Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Honesdale
Organized: March 21, 1798
Parent County(s): Northampton[1]
Neighboring Counties
Delaware (NY)  • Monroe  • Susquehanna  • Sullivan (NY)  • Lackawanna  • Pike  • Broome (NY)
See County Maps
Wayne County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Wayne County PA Map.png
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Anthony Wayne

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne. The county is located in the northeastern tip of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Wayne County Courthouse
925 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: 570-253-5970
Recorder of Deeds: 570-253-5970 Ext. 4040
Prothonotary: 570-523-5970 ext. 4030
Register of Wills: 570-253-5970 Ext. 4040
Wayne County Website

Prothonotary Office has birth and death records 1893-1906, marriage records from 1885, divorce records from 1900, court records from 1798, school records from 1912-1971, and 1180 county tax assessment census
County Registrar and Recorder has probate and land records from 1798[3]

Wayne County, Pennsylvania 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[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1798 1798 1798 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. 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]

26 March 1814: Pike County set off. [7]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

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:[8]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

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


Census Records[edit | edit source]

State Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 2,562
1810 4,125 61.0%
1820 4,127 0.0%
1830 7,663 85.7%
1840 11,848 54.6%
1850 21,890 84.8%
1860 32,239 47.3%
1870 33,188 2.9%
1880 33,513 1.0%
1890 31,010 −7.5%
1900 30,171 −2.7%
1910 29,236 −3.1%
1920 27,435 −6.2%
1930 28,420 3.6%
1940 29,934 5.3%
1950 28,478 −4.9%
1960 28,237 −0.8%
1970 29,581 4.8%
1980 35,237 19.1%
1990 39,944 13.4%
2000 47,722 19.5%
2010 52,822 10.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Wayne County Pennsylvania churches

Baptists arrived in the area in 1795. Eventually there were two groups, the Free Communion Baptist Church at Mount Pleasant and the Honesdale Baptist Church.[9]

Irish Catholics lived in Mount Pleasant, Preston, Buckingham, Carbondale, Honsdale, Ledgedale, and White Mills townships. Many people were Delaware and Hudson Canal Co. employees. The German Catholic Church was organized 1853 .[9]

Honesdale Grace Episcopal Church and Dyberry Parish in Bethany were both established in1832. St. John's Protestant Episcopal Church in Hamlin was established in 1844. [9]

The Temple Beth Israel synagogue was established 1849 from land donated by Delaware and Hudson Canal Co. The Sherith-Israel Synagogue. Russian and Polish Jews 1880's established the Sherith-Isreal synagogue. [9]

Honesdale German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was established in 1845. [9]

The first group organized in 1825; by 1900 the Methodist outnumbered the other denominations. Members could attend in Salem Corners, Pleasant Mount, and Honesdale. [9]

There were five churches organized between 1829 and 1849.[9]

  • 1829 Hensdale (Dyberry Forks)
  • 1835 Waymart
  • 1842 Prompton
  • 1842 -1900 Prompton Sessions Records Available from the Wayne County Historical Society, Research Library. You may view it at the library for free if a member or for a $5.00 charge. You may hire a professional from their web page.
  • 1848 Lebonon
  • 1849 Hawley

First Presbyterian Church, Honesdale

Contains the church records of:
  • Honesdale: First Presbyterian Church

Presbyterian Church, Mount Pleasant Township

Presbyterian Church, Prompton

Russian Orthodox
Russians settled in South Canaan and had a monastery and school. [9]
List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration. Many early residence came from New England, New York, and New Jersey. (Ref. History of Wayne County Pennsylvania 1798-1998 by Walter B. Barbe and Kurk A. Reed. Wayne County Historical Society C 1998.)

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

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[11]

Orphans Court

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Susquehanna CountyLackawanna CountyMonroe CountyPike CountySullivan CountyDelaware CountyBroome CountyPA WAYNE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

The migration routes used by early European settlers to and from Wayne County included:[12]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Wayne County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Wayne County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

  • 1798 Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officials. Contact Wayne County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

  • Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052

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 Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

Wayne Library Alliance
Operates seven public libraries within Wayne County.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Wayne County Historical Society
810 Main Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: 570-253-3240
Fax: 570-253-5204
The Society maintains a historical and genealogical research library as well as four historical sites; the Main Street address houses the main museum.

Equinunk Historical Society Museums
1972 Pine Mill Road
P.O. Box 41
Equinunk, PA 18417-0041
Phone: 570-224-6722
Email: ehs22@verizon.net

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Bethany Public Library and Historical Society
RR3 Box 650
Honesdale, PA 18431

Wayne County Historical Society (WCHS)
810 Main Street
P.O. Box 446
Honesdale, PA 18431-1847
Phone: 570-253-3240
Fax: 570-253-5204
Email: wchspa@ptd.net

Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society
57 North Franklin Street
Wilkes Barre, PA 18701
Phone: 570-829-1765
Email: nepgsmail@gmail.com

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/12/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), p. 593.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Wayne County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Pennsylvania, accessed 4 January 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Walter B. Barbe and Kurk A. Reed. History of Wayne County Pennsylfania 1798-1998. (Wayne County Historical Society, 1998).FHL book 974.823 H2bw
  10. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/20/Igipennsylvaniat.pdf.
  11. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  12. Handybook, 850-51.