and Cemetery Records

There appears never to have been any statutory requirement for counties to record burials. The closest record Sedgwick County has found is one journal, which attempted to record cemetery plot sales — only a handful of entries appear for the early 1920’s.
Several townships and cities operate cemeteries. For example, the oldest Wichita cemetery, Highland, reverted to the City of Wichita more than a decade ago when its private cemetery association could no longer fund maintenance.

Volunteers searched Sedgwick County to find all cemeteries, assembled and input any available cemetery records, and laboriously inventoried gravestones where records otherwise were not available to create a database of all burials. Contact the Midwest Historical & Genealogical Society to search this database, or view lists for each cemetery at the Society’s web site.

Assessment Rolls (1876-1898)

Sedgwick County Records Management microfilmed the oldest real estate and personal property assessment rolls (1876-98), for a preservation project funded in part by the Kansas State Historical Records Advisory Board. For most years township journals list all adult residents and their ages. Journals for some townships are missing, and some are damaged, up to total loss in a few cases. Full sets of microfilm and finding aides are available at both the Wichita Public Library (Downtown, Genealogical Section) and at the Wichita State University Library. Sedgwick County Records Management Services provides a summary “ A User’s Guide to Real Estate & Personal Property Assessment Rolls on Microfilm" brochure.

Coroner and Autopsy records

The Sedgwick County Clerk has six volumes of Coroner’s Records, with the earliest entry dated 9/24/1910 and the latest being 5/18/1954. Two volumes (c. 1894 to 9/1910, and 8/28/1919 to 10/16/1924) are missing. Journal entries are chronological. Entries from journals were transcribed onto a set of typed, alphabetized file cards in 1936 as part of a WPA project. The County Clerk has authorized Records Management Services to provide access to these records.

The County Clerk also is custodian for certain autopsy reports of the County Coroner, which date from about 1952 until 7/1/1976. Reports are filed alphabetically, and indications are that some files are missing. District Court is custodian for Coroner and autopsy reports from 7/1/1976 to present.

You may download the Genealogical Research Resources brochure, which contains the information on this page and additional information.