Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy
Guide to Wayne County, Missouri ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Wayne County, Missouri|
Location of Missouri in the U.S.
|Founded||December 11, 1818|
|Address|| Wayne County Courthouse|
Greenville, MO 63944
Wayne County Website
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places / Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- 7 References
Wayne County, Missouri Record Dates
County Clerk has birth and death records 1914-1940; Clerk of the Circuit Court and Recorder has court records, marriage records, divorce and land records; Associate Circuit Court has probate records.
The earliest white settlements in what is now Wayne County are said to have been in 1802, when a few settlers arrived from Kentucky, with more coming into the county from North Carolina in 1806.
Prior to county formation in 1818, what became Wayne County was a part of St. Francois Township of Cape Girardeau County.
Wayne County, Missouri is one of Missouri's oldest counties. Wayne County was organized as a county of Missouri Territory on 11 December 1818 by an act of the territorial legislature. This law became effective 1 November 1813.
The county was created from parts of Cape Girardeau and Lawrence Counties. (Most of Lawrence County became part of Arkansas Territory when that territory was created by Congress in March of 1819.)
Greenville became the county seat in 1819, which was the same year in which the town was incorporated. Missouri was not admitted into the Union until 10 August 1821.
Greenville was originally known as Cedar Cabin. In 1941, the town was relocated because of the construction of Lake Wappapello. The new town was located about two miles north of the original site, on a higher elevation.
The first post office opened in Greenville 10 August 1832.
Wayne County comprised a vast area from 1825 to 1831 that is said to have been larger than the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware combined. The county was so large that, at one time, it was known as the "State of Wayne."
For animated maps illustrating Missouri county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Missouri County Boundary Maps" (1804-1889) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
thelibrary.org evolution of Wayne County borders
1853 or 1854 Courthouse burned, with a complete loss of records.
1866 Courthouse records were stolen.
1892 Courthouse damaged by fire December 14, 1892; some records destroyed.
Few official county records prior to 1893 survive.
When the 1893-1926 courthouse was in operation, records were scattered in various offices throughout Greenville because of lack of space. Whether this resulted in loss of some records is uncertain.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
- Burned Counties Research in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
- Arlene Eakle, When the Records are Gone in the Tennessee Genealogy Blog.
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle.
Places / Localities
Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog
- The State Historical Society of Missouri has information on historical Missouri place names for all 114 Missouri Counties.
Cascade | Clubb | Coldwater | Greenville | Hiram | Leeper | Lodi | Lowndes | McGee | Mill Spring | Patterson | Piedmont | Shook | Silva | Wappapello | Williamsville
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Missouri Cemeteries for more information.|
- Wayne County, Missouri Cemetery Photographs (RootsWeb)
- Missouri Cemeteries Missouri Access Genealogy
For tips on accessing Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy census records online, see: Missouri Census.
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 Missouri denominations, view the Missouri Church Records wiki page.
- Tong, H.F., Historical Sketches of the Baptists of Southeast Missouri. St. Louis: National Baptist Publishing Company, 1888. (Google Books link with complete text)
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index and images
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 Missouri Land and Property for information about records of land transfers from the government to private ownership. After that transfer, transactions were usually recorded and are currently housed at the county courthouse.
Local histories are available for Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the Wiki page section Missouri Local Histories.
- Cramer, Rose Fulton, Wayne County, Missouri. (Google Books)
- Douglass, Robert Sidney, History of Southeast Missouri, Vol. 1. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1912. (Google Books)
- History of southeast Missouri. Embracing an historical account of the counties of Ste. Genevieve, St. Francois, Perry, Cape Girardeau, Bollinger, Madison, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Dunklin, Scott, Mississippi, Stoddard, Butler, Wayne and Iron. Chicago, The Goodspeed publishing co., 1888.
- Online at MissouriDigitalHeritage (Free)
- Maps of Missouri (1804-1889)
- Family Maps of Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy (land patent maps) at HistoryGeo.com ($). Free surname search.
- Interactive map of Wayne County townships (Histopolis)
- The University of Missouri Digital Library has digital copies of Missouri county plat books (ca. 1930) for all Missouri counties including Wayne County.
