Research Guides

 

 General Census Information

 

The census pinpoints where ancestors resided during specific years of their lives and provides various details about them.

Read the pages before and after the page you find your ancestor on. Other family members living nearby may be discovered.

Find each census for the life span of the ancestor. Compare the information that is given every ten years. Discrepancies may be found from census to census. Remember, the person who provided the information to the enumerator is unknown. The quality of the enumerator's work is also not known. The researcher must consider the information given in a census as leads, not necessarily facts. Compare these sources with others whenever possible.

The Federal Government has conducted an enumeration every ten years since 1790.

The UWSP Archives has the 1820-1930 Federal Censuses for the State of Wisconsin including indexes for 1820-1880. (For 1930 the Archives only has Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood Counties.)

In general, from 1790-1840, the Federal Census recorded only the name of the head of the household and merely tabulated the number of males and females in age categories. Since the 1850 Federal Census, each person living in the household is listed by name.

The 1890 Federal Census was almost completely destroyed by fire. All that remains is a census of Union Veterans and their widows.

The Territory and State of Wisconsin conducted its own enumerations every ten years from 1836-1905. The UWSP Archives owns all of these censuses.

The 1905 State of Wisconsin Census is the only territorial or state census that lists all members of a household by name.

For additional information on Federal, Wisconsin State, and Canadian Censuses visit the Wisconsin Historical Society website.

 

 Central WI Genealogy Index Portage County Censuses

 
  1. The Archives staff will not make spelling changes in the indexes. This is not an ongoing project. It stands as is. Some of the names on the microfilm that the indexer used are difficult to read. Considerable effort went into resolving these difficulties for the production of this index, but many necessarily remain. Allowances should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. The poor penmanship of many of the enumerators plus an attitude of "spell it like it sounds" combined to make deciphering the names a difficult task. Add to this the census office auditors the habit of writing their notations directly over the names, and the result may be a combination impossible to decipher.
  2. The 1890 Federal Census was almost completely destroyed by fire. All that remains is a census of Civil War Union Veterans and their widows. The indexer did not index this Portage County Census.
  3. Please read the introductions that are provided for each individual census index. The indexer explains various factors that took place during each decade that may affect your search, such as changes in Portage County political boundaries. For the complete introductions and descriptions of each census, click below:

1850

The 1850 census, begun on the first of June, 1850 (the date of record), was taken by Assistant Marshal Thomas H. McDill, a resident of the town of Plover, then comprising most of the southern part of the county. McDill was responsible for visiting each of the approximately 204 households (many of which were hotels or boarding houses) in Portage County, to determine each of the following, as of the date of record:

  1. The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1850, was in this family
  2. Description: age, sex, color (white, black, mulatto)
  3. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each male person over 15 years of age
  4. Value of Real Estate Owned
  5. Place of Birth, Naming the State, Territory, or Country
  6. Whether person was married within the year
  7. Whether person attended school within the year
  8. Persons over 20 years of age who cannot read and write
  9. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict

Nationally, the enumerators went door to door, counting and compiling data on the 23 million inhabitants of the 31 states, not including Native Americans not taxed, nor slaves, who were counted separately. There was a special schedule for the enumeration of slaves, but as Wisconsin was a free state, no slave schedules exist. The enumerators were existing Federal employees; civilian enumerators were not hired until the 1880 census. They had orders to complete their work within five months.

This was the first Federal census to list the names of every inhabitant, and not merely heads of household as had previously been the case. Property owners were asked the value of their real estate, but these figures are at best only approximate. Indeed, it has been suggested that fear of increased taxes may have motivated some to undervalue their property.

Although Wisconsin became a state in 1848, county boundaries in 1850 were rather different from what they are at present. In particular, Range 10, the eastern tier of townships now in Portage County (Alban, New Hope, Amherst, Lanark, and Belmont) was part of Brown County, and, on the western side, the town of Grand Rapids, now in Wood County, was then in Portage County. Persons researching the Range 10 townships in 1850 should therefore see the census for Brown County. These townships were given to Portage County in February, 1851, and the town of Grand Rapids was ceded to Wood County when that county was formed in March, 1856. Thereafter the boundaries of Portage County have been as they are today.

