Wood County, Wisconsin, Genealogy

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Cemeteries

  • A listing of cemeteries with maps, burial listings and directions are available on-line. Many of these listings include recently updated burials, but there is no combined index to them.
  • A combined cemetery index compiled mostly in the 1970s and 1980s is also available, but is it not online. It covers sixty-eight cemeteries in Wood County and St. Joseph's Lutheran (Kellner) in Portage County. Lookups in this index may be made through the Ask McMillan e-mail reference service.

City & County Directories, Phone Directories, Plat Books/Atlases

Newspapers
The following is a list of all newspapers in the Wisconsin Rapids area (Wisconsin Rapids, Nekoosa, Pittsville and Vesper) for which copies have survived to the present. McMillan's microfilm holdings are noted. Within the date ranges shown below for surviving local newspapers, individual issues may be missing.

  1. Wood County Reporter:
    1. Wood County Reporter (published weekly or semiweekly, 1857-1923) (have 2/17/1858 to 11/1/1923, most 1865 to 1870 issues missing)
    2. Daily Reporter (published daily, 1906-1917,  (have 1906-1909, 1911-1917)
  2. Centralia Enterprise:
    1. Centralia Enterprise (published weekly, 1879-1887) (have circa 5/21/1879 to 5/26/1887)
      (some early issues on a roll labeled "Wisconsin Miscellaneous Papers")
      (merged with Grand Rapids Tribune to form Centralia Enterprise & Tribune)
  3. Grand Rapids-Centralia-Grand Rapids Tribune
    1. Grand Rapids Tribune (published weekly, 1873-1887) (have 8/30/1873 to 5/28/1887)
      (merged with Centralia Enterprise to form Centralia Enterprise & Tribune)
    2. Centralia Enterprise & Tribune (published weekly, 1887-1900) (have 6/4/1887 to 4/14/1900)
      (changed name to Grand Rapids Tribune when Grand Rapids and Centralia merged)
    3. Grand Rapids Tribune (published weekly, 1900-1920) (have 4/21/1900 to 2/26/1920)
  4. Wisconsin Valley Leader-Daily Leader-Grand Rapids Leader-Daily Tribune
    1. Wisconsin Valley Leader (published weekly, 1902-1920?) (have 3/6/1902 to 2/21/1918)
    2. Daily Leader (published daily, 1914-1919) (have 5/25/1914 to 10/15/1919)
      (changed name to Grand Rapids Leader)
    3. Grand Rapids Leader (published daily, 1919-1920) (have 10/16/1919 to 2/28/1920)
      (changed name to Grand Rapids Daily Tribune) 
    4. Grand Rapids Daily Tribune (published daily, 1920) (have 3/1/1920 to 8/4/1920)
      (under banner title Grand Rapids Tribune from 3/1/1920 to 3/20/1920)
      (changed name to Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)
  5. Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune (published daily, 1920-present) (have 8/5/1920 to present)
    1. Yellow River Pilot-Pittsville Times-Wood County Times-Nekoosa Tribune:
    2. Yellow River Pilot (Pittsville, WI) (published weekly 1895-1903) (have 11/5/1897 to 2/27/1903)
    3. Pittsville Wisconsin Times and the Yellow River Pilot (published weekly 1903-1904) (have 3/6/1903 to 2/11/1904)
    4. Pittsville Times and the Yellow River Pilot (published weekly 1904-1905) (have 2/18/1904 to 9/1/1905)
    5. Wood County Times and the Yellow River Pilot (Nekoosa, WI) (published weekly 1905-1908) (have 9/7/1905 to 12/31/1908)
    6. Wood County Times (Nekoosa, WI) (published weekly 1909-1915) (have 1/7/1909 to 12/30/1915)
    7. Nekoosa Tribune (Nekoosa, WI) (published weekly 1916-1922) (have 1/13/1916 to 3/16/1922)
  6. Other Nekoosa newspapers:
    1. Nekoosa-Port Edwards News (Nekoosa, WI) (published weekly, 1938-?) (have 9/15/1938, 10/20/1938, 11/23/1938 issues)
    2. Nekoosa-Port Edwards Weekly News (Nekoosa, WI) (published weekly, 1976-?) (have 3/25/1976 to 10/7/1976)
  7. Pittsville Record:
    1. Pittsville Record (published weekly 1909-present) (have 8/19/1909 to 12/26/1996)
  8. Vesper newspapers:
    1. Vesper State Center (published weekly 1911-1964) (have 10/11/1911 to 7/16/1964)
    2. Vesper Pioneer (published weekly 1911-1919?) (have 12/13/1912, 5/14/1913, 11/27/1914 issues)

If you are unable to visit McMillan, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin also owns these items and makes them available for interlibrary loan. Check with your local public library.

