Marathon County Genealogical Society
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History of the MCGS, 1995-2000 - Part 2

By Marilyn Sjostrom et al.
Part 1 | Part 2


The twentieth anniversary of the Marathon County Genealogical Society was observed at a dinner on February 14, 1995, at the Wausau Inn and Convention Center. Don and LouAnn Zamzow presented a program about their "Roots Trip to Pomerania". Memorial fund donations received for the observance totaled $110. The money was used to purchase a directory of US newspapers and a directory of foreign newspapers. Both volumes were donated to the Marathon County Public Library.

The Society has seen many changes in its structure during the past five years. In the fall of 1995 a committee was organized to update our bylaws. As a result, the office of vice-chairman was divided into the jobs of chairman-elect and membership chairman. The chairman-elect took office with the understanding that the person would move on to the office of chairman. Immediate past chairman, another new position, was added to the Board of Directors. A manual was written outlining the society's policies and procedures and each officer's, immediate past chairman's and committee chairman's job duties. In 1998 the bylaws were again amended to include all committee chairman as voting members of the Board. The Pinery Pedigree newsletter was now being mailed to more than 200 members and societies, and we were able to use the bulk mail rate through a local bulk mailer; this greatly reduced our postage expenses.

In 1995, the Marathon County Historical Society purchased the Immanuel Baptist Church building and the Woodson House which had a positive effect on our society also. The Historical Society moved its library from the third floor of the Yawkey House museum to the Woodson House. Our society asked to be able to move our library there also and to hold our monthly meetings there. A legal agreement between the two societies was signed and the move took place in September of 1997. Our society assets were valued at between $10,000 and $12,000 for insurance purposes. We developed a check-out policy for our materials and limited the donation of materials to those with a connection to Marathon County. The number of members reached 201.

As the first twenty years ended, the computer was becoming important to genealogical research. The last five years have seen this advance even faster. More and more beginning genealogists enter their information directly into specially written family-tree programs. Members began hearing about and using the program Family Tree Maker with its accompanying disks of databases. Marathon County put a web page on the Internet and soon our society put up its own web page. We began receiving membership applications from people who read about our society on the Internet. Every month sees more and more listings of information from around the world that are now found there. In the spring of 1999, our society purchased its own computer to hold our surname database as well as our library's catalog; thereby, making up-to-date information available to our members as well as the general public at the historical society library. A step-by-step instruction book has been prepared to assist those using the computer.

In 1998, we reached a point where we had more members from outside Wisconsin than from within the state itself.

We have begun several new projects in the last five years. Town of Berlin cemetery records were located and indexed for our society. In 1995 we learned that the Town of Kronenwetter clerk had a box of 1450 birth, marriage, and death records dating from 1907 to 1940. We received permission to index them and put copies of the index at the town clerk's office, the Marathon County Historical Society, the Marathon County Genealogical Society library and later a fourth copy was given to the Wisconsin State Historical Society library. We are allowed to extract information from the actual records to answer requests, but we can not photo copy them. A group of members has continued to work at the Court House to verify birth, marriage, and death records that have been entered into a computer file.

In 1999, an index of records found in three Wausau newspapers was completed and offered for sale. Included are an index of obituaries from the Wisconsin River Pilot (1867-1871) and the Wausau Daily Record-Herald (1907-1909) and of births, marriages, and deaths from the Torch of Liberty (1877-1895).

In progress is a book about early Marathon County photographers; often the only clue to a person's place of residence is the photographer's imprint on family photos. We are looking into the possibility of the Wisconsin State Historical Society microfilming the 1939 survey of City of Wausau residents which contains much genealogical information. These papers are currently at the area resource center in Stevens Point.

The 1995 Twentieth Anniversary Pinery Surname Index and Five-Generation Pedigree Charts is being reprinted and a 2000 edition is being prepared with updated surname and member lists and 201 new and revised pedigree charts.

The Marathon County Genealogical Society participated in the annual Ethnic Fest and LogJam Celebrations by having a display booth of our publications. For the past two years we have had computers at the LogJam booth so people can look up their surnames on various databases. We take part in an annual joint meeting of central Wisconsin genealogical societies which has grown from getting together with groups from Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids to meeting with people from nine other societies. The 1998 meeting in Wausau had 92 people registered. Where we once made an annual research trip to Madison, our members now attend conferences throughout the United States and report back to the society. The Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Family History Conference in 1998 was a large-scale event that was well-received. In May of this year, members of our own society will travel as a group for five-days of research in Salt Lake City.

We can only guess at where the study of genealogy will go in the new century. The 1930 US Census will soon be open to the public. Most research will probably be done at home at the family computer. With the family structure changing, new relationships will have to be fit into the family records. It will definitely be a time of change.

Part 1 | Part 2

Copyright ? 1978-2005. Marathon County Genealogical Society. A local associate of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society.