The county at that time consisted of but three townships: Grand Rapids, Plover, and Stevens Point. The town of Stevens Point (not to be confused with the city of that name, which was not incorporated until 1858) comprised most of the northern part of the county, and the town of Plover the southern part. The official population was 1250, a good share of them constituting a "floating" population involved with the lumbering and sawmill industry.

This index groups families together, alphabetized by surname, for ease of identification. Exceptions to the family grouping occur when family members have a different surname (married daughters living at home, stepchildren, mothers-in-law, etc.); these are indexed separately. Each entry gives, in the right-hand column, the page number of the census schedule where the name can be found. On the microfilm, look for the printed page number in the upper right-hand corner of each right-hand or "A" page. The "B" page, with the same number, immediately follows.

In producing this index, considerable care and effort has gone into deciphering the penmanship, which is generally good, but as with all records of this type, large allowance should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. In some cases it is possible only to make a reasonable guess as to the enumerator’s intent. Watch out for the "long s", a letter which in 1850 was still in common use: in cursive script, "ss", with a long s in the first position, can look like "p."

The 1850 Census

Unit Census Pages Population
Town of Grand Rapids 5B – 9B 341
Town of Plover 2A – 5A, 10A – 11B 451
Town of Stevens Point 12A – 17A 458
Total Population 1,250

1860

The 1860 census, begun on the first of June, 1860, and to be completed within five months, was taken by Assistant Marshal Thomas B. McNair, a resident of the city of Stevens Point, then a city of 1,538 inhabitants. McNair was responsible for visiting each of the 1,593 households in Portage County, to determine each of the following, as of June 1, 1860, the effective date of the census:

  1. The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June, 1860, was in this family
  2. Description: age, sex, color (white, black, mulatto)
  3. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each person, male and female, over 15 years of age
  4. Value of Estate Owned: Value of Real Estate, Value of Personal Estate (new for 1860)
  5. Place of Birth, Naming the State, Territory, or Country
  6. Whether person was married within the year
  7. Whether person attended school within the year
  8. Persons over 20 years of age who cannot read and write
  9. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict

Nationally, this army of enumerators went door to door, counting and compiling data on the 31.4 million inhabitants of the country, not including Native Americans not taxed, nor slaves, who were counted separately. Portage County at that time consisted of fifteen governmental units (fourteen townships and the city of Stevens Point, not yet divided into wards), and had an official total population of 7507. For the first time in 1860, persons were asked about the value of their real estate and personal property. Their responses are probably not particularly accurate. Indeed, it has been suggested that fear of increased taxes may have motivated some to undervalue their property.

Although the boundaries of Portage County had been fixed by 1856 as they are today, the township boundaries remained unsettled until 1899. In 1860 the towns of Alban, Carson, Dewey did not yet exist. At that time the town of Eau Pleine extended to the east of the Wisconsin River, and the town of Hull extended north to the Marathon County line. The present town of Carson, and part of Linwood, formed the township of Stevens Point, what remained of the old Territorial township of that name which had originally extended east to the county line. The land now in the town of Alban was then part of New Hope. Part of Linwood lay south and east of the Wisconsin River, later to be ceded to the town of Plover. Various other township boundaries were slightly different from what they are today. It should therefore be kept in mind that finding families in different townships in different censuses does not necessarily mean that they had moved.

This index groups families together, alphabetized by surname, for ease of identification. Exceptions to the family grouping occur when family members have a different surname (married daughters living at home, stepchildren, mothers-in-law, etc.); these are indexed separately. Each entry gives, in the right-hand column, the page number of the census schedule where the name can be found. On the microfilm, look for the page number in the upper left- or right-hand corner. Unfortunately, for reasons which are not clear, the pages were not microfilmed in numerical order. The pages can be found in the following sequence: 47 – 58, 75 – 90, 11 – 22, 35 – 46, 1 – 6, 117 – 122, 23 – 34, 67 – 74, 105 – 116, 59 – 66, 135 – 158, 123 – 134, 159 – 197, 7 – 10, 91 – 104.

In producing this index, considerable care and effort has gone into deciphering the penmanship, which is generally good, but as with all records of this type, large allowance should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. In some cases it is possible only to make a reasonable guess as to the enumerator’s intent. Watch out for the "long s", a letter which in 1860 had not yet fallen into disuse: in cursive script, "ss", with a long s in the first position, can look like "p."