Local Indexes Online and In-House

  • Several other indexes, compiled by the Heart O'Wisconsin Genealogical Society or by individuals, are available at the Library, including:
    • Wood County declarations of intent (to become a U.S. citizen), 1872-1921
    • Bride and Groom indexes to marriages recorded by the Wood County Register of Deeds, 1867-1941
    • A collection of "Miscellaneous Indexes from Sources in Wood County" including indexes to:
    • 1850 U.S. Census, Portage County (WI), Town of Grand Rapids
    • 1850/1860/1870 U.S. Census, Wood County (WI), Mortality Schedules
    • Confirmation Classes 1868-1924, Lutheran Church of Arkdale, Strongs Prairie Township, Adams County, WI
    • Wood County Death Records, Volume 1, 1877-1897
    • 1956 Wood County Centennial Edition, published by Wisconsin Rapids Tribune and Marshfield News Herald
    • Enrollment for Wood County, WI Civil War soldiers (1863), Civil War pensioners in Wood County, WI (1883), and veterans residing in Wood County, WI (1885) extracted from local newspapers
    • Wood County, WI enumeration of soldiers and sailors extracted from 1885 and 1895 Wisconsin State Censuses
    • Civil War and Spanish-American War veterans buried in Forest Hill and Calvary cemeteries, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
    • Tax sales and sales of forfeited lands published in two 1858 issues of the Wood County Reporter
    • Plat maps/atlases published in 1878, ca. 1896 (also referred to as 1884, 1890, or 1892), and 1909

United States Federal Census for Wisconsin
The Library subscribes to these online and no longer houses them on microfilm.

Wisconsin State Census
The Library owns microfilm for the entire state of the following state censuses:
Territorial: --1836, 1838, 1842, 1846, 1847
State: --1855, 1875, 1885, 1895, 1905
The 1905 census was the only Wisconsin state census that fully enumerated all persons, not only heads of household. 

Other Microfilm Resources
Wisconsin Necrology, vol. 1-52 (1846-1968), has, on eight microfilms, obituaries of prominent Wisconsin persons clipped from Wisconsin newspapers (mostly, though not entirely, from southern Wisconsin) by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Wood County Naturalizations: Information from 1874 to 1991, microfilmed by the LDS Church and WHS, is at the Library on 14 microfilms. While searching the films is an involved process, finding aids include partial indexes microfilmed with the records themselves, and Wood County Wisconsin Index to Declarations of Intent 1872-1921, compiled by the Heart O'Wisconsin Genealogical Society, of which the Library has a print copy.

School Attendance Registers and Other Records Kept at the Thomas A. Lenk Educational Center (Wisconsin Rapids School District), microfilmed by the LDS Church, is at the Library on 14 microfilms.

Sanborn Maps (Fire Insurance Maps) for Merrill and Wisconsin Rapids (formerly Grand Rapids and Centralia - some maps include Biron and Nekoosa) are on a single microfilm.

Guyant Collection of Tombstone Inscriptions. This collection includes tombstone inscriptions copied between 1970 and 1981 by Wayne and Alta Guyant in cemeteries in seventeen Wisconsin counties, and clipped newspaper obituaries and other related items. The records represent every known cemetery in Florence, Langlade, Portage, Waupaca, and Waushara counties and many in Adams, Barron, Forest, Green Lake, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Oneida, Outagamie, Shawano, Winnebago, and Wood counties.

Several indexes and genealogical lists, of which the Library has print copies, that were compiled by the Heart O' Wisconsin Genealogical Society and have been microfilmed by the LDS Church, are on 16 microfilms at the Library, identified with LDS' FHLC (Family History Library Catalog) film number.

Books and Compilations Online and in Print
Many local history titles are available at the Library, some of them as part of our Local History On-Line collection. Our catalog is available on-line.

Governmental Directories
Directory of Public Officials Wood County, Wis./Wood County Official Directory, 1957-present
Directory of City Officials, Boards and Commissions, City of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, 1972-present
Annual School Directory/School Directory of Wood County/Directory of Wood County Schools, 1955-56 to 1958-59

School Yearbooks

  • Lincoln High School (Wisconsin Rapids) Ahdawagam, 1912-present. (index - off-site)
  • West Junior High School (Wisconsin Rapids), 1972-present
  • East Junior High School (Wisconsin Rapids) Eagle, 1980-present
  • Assumption High School (Wisconsin Rapids) Profile, 1955 - present (missing 1967, 1969, 1987). (index - off-site)
  • Alexander High School (Nekoosa) Moccasin, scattered holdings, 1925-1962
  • John Edwards High School (Port Edwards) Papyrus, 1937-1938


In addition, The Museum of the South Wood County Historical Corporation has 14 issues of the Icarian, the yearbook of Rudolph High School, from 1943 to 1962.

Local Histories and Manuscript Collections
History of Wood County, Wisconsin compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and others. 1923, 1930. An index is available in print at the Library.

Copies of the following compilations by the Heart O'Wisconsin Genealogical Society are at the library:

  • Histories and Directories of Wood County, WI Churches, 17 volumes
  • Histories of Wood County, WI Communities, 3 volumes
  • Histories of Wood County, WI Public Schools, 4 volumes
  • School History Project, Wood County, WI, 3 volumes
  • Survey of Wood County, WI Governmental Records, 6 volumes
  • Copies of Wood County, WI Governmental Records, 4 volumes

Note that many of these collections are not indexed and need to be used in-person at the Library.

Online Genealogy Databases

  • Access NewspaperARCHIVE contains tens of millions of searchable newspaper pages, dating as far back as the 1700s. Coverage can be spotty. Searches can be limited by newspaper, city or state. Can also be accessed from home with a valid McMillan or South Central area library card.
  • HeritageQuest Online provides access to census data, local histories, tax rolls, cemetery lists, military rosters, and more. Can also be accessed from home with a valid McMillan or South Central area library card.
  • AncestryPlus provides access to more than 4,000 databases, including census data, passenger lists, the Social Security Death Index, and much more. Available for in-library use only.

Internet Sites