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Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy

Revision as of 12:30, 4 October 2016 by Psleavens (talk | contribs) (Civil War: Undid my previous formatting to match other subheadings on page)

United States Gotoarrow.png Missouri Gotoarrow.png Wayne County

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
Map of the U.S. highlighting Missouri
Location of Missouri in the U.S.
Founded December 11, 1818
County Seat Greenville
Address Wayne County Courthouse
County Courthouse
Greenville, MO 63944
Phone: 573.224.3011
Wayne County Website

County InformationEdit

Wayne County, Missouri Record DatesEdit

Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1892 1830 1849 1869

County CourthouseEdit

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.[2]


Anthony Wayne.JPG

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."

The county is named after Revolutionary War General "Mad" Anthony Wayne (1745-1796), not because of any connection to the county, but because he was a popular figure of the time.[3]

Parent CountyEdit

1818 Wayne County was created 11 December 1818 from Cape Girardeau County. County seat: Greenville [4]

Boundary ChangesEdit

For animated maps illustrating Missouri county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Missouri County Boundary Maps" (1804-1889) may be viewed for free at the website. evolution of Wayne County borders

Record LossEdit

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:

Places / LocalitiesEdit

Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated PlacesEdit

Cascade | Clubb | Coldwater | Greenville | Hiram | Leeper | Lodi | Lowndes | McGee | Mill Spring | Patterson | Piedmont | Shook | Silva | Wappapello | Williamsville

Neighboring CountiesEdit

Bollinger  • Butler  • Carter  • Iron  • Madison  • Reynolds  • Stoddard

Bollinger CountySte. Genevieve CountyWayne CountySt. Francois CountyPerry CountyButler CountyStoddard CountyScott CountyOregon CountyNew Madrid CountyDunklin CountyRipley CountyReynolds CountyShannon CountyCarter CountyIron CountyMadison CountyCape Girirdeau CountyMOWayne.JPG




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)



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 HistoriesEdit

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.




Civil WarEdit

Online Records

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

Naturalization and CitizenshipEdit


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


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


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 RecordsEdit

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.


Genealogy Societies, Archives and LibrariesEdit

Historical SocietyEdit

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

Family History CentersEdit

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.

Web SitesEdit

Sites with online indexes or images of records
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
Sites that search for links pertaining to Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy
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 ($)
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy
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"
See also local libraries and Missouri Archives and Libraries
Social networking sites pertaining to Wayne County, Missouri Genealogy
Google+ Missouri Genealogy Network Community
Facebook list of groups from "Missouri Genealogy" search Wayne County Missouri Genealogy Forum


  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. "Anthony Wayne," Wikipedia.
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).