The 1860 Census

Unit Census Pages Population
Town of Almond 46 – 58 491
Town of Amherst 74 – 89 600
Town of Belmont 10 – 22 465
Town of Buena Vista 34 – 45 428
Town of Eau Pleine 1 – 5 185
Town of Hull 116 – 122 225
Town of Lanark 23 – 34 435
Town of Linwood 67 – 73 274
Town of New Hope 104 – 116 484
Town of Pine Grove 58 – 66 299
Town of Plover 134 – 157 895
Town of Sharon 122 – 134 454
City of Stevens Point 158 – 197 1,538
Town of Stevens Point 6 – 10 143
Town of Stockton 89 – 104 592
Total Population 7,507

1870

The 1870 census, taken during the month of June, 1870, was taken by Assistant Marshal Peter Grover, a resident of the town of Amherst, who was responsible for visiting each of the nearly 2000 households in Portage County, to determine the following, as of June 1, 1870, the effective date of the census:

  1. The name of every person whose place of abode on the first day of June, 1870, was in this family
  2. Description: age at last birthday, sex, color (white, black, mulatto, Chinese, Indian)
  3. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each person, male or female
  4. Value of Real Estate owned
  5. Place of birth, naming State or Territory of U. S.; or the Country, if of foreign birth
  6. Parentage: Father of foreign birth, Mother of foreign birth.
  7. If born within the year, state month [new for 1870]
  8. If married within the year, state month [new for 1870]
  9. Attended school within the year
  10. Education: Cannot read, Cannot write
  11. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic

Constitutional Relations: Male citizens of U. S. of 21 years of age and upwards; male citizens of U. S. of 21 years of age and upwards, whose right to vote is denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime [new for 1870]

Nationally, the enumerators went door to door, counting and compiling data on the 38.6 million inhabitants of the country, not including Native Americans not taxed, who were counted separately. Portage County at that time consisted of eighteen governmental units (fifteen townships and three city wards), and had an official total population of 10,634. The residents of the city of Stevens Point numbered 1,810.

Although the boundaries of Portage County had been fixed by 1856 as they are today, the township boundaries remained unsettled until 1899. Small areas were being traded back and forth among Plover, Grant, Buena Vista, and Pine Grove townships, the political reasons for which are interesting (see Our County Our Story by Malcolm Rosholt). In 1870 the towns of Alban, Carson, Dewey did not yet exist. At that time the town of Eau Pleine extended to the east of the Wisconsin River, and the town of Hull extended north to the Marathon County line. The present town of Carson, and part of Linwood, fomed the township of Stevens Point, what remained of the old Territorial township of that name which had originally extended east to the county line. The land now in the town of Alban was then part of New Hope. The part of Linwood south and east of the Wisconsin River had been ceded to the town of Plover in 1864. It should therefore be kept in mind that finding families in different townships in different censuses does not necessarily mean that they had moved.

This index groups families together, alphabetized by surname, for ease of identification. Exceptions to the family grouping occur when family members have a different surname (married daughters living at home, stepchildren, mothers-in-law, etc.); these are indexed separately. Each entry gives, in the right-hand column, the page number of the census schedule where the name can be found. On the microfilm, look for the number in the upper right-hand corner: imagine a large book opened flat; the left-hand page is the "A" side, the right-hand page, bearing the page number, is the "B" side. You will find a few persons erroneously counted twice, generally young people working away from home, who were counted in both places.

In producing this index, considerable care and effort has gone into deciphering the penmanship, which is generally good, but as with all records of this type, large allowance should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. In some cases it is only possible to make a reasonable guess as to the enumerator’s intent.

The 1870 Census

Unit Census Pages Population
Town of Almond 53B – 61B 651
Town of Amherst 62B – 74B 982
Town of Belmont 75B – 81B 508
Town of Buena Vista 82B – 90A 624
Town of Eau Pleine 90B – 94B 333
Town of Grant 95B – 98A 240
Town of Hull 98B – 106A 621
Town of Lanark 106B – 112A 471
Town of Linwood 112B – 117A 388
Town of New Hope 117B – 126B 751
Town of Pine Grove 127B – 131A 318
Town of Plover 131B – 142B 881
Town of Sharon 143B – 155A 948
Town of Stevens Point 155B – 156B 85
First Ward, Stevens Point 157B – 166A 691
Second Ward, Stevens Point 166B – 176A 788
Third Ward, Stevens Point 176B – 180B 331
Town of Stockton 181B – 194A 1,023
Total Population 10,634

