Rusk County, Wisconsin Genealogy

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United States
Rusk County

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

County Facts
County seat: Ladysmith
Organized: 1901
Parent County(s): Gates[1]
Neighboring Counties
Barron  • Chippewa  • Price  • Sawyer  • Taylor  • Washburn
See County Maps
Rusk County Courthouse, WI.jpg
Location Map
WI Rusk.png

County Information


The County was named for the Jeremiah McLain Rusk. The County has Ladysmith as its seat and the County was created 1901. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Rusk County Courthouse
311 Miner Ave East
Ladysmith, WI 54848-1862
Phone: 715-532-2100
Rusk County Website

Register of Deeds has birth, marriage, death, and land records from 1872.
County Court has divorce, probate and court records. [3]

Rusk 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[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1872 1872 1872 1901 1872 1901 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

  • 1901--Gates County (eventually named, Rusk County) created from Chippewa County on 24 May 1901.
  • 1905--Gates County renamed to Rusk County on 26 June 1905.
  • County seat: Ladysmith[5]

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

Populated Places

The following are locations in Rusk County, Wisconsin:

History Timeline


Bible Records


Index to Rusk County Names USGenWeb Archives

Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Rusk 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.  %±
1910 11,160
1920 16,403 47.0%
1930 16,081 −2.0%
1940 17,737 10.3%
1950 16,790 −5.3%
1960 14,794 −11.9%
1970 14,238 −3.8%
1980 15,589 9.5%
1990 15,079 −3.3%
2000 15,347 1.8%
2010 14,755 −3.9%
Source: "".

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

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.

Court Records


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



Military Records

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Rusk 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 Rusk:

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship



Other Records


Probate Records

Probate records are held by the Rusk Clerk of Circuit Court and are housed at the Rusk 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


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.


  • Area Research Center - University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire
    Special Collections Department
    William D. McIntyre Library
    Eau Claire, WI 54702-5010
    Phone: 715-836-2739


  • Rusk County Historical Society Museum
    2754 N. Dicus
    Lady Smith, WI 54848
    Phone: 715-532-3633


  • Bruce Area Historical Society
    PO Box 155
    Bruce, WI 54819
    Phone: 715-868-5475


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Rusk County, Wisconsin " in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Wisconsin."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wisconsin.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Rusk 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.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wisconsin.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.