Wayne County Genealogical Research Resources

Are you wanting to Research History or Family History in Wayne County, Indiana ?

by Arnold L. Dean -- 2000

Things to keep in mind:

What information do you want to find ?

Things to keep in mind while doing all your research -- in regard to Wayne County.

  • The Indiana area was part of the Northwest Territory, prior to being separated.
  • Indiana was made a Territory in 1800.
  • Wayne County was formed (in the Indiana Territory) in 1810/1811.
  • The very first people settled in the Wayne County area in 1804/1805.
  • Indiana became a State in 1816.
  • A high percentage of the early settlers (up to about 1850) were Quakers(Society of Friend's).
  • Some of the land originally included in Wayne County, was taken to make up part of Fayette, Union and Randolph Counties at various times.

Regarding Indiana Vital Records

  • Birth and Death Records were not kept until 1882.
  • These were not mandatory until about 1907--prior to 1907, the event may or may not have been recorded.
  • Marriage Records are available from the beginning of the County.
  • Land Records are available from the beginning of the County.

Early records may be found elsewhere -- read this carefully --

  • Marriages, land transactions, or probate/estate records for people who lived in the Wayne, Franklin, or Randolph County areas east of the Greenville Treaty Line (Gore Area) prior to Wayne and Franklin Counties being formed, may possibly be located in the Dearborn County records.
  • Marriages, land transactions, or probate/estate records for people who lived in the Randolph County area before that county was formed, may possibly be located in the Wayne County records.
  • Marriages, land transactions, or probate/estate records for people who lived in the eastern Fayette County area before that county was formed, may possibly be located in the Wayne or Franklin County records.
  • Marriages, land transactions, or probate/estate records for people who lived in the Union County area before that county was formed, may possibly be located in the Wayne, Franklin, or Fayette County records.

Recognized Research Sites Now Existing in Wayne County

  1. Wayne County Courthouse - Richmond
  2. Morrisson-Reeves Library - Richmond
    • MRL has a publication which lists their genealogical holdings on a category basis, and contains the call numbers for each book. It can be a great help when doing research at the Morrisson-Reeves Library. -- Ask for it --
  3. Friend's Collection -- Lilly Library - Earlham College - Richmond
  4. Centerville Public Library - Centerville
  5. Cambridge City Public Library - Cambridge City
  6. Dublin Public Library - Dublin
  7. Hagerstown Public Library - Hagerstown
  8. Wayne County Genealogical Society - Family History Library-Richmond
  9. Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints -- Richmond
  10. The various school libraries--Richmond, Centerville, Cambridge City, Hagerstown, Fountain City.
    -- each of the above libraries have some resources that none of the other sites have --
  11. Wayne County Historical Museum -- Richmond
  12. Hagerstown Museum -- Hagerstown
  13. Overbeck Museum -- Cambridge City Library

Sites with the possibility of limited information

  1. Levi Coffin House -- Fountain City noted for Underground Railroad use.
  2. Mansion House -- Centerville
  3. li>Huddleston House -- Cambridge City
  4. Gaar House -- Richmond
  5. Indiana Football Hall of Fame--Richmond

For more information in regard to the individual research sites, refer to "Genealogical Research Resources in Wayne County, IN", by Arnold Dean, available at most of the libraries in the county.

What information do you want to find ?

Marriages

Printed indexes are available at the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond for 1811-1860 and 1860-1920. (The Wayne County Genealogical Society has been printing the 1811-1860 index in their quarterly newsletter "Family Pathways", a few pages at a time.

The printed index for 1860-1920 is available at most of the public libraries in the county.

On the Internet -- The County Clerk's Office at the Courthouse site, has been indexing the marriage records, and in September 2000, have these records indexed up to about 1918.

In the Friend's Collection at Earlham College, there is a book in regard to "Couples in the Wayne County Histories".

1980-1997 -- see "Marriage and Divorce Indexes " by Arnold Dean, available at some of the public libraries in the county.

On the Indiana State Library website, there in an Indiana Marriage Record Index. It is not complete, but it may be of help, as it covers the whole State, up to 1850, I believe. (other Wayne County Resources)

Notes:  County Clerk's Office

The marriage records up to about 1906, are merely a statement saying that
___ ?___ and ___?___ were married on a certain date by ____?____, minister or JP
After about 1906, marriage application forms are on file, which include considerable family history information.