1880

The 1880 census, regarded by some as the first "modern" census of the United States, was taken during the month of June, 1880, and was the first to use a specially-appointed staff of more than 31,000 enumerators. Earlier censuses had been the responsibility of existing local officials, typically sheriffs and federal marshals. The enumerators went door to door, counting and compiling data on the 50 million inhabitants of the country, not including Native Americans not taxed, who were counted separately. The twenty-seven governmental units of Portage County (seventeen townships, six villages and four city wards) were enumerated by seventeen persons, with varying penmanship skills and spelling ability.

The data gathered in 1880 had been considerably expanded from earlier times. This census was the first to include the relationship of each person in the household to the head, and marital status of each.

The census taker was instructed to record:

  1. Name of street, and house number (in cities)

For each person residing at that place on June 1:

  1. Name
  2. Color: White, black, mulatto, Chinese, Indian
  3. Sex
  4. Age at last birthday prior to June 1; if under 1 year, give as a fraction, together with month of birth
  5. Relationship to head of household
  6. Single, married, widowed
  7. Whether married during the past year
  8. Profession, occupation, or trade (not asked of children)
  9. Number of months unemployed during the past year
  10. Whether sick or temporarily disabled on the day of the visit, and if so, the complaint
  11. Whether blind, deaf & dumb, idiotic, insane, maimed/crippled/bedridden or otherwise disabled
  12. Whether attended school during the past year
  13. Cannot read; cannot write
  14. Place of birth
  15. Place of birth of father; place of birth of mother

Although the boundaries of Portage County had been fixed by 1856 as they are today, the township boundaries remained unsettled until 1899. Small areas were being traded back and forth among Plover, Grant, Buena Vista, and Pine Grove townships, the political reasons for which are interesting (see Our County Our Story by Malcolm Rosholt).  In 1880 the town of Carson was much smaller than today, comprising only the western part; most of the area west of the city of Stevens Point made up the town of Stevens Point, which existed until 1899, when its territory was divided between Carson and Linwood. The town of Dewey did not yet exist at all. At that time the town of Eau Pleine extended to the east of the Wisconsin River, and the town of Hull extended north to the Marathon County line. It should therefore be kept in mind that finding families in different townships in different censuses does not necessarily mean that they had moved.

The Stevens Point city limits were, on the west and south, the same as they are today, but present-day Maria Drive formed the northern boundary, and the approximate location of the future Frontenac Avenue was the eastern limit. North Division Street did not extend beyond Franklin Street, where it ended in undrained marsh lands. The city was partitioned into four wards, the first being the central city, the second the southwest quadrant, the third the southeast quadrant, and the fourth the northwest part. The northeast part, along "Jordan Road", which later became Stanley Street, was unplatted.

In producing this index, considerable care and effort has gone into deciphering the penmanship, but as with all records of this type, large allowance should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. In some cases it is only possible to make a reasonable guess as to the enumerator’s intent.

Enumerators of the 1880 Census

Unit Census Pages Population Enumerator
Town of Alban 9B – 12D 310 Samuel Torgerson
Town of Almond 13A – 21B 872 Charles E. Webster
Town of Amherst 26A – 28A, 31D – 36A, 37C – 38A, 39D – 40B 970 A. Howen
Village of Amherst 28B – 31C 298 A. Howen
Village of Amherst Junction 36B 49 A. Howen
Town of Belmont 50A – 55B 535 S. H. Sawyer
Town of Buena Vista 41A – 49A 830 James Ward
Town of Carson 190B – 191D, 193A – 195A 387 George E. Oster, Frank F. Oster
Town of Eau Pleine 56A – 65D 608 James I. Ennis
Town of Grant 66A – 69C 309 Adolph Panter
Town of Hull 70A, 71C – 80B 979 William Reading
Village of Jordan 70B – 71C 68 William Reading
Village of Junction City 190A 39 George E. Oster
Town of Lanark 81A – 89A 663 Ira Whipple
Town of Linwood 90A – 96B 406 Oscar F. Seamans
Village of Nelsonville 38B – 39C 59 A. Howen
Town of New Hope 1A – 9A 801 Samuel Torgerson
Town of Pine Grove 22C – 25B 339 Charles E. Webster
Town of Plover 97A – 100D, 105B – 110C 808 John W. Strope
Village of Plover 101A – 105A 412 John W. Strope
Town of Sharon 111A – 129A 1,639 John McGreer
Town of Stevens Point 192A, 195B – 200D 619 George E. Oster, Frank F. Oster
First Ward, Stevens Point 144A – 154A 1,020 George W. Green
Second Ward, Stevens Point 165A – 178D 1,377 Andrew F. Wyatt
Third Ward, Stevens Point 179A – 189B 1,063 Andrew F. Wyatt
Fourth Ward, Stevens Point 155A – 164D 988 George W. Green
Town of Stockton 130A – 143D 1,360 James Pollard
Total Population 17,731

