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Columbia County, Wisconsin Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Portage
Organized: February 3, 1846
Parent County(s): Portage[1]
Neighboring Counties
Adams  • Dane  • Dodge  • Green Lake  • Juneau  • Marquette  • Sauk
See County Maps
Columbia County WI courthouse.jpg
Location Map
WI Columbia.png

County InformationEdit


The County is located in the south-central area of the state.[2]

County CourthouseEdit

Columbia County Courthouse
PO Box 177
Portage, WI 53901-0177
Phone: 608-742-9654
Columbia County Website

Register of Deeds has land, marriage, death and burial records.
Clerk of the Circuit Court has divorce and court records.
Register in Probate has probate records [3]

Columbia County, Wisconsin Record DatesEdit

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
1860 1849 1877 1851 1829 1847 1820
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1907. General compliance year unknown.

Record LossEdit

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

Boundary ChangesEdit

  • 1846--Columbia County was created 3 February 1846 from Portage County.
  • County seat: Portage[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 PlacesEdit

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:[6]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

History TimelineEdit


Bible RecordsEdit


Business, Commerce, and OccupationsEdit


Cemeteries of Columbia 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 RecordsEdit

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 9,565
1860 24,441 155.5%
1870 28,802 17.8%
1880 28,065 −2.6%
1890 28,350 1.0%
1900 31,121 9.8%
1910 31,129 0.0%
1920 30,468 −2.1%
1930 30,503 0.1%
1940 32,517 6.6%
1950 34,023 4.6%
1960 36,708 7.9%
1970 40,150 9.4%
1980 43,222 7.7%
1990 45,088 4.3%
2000 52,468 16.4%
2010 56,833 8.3%
Source: "".

For tips on accessing Columbia 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 RecordsEdit

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 RecordsEdit


Emigration and ImmigrationEdit

Ethnic, Political, and Religious GroupsEdit

Funeral HomesEdit



Land and Property RecordsEdit

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 HistoriesEdit

Maps and GazetteersEdit

Adams CountyMarquette CountyGreen Lake CountyJuneau CountyDodge CountyDane CountySauk CountyWI COLUMBIA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military RecordsEdit

Civil WarEdit

Regiments. Service men in Columbia 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 Columbia:

- 2nd Regiment, Wisconsin Cavalry, Companies E and G
- 3rd Regiment, Wisconsin Cavalry, Company E
- 7th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Companies A and B
- 8th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company D
- 10th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company D
- 12th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company E

World War IEdit

World War IIEdit

- Surnames Abraham - Fuller
- Surnames Galien - Lytle
- Surnames Maass - Ryan
- Surnames Salzman - Zunker

Korean WarEdit

Naturalization and CitizenshipEdit



Other RecordsEdit


Probate RecordsEdit

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

Tax RecordsEdit

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 RecordsEdit

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 FacilitiesEdit


  • Archives - Steenbock Library
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    425 Steenbock Library
    550 Babcock Dr.
    Madison, WI 53706
    Telephone: 608-262-5629

Family History CentersEdit

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.


  • Archives - Steenbock Library
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
    425 Steenbock Library
    550 Babcock Dr.
    Madison, WI 53706
    Telephone: 608-262-5629



  • Cambria-Friesland Historical Society
    PO Box 501
    Cambria, WI 53923
    Phone: 920-348-5787
  • Columbia County Historical Society
    W3988 Hwy 33
    Cambria, WI 53923
    Phone: 920-348-5516
  • Dells Country Historical Society
    1621 E Broadway
    Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
    Phone: 608-254-8129
  • Lodi Valley Historical Society
    173 S Main St
    Lodi, WI 53555
    Phone: 608-592-5910
  • Portage Historical Society
    PO Box 727
    Portage, WI 53901
    Phone: 608-742-6663
  • Poynette Area Historical Society
    W5660 Hall Rd
    Poynette, WI 53955
    Phone: 608-635-2970


Research GuidesEdit


  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, "Columbia 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), Columbia 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.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Columbia County, Wisconsin," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Wisconsin#Communities, accessed 11 August 2018.