Free Genealogy Assistance

The Eagle River Genealogical Society is offering free assistance for individuals who would like to trace and develop their Family Genealogy.  Participants are asked to bring a listing of their Parents and Grandparents, with birth and death dates, as a minimum to begin their Family Tree.  Any additional family members, such as Great Grandparents, would be a plus in development of their Family History.  If you would like to participate, the Society meets every second Monday of the month from 5:00 PM to 7:00PM at the Walter E. Olson Library, 203 N Main Street.  To enroll, contact the society by email and include your name, phone number and month you would like to attend.  Great opportunity to discover your Family History.


Lorene Hesselgrave Schertzl

January 18, 1948 – November 26, 2010

Lorene was an active member of the Eagle River Genealogy Society from 2005-2010. She was acting President for 2010 as well as the societies Cemetery Chairperson. Lorene was indexing the cemeteries of Vilas County. Her work can be found by visiting Wisconsin GenWeb @ She also published a book called “Vilas County, Wisconsin Cemetery Transcriptions“ printed by the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The book can be found at the Olsen Memorial Library, reference # 929.1 SCH.

Her passion for Genealogy was in searching for her Finnish roots. She is now rejoicing in Heaven with all the family she has found and then some she never did, but now has. Lorene will be missed by many, but she will not be forgotten.

Cemetery Beautification Project

The Eagle River Genealogical Society has been working on a Cemetery Beautification Project for the past three years. As part of the project, eight garbage cans have been purchased from Ace Hardware. Vice President, David Eibner of Ace gave the society a discount on the cans as their contribution to the project.

We would like to have the garbage cans painted with murals of nature. Anyone interested in painting a can, please contact Sharon Rogers at 1-715-889-3157.

Photo – Left to Right

Tom Lorch – Eagle River Cemetery Sexton, Tanya Pirus – E.R.G.S. President, David Eibner – Vice President of Eagle River Ace Hardware

Donations To Libraries

Cemetery Records Donated

In the fall of 2016, a copy of the revised Eagle River Genealogical Societies Cemetery Records for the Eagle River, Saint Peter’s, Plum Lake and Star Lake Cemeteries were donated to the Eagle River Walter E. Olson Memorial and The Plum Lake Public Libraries.  The Plum Lake Public Library made a copy and gave to the Vilas County Historical Museum in Sayner, WI.

Between 2014 and 2015, all of the above cemetery monuments/markers were cleaned, if appropriate, and then photographed by Max E. Rockafellow, member of the Eagle River Genealogical Society.  Photographs were reviewed and additions and corrections were made to the Initial Cemetery Transcriptions of burials recorded during 2006-2007.  Photographs of monuments/markers were then added to for genealogist who research their Family History via the internet.

Master Cemetery Burial Records are maintained and held by the Sexton of the cemeteries.

 Note: See “Cemetery Records” this site to review.

Library Presentation – Books Donated

The following books were presented to the Olson Memorial Library on behalf of the Eagle River Genealogical Society. Shown in the picture is Society President, Tanya Pirus with Library Director, Diana Anderson.

  • Genealogy 101 – by Barbara Renick
  • The Everything Family Tree Book – by Kimberly Powell
  • The Genealogist’s Question & Answer Book – Solutions and Advice for Maximizing
  • Your Research Results – by Marcia Yannizze Melnyk

Memorial Donations

The following books were donated to Olson Memorial Library in memory of Lorene Hesselgrave Schertzl.

  •  “Finnish Genealogical Research” by, Timothy Laitila Vincent
  • “The Beginner’s Guide to finish Genealogical Research” by  Margarta Choquette

High School Genealogy Class

Northland Pines Students Find Their Roots

In March, students at Northland Pines High School had the opportunity to take a class in Genealogy: The Study of Family History. The program was part of a Friday Focus Forum that gives students a break from everyday classes to study something new. Tanya Pirus, President of the Eagle River Genealogy Society, showed students how to fill out Ancestral Charts, Family Group Records, and Research Checklists. The students learned how to conduct online research enabling them to locate birth and death records, census records, immigration, and naturalization records. At the end of the class, each participant received a binder complete with all the forms needed to continue their research. 

Veteran Flag Holders with Flag

Project was completed May 10, 2017.  Great article was published by the Vilas News Review.  Thanks to all for your help on a great project.

July 2018 – Replacement flags for this project have been purchased.

Veteran Flag Holders and Flags for Plum Lake and Star Lake Cemeteries

Background: Members of the Eagle River Genealogical Society, Max Rockafellow and Fred Rockafellow, in 2016, when working to update the Genealogical Cemetery Records for Plum Lake and Star Lake, observed that the US Flags placed at Military Personal markers were not in a Veterans Flag holders. The condition that made the biggest impact was the fact that the flags placed were stuck in the ground and many were touching the ground, not in keeping with respect for our flag and our veterans.

To correct this condition, the Eagle River Genealogical Society’s records of both cemeteries were used and Veterans were hi-lighted.  It was determined that there are 60 at the Plum Lake Cemetery and 17 at the Star Lake Cemetery without veteran flag holders. Funds and a supplier was located and Veteran flag holders and flags were procured and will be placed in spring prior to Memorial Day.  The Sexton for both cemeteries, Jim Mortag, was involved and supports this effort.  Members of the Eagle River Genealogical Society, members of the local Sayner Women’s Club, and Jim Mortag, Sexton, will be installing prior to Memorial Day, 2017.  Prior to installation, Flags were pressed with a light coat of starch then Scotch Guarded to provide weather protection and reduce fading.

In other cemeteries, if a Veterans grave site does not have a flag holder, individual Family members can obtain a Veteran Flag holder and flag for their military loved ones by going to their counties Veterans Affairs office with a copy of Veterans DD-214. (Honorable Discharge Form) and a death certificate to receive.  Placement is responsibility of Family with concent of Cemetery Sexton.

Folks that would like to be involved in these types of projects and discover their Family History, are encouraged to join the Eagle River Genealogical Society.

Donations to support this and other community efforts can be made to the Eagle River Genealogical Society, (ERGS), PO Box 1333, Eagle River, WI 54521.  Future projects include Cemetery entrance signs for the Eagle River and St. Peters’ Cemeteries, Veterans Flag replacement when needed for Plum Lake and Star Lake, and Eagle River Cemetery Park improvements.

Donations to support this Flag replacement is needed. Flags become faded and frayed over a season and need replacement.  Thank you for your donations.