1900

It was 1900; William McKinley was president, Edward Scofield was governor of Wisconsin, and Patrick H. Cashin was mayor of Stevens Point, a city of 9,524 inhabitants. North Division Street ended in a swamp before it reached Fourth Avenue, and what is now Goerke Park was the fairgrounds, out in the country. The country was still talking about its recent war with Spain, and Congress has just gotten around to directing that a twelfth census be taken of the United States.

In 1900, a permanent Bureau of the Census did not yet exist. Instead, every ten years Congress simply passed its customary decennial Census Act establishing a census office and ordaining in general what it was to accomplish. Those appointed to the office then set about hiring staff and an army of enumerators and supervisors, usually untrained if not unsuited for the job, who proceeded to gather and tabulate the census data, and then the entire office disbanded.

Experience with the 1880 census had shown, however, that tabulating census data was fast becoming a full-time job. It had taken nine years to complete work on the 1880 census, and it was even feared that tabulating the 1890 census (now lost) would not be finished by the time the 1900 census was to be taken. (It was, in fact, completed in seven years, owing largely to the use of rudimentary tabulating machines which had been invented expressly for the purpose.) Gains in efficiency were offset by demands from Congress for more enumeration detail, and by the massive immigration which had swollen the 1900 population to half again its 1880 size.

Enumerators were trained, and given volumes of material to read, but their job was hard. Traveling by horse and buggy on dirt roads, they encountered foreign languages, uncooperative residents, and others who simply did not know what the census was all about. The newspapers had given much advance publicity to the census, listing the questions that would be asked, and reminding the public that compliance was mandatory, but this was a time when one person in ten was foreign-born, and one in nine was illiterate.

The enumerators themselves were a mixed lot. For the first time in 1900, enumerators received their appointment only after passing a written exam, which they could take at home. The exam consisted of a narrative description of a hypothetical family, and a blank form identical to the population schedule that would be used to record the census. The would-be enumerator was to fill out the schedule from the given data and return it to the district supervisor. Of the 300,000 persons who submitted applications, one out of six failed this test. Of the remaining group, 53,173 were chosen as enumerators. They had the entire month of June to finish their task, but June 1 was the official date of record. Babies born after that date were not to be counted; on the other hand, anyone alive on the first of June was to be counted, even if they had died by the time the census taker came to call.

Page 98B, Town of Grant, family names Gussel, Joecks, Kausora, Miller, Panter, Timm, and Turban from the Twelfth (1900) U.S. Census of Portage County

Page 98B, Town of Grant, family names Gussel, Joecks, Kausora, Miller, Panter, Timm, and Turban from the Twelfth (1900) U.S. Census of Portage County

Click here or on the image for a larger sample of the actual document (645KB).

All of the enumerators had learned penmanship in school, but they were more or less successful at it. Spelling of names became a challenge, especially when the enumerator and his subject were of different ethnic extractions, and did not speak each other’s language. Consequently, many of the names you will find in the census schedules, and in this index, are horribly misspelled. Known errors have been corrected, but the reader is urged to try every possible variant spelling of a name, and every possible misspelling (and perhaps some impossible ones as well) before concluding that the person being sought is not in the census.

Families are indexed as a group, for ease of identification, and alphabetized by surname. Exceptions to the family grouping occur when family members have a different surname (married daughters living at home, stepchildren, mothers-in-law, etc.); these are indexed separately. Every person enumerated in 1900 is in the index somewhere; the only exceptions are twelve Felician sisters of the Polonia orphanage who were counted but not listed by name. Each entry gives, in the right-hand column, the page number of the census schedule where the name can be found. On the microfilm, look for the number in the upper right-hand corner. A few persons were erroneously counted twice, but there is no evidence of the "padding" of which some earlier enumerators had been accused.

