Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
Wayne County

Guide to Wayne County, Pennsylvania ancestry, family history and genealogy in courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.


Wayne County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded March 21, 1798
County Seat Honesdale
Wayne County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Wayne County Courthouse
925 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Wayne County Website
Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

Wayne County Pennsylvania Historical Facts

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
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.

Parent Counties: Formed from Northampton County 21 May 1798. [2]

County Seat: Honesdale

Neighboring Counties: Wayne County residents may also have records in:[3]


The county was named for the Revolutionary War General Anthony Wayne. It's county seat is Honesdale and was founded March 21, 1798. It is located in the Northeastern tip of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes

26 March 1814: Pike County set off. [5]

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.

Records Loss

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

Bible Records


Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
HomeTownLocator WorldCat BillionGraves
PAGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Interment PAGravestones
PAGenWeb Epodunk
Pennsylvania Genealogy Access Genealogy
BillionGraves (name)
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources


For tips on accessing Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.

There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.

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. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.

Wayne County Pennsylvania churches

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:


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.[6]


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 .[6]


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. [6]


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. [6]


Honesdale German Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was established in 1845. [6]


The first group organized in 1825; by 1900 the Methodist outnumbered the other denominations. Members could attend in Salem Corners, Pleasant Mount, and Honesdale. [6]


There were five churches organized between 1829 and 1849.[6]

  • 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. [6]

Court Records

Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Courthouse. For many counties copies of court records may be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in the FamilySearch collection. Note that within these collections some films may contain the same records, but have different titles. Other titles are not duplicates. See Finding Court Records at other repositories within this section for links to the online catalogs for these two collections. Films at the Pennsylvania State Archives are not available for inter-library loan. If court records are available FamilySearch films may be available at a local Family History Center. Call ahead for availability.

Court of Common Pleas

The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters.

The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts. Wayne County has its own judicial district. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[8]

Clerk of the Courts

The Clerk of Courts prepares and maintains the records for the Criminal Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The Clerk signs and affixes the Seal of the Courts to all writs and processes, administers oaths and affirmations, and assumes custody of the seal and records of the Courts. The Clerk certifies and distributes orders of the Court. The Clerk also certifies and prepares bills of costs for the defendants and utilizes the computerized financial management system to disburse fines, costs and restitution.[9] For the Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.


The office of the Prothonotary is the custodian of all civil matters in the county. This includes naturalization, immigration, equity actions, judgements, federal and local tax liens, city liens, family court, arbitrations, license suspension appeals, appeals to higher court, commercial code filings, applications for passports and divorce proceedings. See the Courthouse section on this page for the Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.

Orphans' Court

See Vital Records
The Orphans' Court is responsible for a wide range of matters. The name of the Court is derived from the more general definition of "orphan," that being a person or thing that is without protective affiliation or sponsorship. This would include those not capable of handling their own affairs, minors, incapacitated persons, decedents estates, nonprofit corporations and trusts. It is the role of the Court to ensure that the best interests of the person or entity are not compromised.

It is believed the name of this court was borrowed from the Court of Orphans of the city of London, England which had the care and guardianship of children of deceased citizens, in their minority.[10]

For Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Orphans' Court contact information see the Courthouse section on this page.

Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

Additional court records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Court Records in online catalogs like:

Emigration and Immigration

For information about emigration into Pennsylvania, see the Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration page.

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 Groups





Anthony Wayne
  The county is named after Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne (1745-1796).[11] 
Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Wayne County began in 1798. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records. The following are examples of available resources:

Land Records on Microfilm 1795-1941 Deeds, 1796 to 1866; Indexes, 1795 to 1941 FHL film 354579 (first of 28)

1798–1941 Mortgages, 1798-1834; Index, 1798-1941 FHL films 954305–954309

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership. Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.

Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as: *Historical Society of Pennsylvania*WorldCat (For instructions see WorldCat Online Catalog.)*FamilySearch Catalog (For instructions see FamilySearch Catalog Place-name Search.)


