Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. Probate files contain whatever documents were found in association with that estate, e.g. will (if there was one), receipts, final bills, notice from newspaper, etc., and, can sometimes give the researcher much more information than just the will can.
[Note: Boxes 1-10 of the probate files have been shipped to the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison for digitizing through a familysearch.org project. They will be unavailable for viewing for up to a year. Persons interested in accessing these records should call ahead to determine if the originals have been returned. There is an alternative to go to Madison to view the records or request specific files from Madison through our ARC.]
13 boxes of probate files are housed at the UWSP Archives & Area Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point University Library. They are available for anyone to use during regular hours. The first 7 boxes (#1 - 7) are in alphabetical order representing years 1837-1889. Boxes #8 - 13 are not in alphabetical order, but are in chronological order by file number for years 1890 - 1900, with some documents to approximately 1910.
|Box #8: 1890-1891||Box #10: 1893-1895||Box #12: 1897-1899|
|Box #9: 1891-1893||Box #11: 1895-1897||Box #13: 1899-1900|
The first number following the name is the box number that the record is in. If the number is 1 through 7 you will find the record in that box, arranged alphabetically by last name. If the number is 8 through 13 with another number following (the file number), you would find the box number and look for the file number in that box.
There are sixty files missing (the file numbers are missing). There is
no way of knowing the names in these files, if the files ever existed, or
if they were misplaced or lost.
Look for variant spelling of names. They are spelled as they were written in the files.
Research by Donna Hanson; updated by LuAnn Elsinger.
In addition to the probate files, Portage County has five volumes of Will books, Vols. 1, G, K, L, P, (1848-1913), that are housed at the Wisconsin State Historical Society - Archives. Any one of the 14 Area Research Centers can borrow these volumes to be used locally by their patrons. If a probate file (listed above) contained a will, a copy of it will be in the Will book. Since the probate files only go through approximately the year 1900, the later Will books provide about 13 more years of wills. Index
Circuit Court Criminal Case Files Index 1849-1919
Complete Case Files are available at two locations:
1) Clerk of Courts, Portage County Courthouse, 2nd Floor, 1516 Church Street, Stevens Point. Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on Tuesday's for research). Case files are available only on microfilm. Reader/copier available. Copies are $1.25 per page. They also have the original Criminal Case bound Index.
2) UWSP Archives & Area Research Center. Original case files are stored in boxes arranged numerically by case number. Copier available. Copies are 10¢ per page if done in person. The Index is below.
Circuit Court Civil Case Files Defendant Index 1845-1919
Indexes and Case files to the Portage County Circuit Court Civil cases are available at two locations:
1) Clerk of Courts, Portage County Courthouse, 2nd Floor, 1516 Church Street, Stevens Point. Hours: Monday - Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed on Tuesday's for research). These are the original handwritten bound indexes (Defendant & Plaintiff). Case files are available on microfilm. Reader/copier available. Copies are $1.25 per page.
2) UWSP Archives & Area Research Center. This is a microfilmed index. Original case files are stored in boxes. Copies are 10¢ per page if done in person. (Source: Portage Micro Series 1, Circuit Court Defendant Indexes, Vol. 1, 1845 - 1919, Reel 1)