The census schedules give the location (including street address and house number if in the city); name; relationship to the head of household; race; sex; date of birth (month and year); age; marital status; if married, how many years; for mothers, mother of how many children; nativity (place of birth, father’s place of birth, mother’s place of birth); if foreign born, year of immigration, number of years in the US, and naturalization status; occupation, trade, or profession for each person 10 years of age and over; education (attended school, can read, can write, can speak English); ownership of home.

Some of the names on the films are exceedingly difficult to read. Poor penmanship plus an attitude of "spell it like it sounds" combine to make a hard puzzle for the genealogist to solve. Add to this the habit of the auditors in the census office of writing their notations directly over the names, and the result may be a combination impossible to decipher. At their best, enumerators wrote in an elegant hand, but at their worst, one wishes they had foregone the flourishes and printed in simple block letters. Considerable effort has gone into resolving these difficulties for the production of this index, but unfortunately many necessarily remain.

Enumerators of the 1900 Census
Unit Census Pages Population Enumerator
Town of Alban 1A – 9B 878 Lewie Halverson
Town of Almond 10A – 20B 1,080 Wayne F. Cowan
Town of Amherst 21A – 31B, 38A – 41B 1,425 Clifford F. Smith, Thomas C. E. Sand
Village of Amherst 32A – 37B 558 Thomas C. E. Sand
Town of Belmont 42A – 49B 781 Peter N. Brandt
Town of Buena Vista 50A – 61B 1,102 Lewis E. Wentworth
Town of Carson 69A – 84B 1,505 Charles H. Dake
Town of Dewey 303A – 310B 754 John McHugh
Town of Eau Pleine 85A – 95B 1,086 Gustave Borth
Town of Grant 96A – 101B 557 John W. Bovee
Town of Hull 108A – 122B 1,469 Myron E. Van Order
Town of Lanark 123A – 131B 825 Thomas Swan
Town of Linwood 62A – 68B 677 Charles H. Dake
Town of New Hope 132A – 141B 962 John A. Hole
Town of Pine Grove 102A – 107B 565 John W. Bovee
Town & Village of Plover 142A – 158B 1,611 Silas D. Clark, Burton S. Fox
Town of Sharon 159A – 181B 2,225 August Oesterle, Henry Schliesman
First Ward, Stevens Point 182A – 196B 1,448 Henry J. Halverson
Second Ward, Stevens Point 197A – 213B 1,699 Warren L. Bronson
Third Ward, Stevens Point 223A – 241B 1,600 John W. Strope
Fourth Ward, Stevens Point 242A – 265B 2,313 John H. Wallace
Fifth Ward, Stevens Point 266A – 282B 1,623 Daniel J. Leahy
Sixth Ward, Stevens Point 214A – 222B 841 Warren L. Bronson
Town of Stockton 283A – 302B 1,899 William L. Arnott, Grace M. Arnott
Total Population 29,483
 

 Historic Building Research

 

The Office of Historic Buildings documents and records Wisconsin's historic architecture. It also serves as the clearinghouse for information on historic state architecture, and it funds local history research to increase public awareness of the past. In addition, it administers survey and inventory subgrants and provides educational services. For more information, visit: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/buildings.

The Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) administers both the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Places. These programs recognize properties that retain their historic character. Having property listed on these registers provides tangible benefits to private property owners and assists them in preserving their properties. Publicly owned properties receive special protection and assistance.

The WHS also compiles historical and architectural information on more than 110,000 historic buildings and structures throughout Wisconsin including houses, round barns, cast iron bridges, commercial buildings, and log houses. Search the most up-to-date version of the National or State Register of Historic Places and/or the Society's Architecture and History Inventory (AHI).

The WHS Historic Places website also offers information on how-to preserve historic buildings on its Frequently Asked Technical Questions page. Topics covered range from accessibility for the disabled and caring for a log cabin to cleaning and tuck pointing old brick houses. The WHS Historic Places Frequently Asked Technical Questions page is available at: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/architecture/faq.asp.