For a more detailed description of the official marriage records, see the Marriage Records Description in "Genealogical Research Resources in Wayne County, IN", by Arnold Dean, available at most of the public libraries

Births

The official birth records are kept in the Health Department Office, located west of the Courthouse at 201 East Main.  

You must meet their criteria to get a copy (certified copies only) of a birth certificate, but you may be able to view the record and write down the information. (some exclusions do apply)

Printed Indexes--for the 1882-1920 period are available at most of the public libraries.

Printed Indexes--for the 1980-1997 period--see Birth and Death Indexes by Arnold Dean, available at some of the public libraries in the county.

Suggestions

For births between 1882-1920, get the date of birth, and record book and page number from the indexes before asking the Health Department employees for the record.

Ask for all the information in the record when getting a certified copy, as there may be information in the record book, for which the certified form does not have a blank line with that information designation.

Death Records

The official death records are kept in the Health Department Office, located west of the Courthouse at 201 East Main. The Annex Building is across the street from the courthouse.  They only supply certified copies of these records, but you may be able to view the record and write down the information.

Indexes
The printed indexes for the 1882-1920 period are available at most of the public libraries.
For the 1980-1997 period, refer to the Birth and Death Indexes by Arnold Dean, available at some of the public libraries in the county.
 
Obituaries
Locate the obituary in the obituary file (card file or on the library computer) at the Morrisson-Reeves library, then copy the obituary from the newspaper microfilm.
--for obituaries prior to 1886, which you do not find listed in the obituary file, refer to the "Newspaper Indexes" by Marcia Corrigan O'Neal, available at Morrisson-Reeves.

Cemetery Information

Tombstone Inscriptions
The four volume set of "Tombstone Inscriptions of Wayne County" by Beverly Yount, published prior to 1970, should be consulted for this type of information. A surname index is in Volume IV. This set of books may be found in any of the public libraries in Wayne County.

Cemetery locations and information
Consult the "Cemetery Directory of Wayne County, IN" by Arnold Dean, for information about the cemeteries in the county. Only the stones of two small cemeteries, and the listings for the bodies removed from the South Seventh St. Cemetery are listed in this book.

Some more recent cemetery stone inscription listings can be found on the Waynet website, and there may be two or three other cemetery stone inscription books at the Morrisson-Reeves Library.
 
Social Security Death Records
on CD-ROM or through the FHL Family Search Program for persons who died between 1937 and 2000. (No copies of the CD's are available at public locations in Wayne County, of which I am aware--but the information may be accessed over the internet.)

Note--not every person who died during these years will be in these records, only the persons who received Social Security benefits.

Suggestions

  1. For deaths between 1882-1920, get the date of death, and record book and page number(s) from the indexes before asking the Health Department employees for the record.
  2. Ask for all the information in the record when getting a certified copy, as there may be information in the record book, for which the certified form does not have a blank line with that information designation.

Divorces

Most of these will have to be researched from the court record books at the County Clerk's Office, as there is not a separate set of divorce record books. Consequently, you will need to know the date of the divorce, and it will be of a great help if you know which court granted the divorce.

1980-1997--consult the "Marriage and Divorce Indexes" by Arnold Dean, available at some of the public libraries in the county.

Naturalizations

The naturalization records which are available in Wayne County will be found at the County Clerk's Office. These records are housed in one of the lower cabinets along the west side of the record storage room.

Up to 1906, these are only the declaration of intent type forms. After 1906, these records contain considerably more information.

For more in-depth information about the naturalization records, consult the "Early Naturalization Records of Wayne County, IN" by Arnold Dean, which is available at most of the public libraries in Wayne County.

For naturalizations prior to about 1852, consult the book "An Index to Indiana Naturalization Records" by the Indiana Historical Society. These listings were taken from the "court order books" in the counties throughout the state.

Remember-- before 1893, naturalization papers were filed in any courthouse--in any state--where the person may have been at the time.

Land Records

First Land Purchases
The land in Wayne County, east of the 12 mile purchase line was originally handled through the Cincinnati Land Office. The land in Wayne County, west of the 12 mile purchase line was handled through the Indianapolis Land Office.
 
The original land patents for most of the parcels of land in Wayne County have been recorded in the County Recorder's Office. Some of the original land patents have never been recorded in Wayne County. The original land office records are available over the Internet, at the U. S. Government--Bureau of Land Management website, or through the National Archives.
 
