A Trip to the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library
In working on my family history, sometimes I forget to explore (or re-explore) resources that are available to me right in my home town. The Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library went through a large building project just a few years ago. The Genealogy and Local History room was expanded dramatically. With the new larger space, some resources that were previously held in storage are now available for research.
One such collection is the Tax Roll books for the city of Marshfield and some of the nearby townships. The original books are stored on a shelf and can be leafed through at one of the tables in the room. The earliest book I saw for the city of Marshfield was for 1889. The next was 1895. Not all volumes have survived, but the collection is very good.
I was in search of my 3x great grandfather Herman Weigel. I had read the story of his coming to America and then up to Marshfield. He worked for the Upham company and built a home in Marshfield prior to the fire that devastated the city in 1887. The home survived the fire and was home to many refugees for some time as Marshfield rebuilt.
I had previously done some research to locate the legal description of the property he owned. The Tax Rolls are arranged by property ID and not by the name of the property owner. The names are recorded, but you would have to look through each page to find the information you need.
The books are arranged with the property descriptions and values listed in the front portion of the book. Pages list the property identification and owner’s name (if known). They also include the value of the property.
In the second half of the Tax Roll books, there are listings for personal property. I found that Herman Weigel was not listed in the personal property section in the city of Marshfield books in any of the years that he lived in the city. Property listed for citizens usually included horses, cattle, wagons, etc. Also included in the property lists are watches, pianos and melodic organs, and bank stock.
The Tax Rolls for the Town of McMillan and the Town of Auburndale followed similar suit with their organization. Auburndale also included names and dates of the person who paid the property taxes for the assessed year.
I am sometimes amazed at the information that is easily overlooked right in my own back yard. Through the tax rolls, I was able to determine when my 3x great grandfather sold his home in Marshfield and moved to the Town of McMillan. It was interesting to see how his property compared to that of his brothers and that of the neighbors.
The Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library has several more unique genealogy collections that I look forward to sharing in a future post. You can browse their website here. Check out the Marshfield Public Library Genealogy Index under “links”. This is an index to birth, marriage, death announcements made in the local Marshfield newspapers. It’s a great resource!