Wayne County, Michigan Genealogy

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Guide to Wayne County, Michigan ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Detroit
Organized: November 21, 1815
Parent County(s): Original County
Neighboring Counties
Macomb  • Monroe  • Oakland  • Washtenaw
See County Maps
Michigan, Wayne County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Michigan, Wayne County Locator Map.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Wayne County was named for the U.S. general "Mad Anthony" Wayne. The county is located in the southeast area of the state.[1]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Wayne County Courthouse
201 City Court Bldg
Wayne, MI 48226
Phone: 313-224-6262
Wayne County Website

County Clerk has birth and death records for events that occurred in all of Wayne County.
Wayne County Clerk Records Division at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, has marriage and divorce records.
Probate Court at Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, has probate records for all of Wayne County and the City of Detroit.
Register of Deeds has land records for all of Wayne County and the City of Detroit. [2]

Wayne County, Michigan Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1833 1867 1835 1835 1827 1820
*Statewide registration started in 1867 for births and deaths. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Ghost towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Anthony Wayne

Additional Information
The county is named after Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne (1745-1796).[6]

Wayne County is the oldest county in the area known now as the State of Michigan and originally included areas that are counties in their own right. It includes the City of Detroit which was founded by the French on 24 July 1701 and which is now the state's largest.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Wayne County, Michigan online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Michigan Cemeteries for more information


Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 2,227
1820 3,574 60.5%
1830 6,781 89.7%
1840 24,173 256.5%
1850 42,756 76.9%
1860 75,547 76.7%
1870 119,068 57.6%
1880 168,444 41.5%
1890 257,114 52.6%
1900 348,793 35.7%
1910 531,591 52.4%
1920 1,177,645 121.5%
1930 1,888,946 60.4%
1940 2,015,623 6.7%
1950 2,435,235 20.8%
1960 2,666,297 9.5%
1970 2,666,751 0.0%
1980 2,337,843 −12.3%
1990 2,111,687 −9.7%
2000 2,061,162 −2.4%
2010 1,820,584 −11.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

State Census

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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 Michigan denominations, view the Michigan Church Records wiki page.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    • Detroit Dist
    • Detroit
    • Detroit E.
    • Detroit S.
    • Detroit W.
    • Mack


  • Detroit
    • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Detroit, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
  • Wayne County
    • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Wayne County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).


  • A large number of Roman Catholic church records from the Archdiocese of Detroit are available on microfilm at the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library. Depending on the church, the records range from 1704-1930 and can include baptisms, marriages, deaths, first communions, and confirmations.

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

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 Michigan Land and Property for additional information about early Michigan land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the Wayne County courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Wayne County. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Michigan Local Histories.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Oakland CountyMacomb CountyMonroe CountyWashtenaw CountyOntarioMI WAYNE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Detroit streets were renumbered 1 January 1921 (same house/different numbers). Keep that in mind when looking at various records, such as the US Census.

City maps are often found in city directories.

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War
Civil War service men from Wayne County served in various regiments. Men often joined a regiment or a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are the military units that were formed in or had many men from Wayne County.

- 1st Regiment, Michigan Cavalry, Companies A, C, G, H, K, and Unassigned Company
- 12th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Unassigned Company
- 17th Regiment, Michigan Infantry, Company F

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Michigan, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate packets, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Probate records for Wayne County are available on microfilm at the Archives of Michigan, located in the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing, MI. The Archives holds Wayne County estate case files from 1797-1901 and the Probate calendar books from 1797-1914.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Michigan tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information see the Wiki page, Michigan Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

  • Birth Records and Death Records from 1867 can be obtained from the Michigan Department of Community Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred.
  • Marriage Records from 1867 and Divorce Records from 1897 can be obtained from the County Clerk.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Wayne County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Wayne County. For state-wide library facilities, see Michigan Archives and Libraries.

Detroit Public Library
5201 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: 313-481-1300

The main Library Location houses the Burton Historical Collection and all the databases.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Lincoln Park Historical Museum
1335 Southfield Road
Lincoln Park, MI 48146
Phone: 313-386-3137

Gayle Sweetwine Saini Memorial Library (JGSMI)
Holocaust Memorial Center Library(2nd floor)
28123 Orchard Lake Road
Farmington, Hills, MI 48334

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Wayne County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Michigan Societies.

  • Detroit Society for Genealogical Research
    Detroit Public Library c/o Burton Historical Collection
    5201 Woodward Ave
    Detroit, MI 48202
    Website Facebook
  • Northville Genealogical Society
    PO Box 932
    Northville, MI 48167-0932
  • West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society
    Detroit, MI
    Phone: 855-765-6642

Websites[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Wayne County, Georgia" in wikipedia accessed 8 Nov 2018
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Michigan.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Wayne County, Michigan," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, wikipedia accessed 16 November 2019.
  6. "Anthony Wayne," Wikipedia.