Locally: in Wayne County--1st land Records
Consult the "1st Land Entries of Wayne County, IN" by Arnold Dean--available at some of the public libraries in Wayne County. This will give you the listings by the person's name, by the land location (legal description), or chronologically (by when the land was filed on). This book describes the survey methods, and the land availability in the "gore area", then in the "twelve mile purchase" area, then the area west of the "twelve mile purchase" line.
 
The land layout in Wayne County (town and range numbering) can be a little confusing, so study the land layout to understand why there is different numbering east of the Greenville Treaty Line, than west of that line.
 
To find the original land patents that have been recorded in Wayne County--in the Wayne County Recorder's Office--Record Storage room, there is a two box card file for the original land patents. You have to know the legal description (section no., Town no., and Range no.). The cards are divided by the section number, then you have to look for the Town and Range which corresponds with the land location. When you find that card, it will have the four 1/4 sections listed, with a Deed Book #, and page number. When you find that Deed Book, and page, you can get a copy of the original land patent. The U. S. Government BLM website records may contain even more information.
Later land records--up to 1869
The first two land index books are only "Grantee Indexes". So, if you don't know who bought the land from the original purchaser, it is difficult to locate the land transactions. In these books, the grantees are listed in alphabetical letter groups by their surname, but the names are not alphabetical within those pages --so, to be thorough-- look all the way through the letter group for the surname you are searching, before giving up.
 
If you find a listing, it should give you the names of the two parties in the transaction, the date, the legal land description, the Deed Book designation, and page number.

Probate/Estate and Will Records -- to be found in the County Clerk's Office

For probates/estates and wills prior to 1860, consult the "Early Probate and Will Index" by Arnold Dean, that is available as most of the public libraries in the county

When looking for these records in the County Clerk's Record Storage at the courthouse, look first at the Estate Indexes (one is a white book, labeled with an X), which are usually near the north windows, and next to the Will books. These two index books will give you a listing for the Claim and Allowance Record location, and the location of the Will--if there was a will.

The Claim and Allowance Records are similar to a "Table of Contents" in a book, as it lists the order book locations where the various actions were recorded for proceedings of each estate.

Census Information-- available in Wayne County

Morrisson-Reeves has the most complete collection of census information in the county.

There is a published copy of the 1807 and 1820 Indiana Census.

There are printed indexes for the 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860 censuses.

For the 1910 Census, consult the "1910 Census Index" by Arnold Dean, which is available at some of the public libraries in the county.

The Soundex Indexes for 1880, 1900, and 1920 are not available in Wayne County. The cost is prohibitive, as the soundex microfilms have to be purchased for the whole State.

A Helpful Hint
Since there are no indexes available locally for the 1870, 1880, 1900 or 1920 censuses--consult the city/county directories for that time, then go through that part of the census. 
 
For Richmond, determine which ward the family was located in, by locating their street location from the atlases, then look at that whole "Ward" in the census. --See a more detailed description of this method on a placard at the Morrisson-Reeves Library, on the microfilm file cabinets.

City / County Directories

The most complete set of these will be found at the Morrisson-Reeves Library. Some of the other research sites have some issues of these directories. Some of the directories are only for the city of Richmond, and some years include the whole county; the county information is usually in the back of the directory.

Military Records

The largest collection of military records available in Wayne County will be found at the Morrisson-Reeves Library. Look for the books regarding the specific military actions in which you are interested.

Newspapers

The microfilms of the Richmond newspapers are in the microfilm collection at the Morrisson-Reeves Library.

The microfilms of the Centerville newspapers are in the microfilm collection at the Centerville Public Library.

The microfilms of the Cambridge City newspapers are in the microfilm collection at the Cambridge City Public Library.

The microfilms of the Hagerstown newspapers are in the microfilm collection at the Hagerstown Public Library.

Quaker Records

The Friend's Collection at Earlham College has the most complete collection, and is the Archive for the Society of Friend's in this geographical section of the U. S.

Indiana Quaker Records

Consult the Quaker Records by Willard Heiss
This six volume set (plus a surname index) is available at several of the libraries in the county.

These books contain two types of records--the church records for each individual meeting group, and the family vital statistics for the families in that meeting group.
 