- 1900 - 1941 Missouri, Pre-WWII Adjutant General Enlistment Contracts, 1900-1941 at FamilySearch — images
- 1861 - 1865 Missouri, Civil War Service Records of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861 - 1865 Missouri, Civil War Service Records of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865 at FamilySearch — index
- Missouri, Confederate Pension Applications and Soldiers Home Applications at FamilySearch — images
Service men in Wayne County, Missouri 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 Wayne County, Missouri:
- 23rd Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company I
- 5th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry (2nd Organization) (Union), Company H
World War II
- 1941 - 1946 - Missouri, Reports of Separation Notices, 1941-1946 at FamilySearch — index and images
Naturalization and Citizenship
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index
Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:
- Missouri Newspapers at the State Historical Society: Wayne County (State Historical Society of Missouri)
- Wayne County Journal-Banner, Piedmont, Missouri
- Wayne County, Missouri Obituaries (Newspaper Obituaries)
In Missouri, probate records have usually been recorded by the clerks of the probate courts, but in some counties the common pleas or circuit courts handled this function. They are frequently indexed.
Online Probate Records
- 1750 - 1988 Missouri Probate Records 1750-1998 at FamilySearch — images
- 1766 - 1988 Missouri Wills and Probate Records 1766-1988 at Ancestry.com — index and images $
Taxes were levied on free white males over 21 and slaves aged 21 to 60. These persons are referred to as "polls." Tax listings, or digests, of a county generally list the taxable landowners and other polls and the amount of tax. The records for each county are divided by militia district. For more information see the wiki page Missouri Taxation.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. For additional guidance on researching and using vital records, see United States Vital Records or How to order Missouri Vital Records.
St. Louis and Kansas City recorded births and deaths starting as early as 1850 for deaths and 1870 for births. The Missouri Department of Health began keeping birth and death records in 1909. County records vary by year and the county. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Missouri Vital Records State Department of Health, the County Clerk's office or order electronically online.
- 1827 - 1935 Missouri, Births and Christenings, 1827-1935 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1851 - 1910 Missouri Birth Records, 1851-1910 at Ancestry.com — index/images $
- 1750 - 1920 Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920 at FamilySearch.org — index
- 1800 - 1991 Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1805 - 2002 Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002 at Ancestry.com $
- 1850 Missouri Marriages to 1850 at Ancestry.com — index $
- 1834 - 1910 Missouri, Death Records, 1834-1910 at Ancestry.com — index/images $
- 1867 - 1976 Missouri, Deaths and Burials, 1867-1976 at FamilySearch.org — index
- Missouri State Archives provides on-line access to Missouri Death Certificates more than 50 yrs old starting in 1910.
Genealogy Societies, Archives and Libraries
- Wayne County Historical Society
Route 1, Box 1117
Piedmont, MO 63957
Family History Centers
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. See Family History Center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
| Check back often with these websites. Internet offerings are growing at record rates.
Local societies and libraries may know of other websites.
|Missouri Digital Heritage||Free||digital images of many types of records from institutions across the State|
|MOGenWeb||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions|
|USGenWeb Archives||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|Genealogy Trails||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be images or transcriptions|
|RootsWeb resources||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|Linkpendium||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|CyndisList||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|StateofUS||Free||family history resources and government records|
|Missouri Genealogy||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
|FamilySearch catalog||Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.|
|WorldCat||To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.|
|Allen County Public Library||Major genealogy resource library, located in Indiana. On home page enter "Wayne Missouri" and search catalog.|
|Missouri State Archives Library||catalog; from this page you must search "Wayne County"|
|Google+||Missouri Genealogy Network Community|
|list of groups from "Missouri Genealogy" search|
|Genealogy.com||Wayne County Missouri Genealogy Forum|
- Wayne County History... (e-Reference Desk)
- Wayne County, Missouri (Wikipedia)
- Wayne County, Missouri Ancestry & Family History (ePodunk)
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 422-438. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wayne County, Missouri. Page 407 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
- "Anthony Wayne," Wikipedia.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).