Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy

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United States
Missouri
Wayne County

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

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County Facts
County seat: Greenville
Organized: December 11, 1818
Parent County(s): Cape Girardeau[1]
Neighboring Counties
Bollinger  • Butler  • Carter  • Iron  • Madison  • Reynolds  • Stoddard
See County Maps
Courthouse
MissouriWayneCourthouse.jpg
Location Map
Missouri Wayne County Map.svg.png
Adoption
Anthony Wayne

County Information

Description

The county was named for Anthony Wayne. The county has Greenville as its seat and the county was created December 11, 1818. The County is located in the southeast area of the state. [2]

County Courthouse

Wayne County Courthouse
109 Walnut Street
Greenville, MO 63944
Phone: 573-224-3014
Wayne County Website

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.[3]

Wayne County, Missouri Record Dates

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
1914 1892 1914 1893 1849 1813 1830
Statewide registration started in 1910 for births and deaths. General compliance for births by 1927 and deaths by 1911.

Record Loss

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:

Boundary Changes

  • 1818 Wayne County was created December 11, 1818 from Cape Girardeau County by an act of the territorial legislature. This law became effective November 1, 1813. Prior to county formation in 1818, what became Wayne County was a part of St. Francois Township of Cape Girardeau County. 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.)
  • County seat: Greenville[5] became the county seat in 1819, the same year the town was incorporated. 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 August 10, 1832.

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.

Springfield-Greene County Library: evolution of Wayne County borders

Populated Places

The following are locations in Wayne County, Missouri:

History Timeline

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.

Missouri was admitted into the Union August 10, 1821.

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

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

Census Records

For tips on accessing Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy census records online, see: Missouri Census.

Church Records

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)

Court Records

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Guardianship

Land and Property Records

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

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.

  • History of Southeast Missouri, Vol. 1. By Robert Sidney Douglass. 1912. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company. Available online at Google Books
  • History of Southeast Missouri. 1888. Chicago, The Goodspeed Publishing Co. Available online at MissouriDigitalHeritage
  • Wayne County, Missouri. By Rose Fulton Cramer. Available online at Google Books

Maps and Gazetteers

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Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration

Military Records

Civil War

Online Records

Regiments
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
- 31st Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company D
- 31st Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company H
- 31st Regiment, Missouri Infantry (Union), Company K
- 2nd Regiment, Missouri Cavalry - Confederate, Company C

- 5th Regiment, Missouri State Militia Cavalry (2nd Organization) (Union), Company H
- 68th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company F
- 68th Regiment, Enrolled Missouri Militia (Union), Company G
- 6th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry (Union), Company F
- 8th Regiment, Missouri Cavalry - Confederate, Company C

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

Obituaries

Other Records

Periodicals

Probate Records

Probate records include wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. For further information, see United States Probate Records.

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

School Records

Tax Records

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

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.

Birth

Marriage

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

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.

Libraries

Museums

Societies

  • Wayne County Historical Society
    Route 1, Box 1117
    Piedmont, MO 63957
    Phone: 573-223-7130

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.
  • USGenWeb Archives. Free. Data may be submitted by individuals or may be images or transcriptions
  • FamilySearch Catalog . Free. - The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records
  • 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 ($)

Research Guides

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Wayne County," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Missouri, accessed 18 Sept 2018.
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wayne County, Missouri. Page 397-407 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 393-397.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Missouri. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.