Quaker Records in other States--mostly east or south of Indiana--
Consult the "Encyclopedia of Quaker Genealogy, 1750-1930" by William Wade Hinshaw.
 
This six volume set contains a surname index in the back of each book.
These books contain two types of records--the family vital statistics, and the meeting minutes/marriage records for each individual meeting group.
 
Build on the information in these books, by further research at the Friend's Collection in the Lilly Library at Earlham College.

Note--
In the Indiana records by Willard Heiss, you can actually trace a family as they move to various places in Indiana, and trace them back to their arrival in Indiana; the arrival record will usually indicate the meeting from which they came in the other State.

Then, by going to the Hinshaw records for that meeting in that State, you may actually be able to trace them back to their meeting in a previous State.

Richmond High School Seniors

Consult the "Richmond High School Senior's Index", by Arnold Dean to find the year the person graduated, and if there is a page number listed for that yearbook, or if the pictures were located alphabetically in that yearbook.

Then, obtain that yearbook at the Morrisson-Reeves Library, or at the Richmond High School library, to find the picture of the person.

[Morrisson-Reeves Library has most of the yearbooks (ask for the yearbooks you want at the Reference Desk), but there may be two or three that you have to find at the Richmond High School library.] 

If you decide you have to go to the high school library, call the school first (to see how to get in and where to park) due to the newer security steps that have been taken since the nationwide concern about the incidents of school violence.

Personal or Family History Information-- prior to 1920

First, consult the "Index of Persons and Firms". This 3 volume set indexes the older county histories, on an every name basis. When you find the name, there will be a listing showing a code letter (and possibly a volume number), then the page number in the book designated by that code.  The code letter and book list is in the front pages of each volume.  Using this index first will save you a lot of time.

Older Wayne County histories--

1873--Young's
1884--Inter-State Publishing----2 volume set
1899--Wayne, Franklin, Union and Fayette County History and Biographical sketches--2 volume set
1912--Fox's----2 volume set

History of Northeastern Wayne County--contains a lot of information on families in the Williamsburg, and Fountain City areas of Wayne County.

In each one of these books listed above, some information is duplicated, but each book will contain some information which will not be found in the others.

"Economy Times" 
--a book about the people of Perry Township and Economy, IN--is available at some of the public libraries, and may be purchased from the Springfield Cemetery Board, at Economy, IN--a printed index for this book is available from the Wayne County Genealogical Society.

There are some individual books about Centerville, Cambridge City, Dublin, and Hagerstown that are available at some of the public libraries

Be sure to check out the holdings in the "Richmond Collection" and the "Wayne County Collection" at Morrisson-Reeves Library--ask a reference librarian about these collections as they are kept in the back storage area.

Consult the "CRIMP" microfilm listings for a variety of information, which was microfilmed for this project. Ask one of the reference librarians as Morrisson-Reeves to show you the "CRIMP" microfilm listings booklet.

since 1920--

In the last few years, there have been a couple of newer histories published in regard to Richmond, and Wayne County. Each of these have an every name index included. Also, some "Pictorial Histories of Richmond" have been published.

The Wayne County Genealogical Society has a number of research sources at their library, which are "one of a kind"--no other site has these items.

One of these research sources is the George Heavilin Genealogical Card Collection. These cards (estimated to be about 440,000) fill about 8 file cabinets, and contain the names and some personal or genealogical information, and may indicate where some of the events took place.

Other "one of a kind" resources include:

  1. Voters Records--names purged from the eligibility lists
  2. Collection of Generation Charts of various families Cross-Reference file of names in the collection of generation charts.
  3. Research Committee files.
  4. Church histories or year books, directories.
  5. Notebooks with copies of birth, death, marriage and divorce listings for the 1980-1997 years.
  6. Notebooks with obituaries, arranged by the burial cemetery
  7. Some family histories that other research sites do not have A larger collection of genealogical periodicals than any other repository in Wayne County.
  8. The local WCGS members are probably the most knowledgeable group of individuals in the county, in regard to genealogy research.
  9. On the Waynet Website, the Wayne County Genealogical Society has a page which contains Society information.

----Note----

The preceding list of citations is not a complete and detailed listing of all the information sources available in Wayne County, but hopefully, this information will help the researcher become more familiar with where and how to find the family history information desired.

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Richmond, the county seat of Wayne County, is 966' above sea level.