“I’m Glad You Asked . . .” The Top-5 Questions People Ask the Marathon County Register of Deeds Office

Written by Dean Stratz

The Marathon County Register of Deeds Office at the Marathon County Courthouse (500 Forest St., Wausau) is the central location for vital records and real estate (land) records for Marathon County.

Our Vital Records section maintains and issues copies of certificates for births, deaths, marriages, and divorce. This office can provide vital records for events occurring anywhere in the state of Wisconsin (depending on the date of the event). The vital records area also records and issues copies of military discharge papers (DD214) for veterans.

In 2018, the Register of Deeds Office issued over 28,000 certified copies of vital records.

Register of Deeds Office Staff
FRONT ROW (left to right): Wendy Fischer, Bonnie Schubring. BACK ROW (left to right): Jenni Lemmer, Dean Stratz, Kathy Neitzel. Not pictured: Cindy Van Rixel.

Our Real Estate section records, files, maintains, tracts, and issues copies of real estate documents for property located in Marathon County. These records include deeds, mortgages, easements, plats, and a variety of other documents of significance.

In 2018, the Register of Deeds Office recorded over 21,500 real estate documents.

People who don’t deal with these kinds of records on a regular basis may have questions about them, so to help out, here are the Top-5 Questions People Ask the Marathon County Register of Deeds Office . . .

#1. If I was born in Marathon County, do I need to come to Marathon County to get a copy of my birth certificate?


A couple of years ago, the procedure changed.

  • As long as you were born in Wisconsin, ANY Register of Deeds Office in the state can produce your birth certificate.
  • If you were adopted in Marathon County but born in a different state, you will need to contact the state in which you were born.
  • Anyone not born in Wisconsin needs to contact the state in which they were born in order to get a copy of their birth certificate.

If you’re not sure who to contact, I invite you to visit the CDC website for assistance:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/index.htm.

#2. Should my married name appear on my marriage certificate? / How do I change my last name from my maiden name to my married name?


In Wisconsin, the marriage certificate will NOT contain your new married last name.


Your first stop after purchasing a copy of your marriage certificate from the Register of Deeds Office should be the Social Security Administration (located at 352 Grand Ave., Wausau). This is the first step in officially changing your last name.

#3. What do you do when you get married and want to change your name on the deed and/or add a spouse to the deed?


A Quit Claim Deed and a Wisconsin Department of Revenue electronic Real Estate Transfer Return (eRETR) will need to be completed. You can do this yourself or contact an attorney.

The blank Quit Claim Deed can be obtained from the Forms page of the Marathon County Register of Deeds website.


The eRETR needs to be completed online at the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website.


After the eRETR is completed, you will be instructed to print the transfer receipt. This receipt is required in order to record a new deed.

Simply bring the completed deed, transfer receipt, and $30 recording fee to the Marathon County Register of Deeds Office in the Marathon County Courthouse to record.

#4. My spouse passed away. How do I remove their name from our deed and tax bill?  


If the property was held jointly and your name is on the deed, you will need to complete a Termination of Decedent’s Interest (formerly known as an HT-110) form. You can get this form in our office, or you can download the instructions and form from our website here. When submitting, please note that you will need to attach a copy of the deed, which shows you and your spouse jointly holding title to the property.

An electronic Real Estate Transfer Return (eRETR) will also need to be completed online. Further information and the link to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website to complete this process can be found on the Services page of our website.

Once you have the completed Termination of Decedent’s Interest form, copy of the deed, receipt from completing the eRETR, and the $30 recording fee, you’re ready to record the document in our office.

#5. Do I get my deed once I have paid off my mortgage??


This is a common misunderstanding.

The deed — which is the document showing you are the owner of property — is usually returned to you, the grantee, after it is recorded.

The majority of the time, a person takes out a mortgage when they purchase property. The lending institution records a mortgage on your property to secure the loan. Once you have paid off this mortgage, the lending institution will sign a satisfaction of mortgage. This satisfaction is then recorded — usually by the institution but sometimes by an individual in the Register of Deeds Office. This document is the proof that the mortgage is paid off and that the lending institution no longer holds an interest in your property. Thus, no new deed is needed.

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If you need assistance with any of the vital or real estate records mentioned above, please feel free to visit our website, call our friendly staff (715-261-1470), or visit our office.

We’d be happy to assist you!

Dean_StratzDean Stratz

Marathon County Register of Deeds  |  Marathon County Courthouse

Dean began his employment with Marathon County in September 1999 as Deputy Register. He was elected Register of Deeds in November of 2016 and took office January 2017. In his free time, Dean enjoys spending time with his family, fishing, camping, and listening to music.  Email Dean Stratz.

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Image credit:
Marriage certificate image by rawpixel.com via Pexels.