Marathon County Genealogical Society

Heritage Certificate - Information (Part 1 of 4)

The Marathon County Genealogy Society (MCGS) issues certificates to persons who are directly descended from Marathon County Pioneer, Early Settlers or Century Ancestors. Applicants must prove descent and prove that the ancestors settled in Marathon County prior to the year 1861 in the case of Pioneer Ancestors; prior to the year 1881 in the case of Early Settlers; or over 100 years preceding the date of application in the case of Century Ancestors. Applicants may apply for certificates to be issued to themselves or to other persons. The person whom the certificate is issued need not currently live in Marathon County.

The purpose of the Heritage Certificate Program is to recognize families with Marathon County roots, encourage people to undertake genealogical research, develop a database of information for researchers, and to improve the quality of genealogical research.


  1. A separate application is required for each certificate requested. More than one ancestor may be identified on a certificate, but a separate application is required for each ancestor claimed. Type or print all entries. Legibility is important. Additional applications can be printed from our web site.

  2. A complete application consists of the following:

    1. An application form completed on BOTH sides. Only the current version of the form provided by MCGS will be accepted. Applications submitted on other forms will be returned for re-submission on the proper form.

    2. Please note that the second page of the application form calls for a listing of the known children of the ANCESTOR, not the applicant or person to whom the certificate is to be issued.

    3. A Pedigree Chart (also known as an Ancestor Chart) showing the ancestral line(s) of the person to whom the certificate is to be issued. The chart must begin with the person to whom the certificate is to be issued and extend through the Pioneer/Early Settler/Century Ancestor. The chart must show the dates AND places of birth, death and marriage to the best of the applicant's ability to provide them. A MCGS chart is provided with the application form. However, any standard pedigree/ancestor chart form (including computer generated charts) is generally acceptable, provided it is on 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. Continuation sheets may be used.

    4. Two copies of the application form and pedigree chart are provided. It is suggested that one copy be used as a work sheet or draft. Photocopies of the application form are acceptable only if they exactly match the form provided.

    5. Proof of settlement by the date claimed, and proof of direct descent. The guiding principles for proof are that it should permit reviewers to reach conclusions as to the validity of the claim without having to undertake additional research, and that sources should be specifically identified so that reviewers can locate and verify them if necessary. List the documents enclosed with the application in the space provided. If more space is needed, or if explanations are in order, use the Remarks/Explanations section on the second page of the application. Specific considerations related to forms of proof are presented below (see no. 7).

    6. A check payable to MCGS, for $5.00 for each certificate requested.

  3. Send the completed application to:
    MCGS, PO Box 1512, Wausau, WI 54402-1512.

  4. If more than one certificate based on the same ancestor is requested, proof of the ancestor's settlement in Marathon County is required for only the first such application. The remaining applications should be cross referenced to it. Application form, pedigree chart and proof of descent are still required for each person for whom a certificate is requested.

  5. An application based on a previously issued certificate does NOT require re-submission of the proof of settlement, cite the previous certificate in the Proof Section. Proof of direct descent IS required.

  6. Names and dates:

    1. Enter names of the person to whom the Certificate is to be issued and Ancestors EXACTLY as you want them to appear on the certificate.

    2. Enter women's surnames in the order in which acquired, e.g., Mary, the daughter of John Jones, who married first Sam Brown and second Amos Black would be entered as Mary Jones Brown Black. Do not use parentheses.

    3. Enter dates in day, month, year format, using three letter abbreviations for the month, e.g., 12 Feb 1805.

  7. Forms of proof:

    1. Proof must be provided in the form of copies of documents establishing the fact claimed. Such documents include Census, Land, Church, School, Naturalization (including Declaration of Intent), Probate and Vital Records. Copies must clearly identify the nature of the document, the agency or office which created it and the volume, page, sheet, line etc. by which it may be located. Bible records, County histories and published transcriptions of records must include copies of page(s) establishing that fact claimed and a copy of the title page including publisher and date.

    2. Photocopies of dairies, letters, business and other personal records may be submitted, but proof of authenticity must accompany them and name and address of their current custodian must be stated. Do not submit original records, they cannot be returned.

    3. County histories may be submitted (copies of appropriate pages and title pages are required). Some recent commemorative publications (usually issued in connection with a community or organization anniversary) containing family histories submitted by modern family members are not acceptable.

    4. Documents that infer rather than establish that fact being claimed require corroboration. For example, an 1870 Declaration of Intention from a Marathon County court stating that the declarer arrived at the port of New York in 1868 does not establish when he settled in Marathon County, only that he was present in Marathon County on the date of the Declaration. In this case, corroborating evidence should be submitted before inferred dates will be accepted.

    5. Published or unpublished genealogies and family histories and family group sheets are generally not acceptable as proof. Instead, submit the documents (or extracts therefrom) that were used as proof for them.

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