Wayne County


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


Naturalization and Citizenship

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

Naturalizations granted at the county level were kept by the office of the Prothonotary. Naturalizations could also be granted on the Federal Court level.

Naturalization records available for Wayne County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Original Naturalization Records on Microfilm

Finding Naturalization Indexes at Other Repositories

Additional naturalization indexes can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy naturalization in online catalogs like:


Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, historical/genealogical societies, college or university libraries, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published.

For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers

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 are generally found in local newspapers where the person died. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Newspaper heading

Online Obituary Abstracts


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; inheritance tax appeals and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Records
Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at FamilySearch.org. The dates vary significantly for each county and not all counties are listed. Some counties may only have probate indexes. This Pennsylvania collection of images may be browsed through the links listed below:

Complete Collection:

Wayne County Only:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:


  • The Pennsylvania Archives collection contains county archive records that can be searched onsite. Currently the Archives' staff cannot provide research or make copies of these records. Their collections include Almshouse Registers; Tax records; Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and Records; Midwife records; African American records; Wills; Deeds; Naturalizations; Coroner's inquests; and Orphan's Court dockets. A list of the Archive's county holdings are on Microfilm or Manuscript form.

Visit website for hours
  • Prothonotary
    Office: Second Floor Annex
    Phone: 570-523-5970 ext. 4030
The Prothonotary is also the Clerk of the Orphans' Court. The office maintains the following records for genealogical research, most of which are available to the public.
  • 1893-1906 Birth and Death records
  • 1885-Present Marriage records
  • 1880 County Tax Assessment Census
  • 1912-1971 School records
  • Some Naturalization records
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.

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Scranton Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Visit website for individual library locations and contact information, hours and services
  • Wayne Public Library
    1406 Main Street, Honesdale, PA
    Phone: 570-253-1220
    FAX: 570-253-1240
  • Bethany Public Library and Historical Society
    RR3 Box 650
    Honesdale, PA 18431
There are four museums available for touring and gatherings. The main museum is the society's headquarter.
Visit Museums for museum locations and hours.
Website also maintains a list of historical sites and information about their research library.
Visit website for hours and services
The GRSNP serves northeastern counties:
  • Lackawanna
  • Luzerne
  • Monroe
  • Pike
  • Susquehanna
  • Wayne
  • Wyoming


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

Vital Records

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. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.

See also How to order Pennsylvania Vital Records

In Wayne county, the Prothonotary's office has vital records for genealogical researchers. Visit the webpage for further information:

Wayne County Court House
Second Floor Annex
925 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: 570-253-5970 Ext. 4030
Hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM


Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103


Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Wayne County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records.

  • 1626-2016 - Pennsylvania, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
  • 1677-1950 Pennsylvania Civil Marriages, 1677-1950 at FamilySearch — index and images
  • 1700-1821 Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections. In Wayne county, the Prothonotary's office has: *1885–present - Marriage records (see above for address)
  • Pre-1810 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.
  • 1885-1950 Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.
  • 1947-2010 Pennsylvania Obituary and Marriage Collection, 1947-2010 at FamilySearch — index and images

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building.


Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Wayne County Pennsylvania Genealogy Websites

Wayne County Pennsylvania Places

Populated Places

Wayne County Pennsylvania Genealogy References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Wayne County, Pennsylvania. Page 588-593 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), 579-581.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Wayne County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Pennsylvania.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/12/2017
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Walter B. Barbe and Kurk A. Reed. History of Wayne County Pennsylfania 1798-1998. (Wayne County Historical Society, 1998).FHL book 974.823 H2bw
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/2/20/Igipennsylvaniat.pdf.
  8. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ accessed 10 July 2012.
  9. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  10. The Philadelphia Courts at http://www.courts.phila.gov/common-pleas/orphans/ accessed 10 July 2012
  11. "Anthony Wayne," Wikipedia.
  12. Handybook, 850-51.