 

 Naturalization Record Research

 

The UWSP ARC maintains the naturalization records for the following counties: Adams (1853-1949), Juneau (1849-1957), Langlade (1881-1957), Lincoln (1872-1958), Marathon (1851-1991), Portage (1844-1956), Waupaca (1853-1948), Waushara (1852-1949) and Wood (1858-1991). To request a search for a naturalization record, please use this form: http://www.uwsp.edu/library/archives/Documents/researchRequests/naturalization-request-form.pdf. For Portage and Waupaca Counties, you may also check the Central Wisconsin Genealogy Index for your ancestors and use our e-commerce site to place your order: http://mypoint.uwsp.edu/Library/gen_index/.

There is no statewide index for naturalization records. Determine the county the applicant resided in. In addition, keep in mind that the applicant did not have to apply for citizenship in their county of residence. If the applicant is not found in the county they resided in, check neighboring counties. Applicants could also file the declaration of intent in one location and the petition in another location including a different state.

If the applicant's papers are not found in the county of residence, or in neighboring counties, contact the National Archives and Records Administration Regional Center in Chicago. The records of Wisconsinites that were naturalized in federal courts, rather than county courts, are housed here.

The amount of information found in naturalization records varies greatly before 1906. The process was standardized in 1906 when the federal government established the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Generally, the post-1906 records contain more information than earlier records.

Before 1908, under the Wisconsin Constitution, men were allowed to vote and to acquire government land by purchase or under the Homestead Act of 1862 once they filed a declaration of intent. Before 1908, many applicants took advantage of this, filed only a declaration of intent and did not petition for citizenship.

Until 1922, women were automatically naturalized when their husbands were or if they married a citizen. Since women could not vote until about 1919, many single women did not bother to seek citizenship. Children were also automatically naturalized when their fathers were.

Beginning in 1862 military service could be substituted for the declaration of intent.

Visit the Wisconsin Historical Society website for additional immigration record information.

 

 Obituary Research

 
WI State Image

Central Wisconsin Genealogy Index

A joint project of:
UWSP University Archives
Portage County Public Library
Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society
Waupaca Area Genealogical Society

Obituaries From These Newspapers Are Indexed

  • Wisconsin Pinery (WP), 1864 – 1890
  • Stevens Point Weekly Journal (SPWJ), 1871 – 1920
  • The [Stevens Point] Gazette (also known as Portage County Gazette & The Gazette), 1878 – 1923
  • Stevens Point Daily Journal (SPDJ), 1895 – 1980
  • Stevens Point Journal (SPJ), 1895 – Present
  • Portage County Gazette (PCG), 1999 – Present

To Obtain Photocopies of Obituaries

Before ordering please read our Terms of Service.

Online: Obituaries may be ordered online using the Central Wisconsin Genealogy Index.

Mail Order: Use the Central Wisconsin Genealogy Index to select obituaries. When you are done selecting obituaries, select "View Cart" and then "Print a Mail Order Form".

In person: The University Archives and Area Research Center is located on the 5th floor of the James H. Albertson Learning Resource Center. No appointment is necessary. Please visit our homepage for hours. The newspapers listed on this page are also available on microfilm at the Portage County Public Library.

Some recent obituaries are available in full text on the Central Wisconsin Genealogy Index. Click on any date which is underlined to view the obituary.

To Report Errors

Please send errors or omissions to University Archives at archives@uwsp.edu. Reports of errors or omissions should relate only to indexed obituaries in the Stevens Point Journal, [Stevens Point] Gazette, the Portage County Gazette, or the Wisconsin Pinery.

 

 Preservation Tips

 

Preservation Basics

Keep family records in a stable environment. Avoid storing documents and memorabilia in areas subject to extremes in temperature and humidity such as basements, garages, and attics. Do not shelve collections above radiators, on fireplace mantels, or near water pipes. Avoid displaying or storing items against outside walls where condensation may occur. A combination of heat and humidity encourages mold growth and insect activity. Keep items out of direct light. Sunlight and fluorescent light cause fading, discoloration, and other chemical changes. Provide a storage environment that is clean, cool, and dark to assure protection for paper records, photographs, and other memorabilia.

Reversibility

Sound preservation practices allow you to reverse past attempts to preserve materials without causing damage to them. Whatever steps are taken to protect personal records should not permanently alter or damage them. For example, using a pen or felt tip marker to label an item damages it by staining or bleeding through of the ink. A no. 2 pencil is recommended for labeling. Lamination is another process that is not reversible. The plastic coating permanently bonds to the document, and attempts to remove the lamination destroys the surface of the original document.

