Portage County, Wisconsin Genealogy

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United States
Portage County

Guide to Portage County, Wisconsin ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Stevens Point
Organized: December 7, 1842
Parent County(s): Brown, Crawford, Iowa and Milwaukee Counties[1]
Neighboring Counties
Adams  • Marathon  • Shawano  • Waupaca  • Waushara  • Wood
See County Maps
Portage County Courthouse, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.jpg
Location Map
WI Portage.png

County Information


The County was named for the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. The County has Stevens Point as its seat and the County was created 1844. The County is located in the central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Portage County Courthouse
1516 Church Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Portage County Website

Register of Deeds office has birth, death, marriage records, and land records.

Portage County, Wisconsin Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1863 1860 1856 1844 1841 1890 1820
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1907. General compliance year unknown.

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Wisconsin County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Wisconsin County Boundary Maps" (1790-1961) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

History Timeline


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Portage County, Wisconsin online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Wisconsin Cemeteries for more information

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1840 1,623
1850 1,250 −23.0%
1860 7,507 500.6%
1870 10,634 41.7%
1880 17,731 66.7%
1890 24,798 39.9%
1900 29,483 18.9%
1910 30,945 5.0%
1920 33,649 8.7%
1930 33,827 0.5%
1940 35,800 5.8%
1950 34,858 −2.6%
1960 36,964 6.0%
1970 47,541 28.6%
1980 57,420 20.8%
1990 61,405 6.9%
2000 67,182 9.4%
2010 70,019 4.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

For tips on accessing Portage census records online, see: Wisconsin Census.

State Census

  • 1855 - 1855 Wisconsin State Census This census includes name of head of family; other individuals in the household are identified by sex and race, number of deaf and dumb, blind, insane and foreign born.
  • 1865 - 1865 Wisconsin State Census Name index and images of the 1865 State Census which names the head of household. Most records have been destroyed but schedules exist for the following counties: Dunn, Green, Jackson, Kewaunee, Ozaukee, and Sheboygan.
  • 1875 - 1875 Wisconsin State Census Identifies head of household by name.
  • 1885 - Wisconsin State Census, 1885 at FamilySearch — index and images. Search indexed census.Identifies by name of head of household. Other information is statistical and identifies the rest of the household by race, gender and country of birth.
  • 1895 - Wisconsin State Census, 1895 at FamilySearch — index and images. Identifies head of household by name. Other information is statistical.
  • 1905 - Wisconsin State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch — Name index and images of population. Enumerates by name all inhabitants.

Federal Census

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Wisconsin denominations, view the Wisconsin Church Records wiki page.


  • Records of Peace Lutheran Church, Amherst, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

Court Records

The surviving early probate files have been indexed and are on the Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society's website.Also indexed are the Circuit Court Criminal Case Files Index 1849-1919 and the Circuit Court Civil Case Files Defendant Index 1845-1919


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Wisconsin Land and Property for additional information about early Wisconsin land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories

Maps and Gazetteers

Adams CountyWaushara CountyWaupaca CountyShawano CountyMarathon CountyWood CountyWI PORTAGE.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Portage served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Portage:

- 1st Regiment, Wisconsin Cavalry, Company B
- 3rd Regiment, Wisconsin Cavalry, Company H
- 5th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry Reorganized, Companies D and F
- 7th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company G
- 14th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company B

World War I

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship


  • [ Portage County Newspaper listing], Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society


Other Records


Probate Records

Probate records are held by the Portage Clerk of Circuit Court and are housed at the Portage Courthouse. See the wiki page Wisconsin Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Content: Probate records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, and adoptions.

Online Records

School Records

Tax Records

Wisconsin tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned property or other items that could be taxed were listed, some residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records. For more information see the Wiki page, Wisconsin Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Most counties started keeping records in the 1870s. In 1907, the counties began sending copies to the state.

For pre-1907 births, deaths, and marriages, search the Wisconsin Genealogy Index.

For additional information, see Wisconsin Vital Records.





Research Facilities


  • Neils R. Kampenga Archives and Area Research Center
    University of Wisconsin Library
    900 Reserve Street, Room 520
    Stevens Point, WI 54481-1962
    Phone: 715-346-2586
    Email: archives@uwsp.edu

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.




  • Portage County Historical Society
    PO Box 672
    Stevens Point, WI 54481
    Phone: 715-344-5752
  • Stevens Point Area Genealogical Society
    1001 Main
    Stevens Point, WI 54481
  • Almond Historical Society
    319 County A
    Almond, WI 54900
    Phone: 715-366-7341


Research Guides


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wisconsin.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Portage County, Wisconsin " in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portage_County,_Wisconsin#History."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Portage County, Wisconsin. Page 755-760, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 757-759.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wisconsin.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Portage County, Wisconsin," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portage_County,_Wisconsin#Communities, accessed 29 Dec 2018.