Identification

Label the backs of documents or photographs with information about the date of the event, the source of the item, names and ages of participants, a description of the event, and location. Use a no. 2 pencil.

Paper Documents

  • Protect documents from light and dust by storing them in acid-free folders and document storage boxes.
  • Do not repair torn documents with adhesive tape or rubber cement. They will eventually stain and damage documents. Removable stickies (e.g. Post-it Notes) also leave a residue that stains even after removal. Archival quality tapes are available.
  • Do not use paper clips, staples, or straight pins to fasten items. They eventually rust, stain, and tear paper. Do not use rubber bands. They harden and bond to paper. Store collections of documents together in archival quality file folders and boxes.
  • Use copies of originals for display. Protect the originals by storing them in archival sleeves, folders, and boxes.
  • Photocopy newspaper clippings onto buffered paper. Newspaper is highly acidic and becomes brittle and discolored.

Scrapbooks and Photo Albums

  • Store and display photographs in 3-ring binders with archival quality sleeves. If you do not use sleeves, attach photographs and postcards with archival photo corners such as Mylar or paper mounting corners. (Sleeves are sold under a variety of trade names including polyethylene, polypropylene, and Mylar. Photo shops may sell them. Do not purchase sleeves labeled "archival," which are not identified by trade name and never use vinyl (PVC or polyvinyl chloride) for storing your materials. If the sleeve smells like plastic, it is not of archival storage quality.
  • Use white or off-white, acid free, 80# paper as pages in the scrapbook. Display on one side of the page only. Leave a blank page at the beginning and end of the book for support and protection. An artist's sketchpad works well for a scrapbook. Be sure that it is made of 100% cotton fiber.

Photographs

  • Handle negatives and photographs by their edges or use clean cotton gloves. Hands have oils on them that stain images.
  • Do not store photos in magnetic photo albums. The photos are stained and damaged by the adhesives and plastics used in them. Use the photo album suggested above.
  • Label photographs on the reverse side of the image along the margins. Use a no. 2 pencil for labeling.

Preservation Product Suppliers

Notes

  • These are merely general guidelines. Types of materials vary as do their conditions. The UWSP Archives is not responsible for any problems or damage that may occur if you follow any of the tips outlined above.
  • The UWSP Archives does not endorse the companies listed above. Our intent is to provide a service to researchers who frequently ask about preservation products and services. Be advised that many other companies offer preservation products and services.
 

 Vital Records Research

 

The UWSP ARC maintains pre-1907 birth, death and marriage records for the following counties: Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood. To request a search for a vital record, please use this form: http://www.uwsp.edu/library/archives/Documents/researchRequests/vital-records-request-form.pdf.

Vital records document births, marriages, and deaths. Each state maintains the vital records of the events that take place within their borders.

Early Wisconsin vital records are extremely incomplete. Birth and death records are particularly incomplete. Although Wisconsin Law required each county to register these events since 1852, only a limited number were actually recorded by the counties before September 30, 1907. (Note: these events did not have to be registered in the county in which they took place.)

One of the most important aspects of a vital record is the informant. Many records provide the name of the informant toward the bottom of the form. When reviewing the potential accuracy of the record, consider the informant's relationship to the event being recorded. Is the informant a member of the immediate family and therefore more likely to provide accurate information? Someone who is not related to the family, such as a physician or midwife, may have completed the form. The further removed the informant is from the immediate family, the more likely mistakes may have been made. Cross-reference the information in vital records with other sources, such as a family bible, whenever possible.

The UWSP Archives has the Pre-1907 Statewide Indexes for Births, Marriages, and Deaths. We only have the microfilmed records for the nine counties we serve: Adams, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood.

The UWSP Archives does not have any post-1907 Wisconsin vital records.

To obtain post-1907 Wisconsin vital records contact the appropriate County Register of Deeds Office, or the Wisconsin Center for Health Statistics - Vital Records: P.O. Box 309, Madison, WI 53701 or DHSVitalRecords@wisconsin.gov.

For additional information on Wisconsin Vital Records visit these websites:

 

 Additional Genealogy & History Resources

 

Central Wisconsin History & Genealogy Links