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From Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center
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The Wayne County (OH) Wiki was started in 2014. Since its introduction, library staff have a new vision for the Wiki. It is now known as the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center. To find out more about the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center and its vision, please read About Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center. The Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center is divided into three main sections: Genealogy, Local History and Business. To simplify browsing subjects on the Wiki, the most common areas of interest are listed below.

Many programs are offered throughout the year. An updated list of library programs may be found on the Genealogy and Local History Programs page or choose "Upcoming Events" from the sidebar on the left for a list of genealogy and local history programming offered in the community.

Births and Deaths
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Birth and death records in Wayne County, Ohio were first recorded in 1856 and 1857 as the result of an Ohio Act passed in 1855. However,this first attempt did not last long. About 10 years later, Ohio attempted once again to record births and deaths. The recording of most births and deaths began in 1867. These were recorded at the county level. In December 1908, births and deaths were recorded at the local level and copies were sent to the Ohio Department of Health. The Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society has compiled an index to the Wayne County Death Records 1867-1908. Another index to early death records may be found through the Rutherford B. Hayes Online Obituary Index.
There are many historical buildings still standing in Wooster, Ohio and Wayne County, Ohio. Other buildings have been razed. The Genealogy and Local History Department has some exterior photos of buildings. Most are found in published books such as Picturesque Wayne, Wooster Souvenir, Historic Heritage, and many of the published books about local areas such as Creston, Dalton, Doylestown, Orrville, Rittman, and Shreve. Some photos may be found on the Wayne County, (OH) Wiki. Historic Founders' Row District is one example of a neighborhood researching their homes.

The department does not have interior photos of buildings. We do have city and county directories which may be used to research the residents of homes. Directories in connection with plat maps and deed searchers may aid researchers in tracking previous owners of the property or building to see if early photos still exist.

The Wayne County Historical Society maintains a list of Wayne County Historical Landmarks through their website.
Marriages and Divorces
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In the state of Ohio, marriages are recorded at the county level. The years and Marriages were first recorded once the county was established.

In Ohio, marriages begin when the county was first organized. For Wayne County, Ohio, marriages begin in 1812. However, most parents were not listed on marriages in Wayne County until 1899.

Domestic Relations Court was not established in Wayne County, Ohio until 1914. Divorces prior to this time may be found in Chancery Records, Land Deeds, Supreme Court Records, Journals, Newspapers and other possible places. The department has been working on an early divorce index.
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Downtown Wooster, Ohio was the core for industry in the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. Early Wooster industry is much forgotten. Likewise, early industry in other towns throughout Wayne County, Ohio is not recorded in much detail. Through deed searches, court records, newspaper searches, local histories maintained by area historical societies, history books, and memories of the residents and former residents of Wayne County, a listing of past and present business is in the process of being created. On the Business Portal of the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center, hundreds of businesses may be found. Some of these businesses have a recorded history; others do not.
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There are more than 240 known cemeteries in Wayne County, Ohio. Some of these cemeteries are gone with no record of the burials. Several attempts have been done through the years to record the known burials. The most recent recordings started in 2001 when the Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society was established. For the most up-to-date list of known cemeteries, visit the Society's website.
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Many churches representing a variety of denominations have come and gone in Wayne County, Ohio. The whereabouts of many early church records in Wayne County, Ohio are unknown. The Genealogy and Local History Department of the Wayne County Public Library has very few church records but several church histories. The department is currently working on a list of churches that have at one time or still do exist locally. The Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society does have an alphabetical index to the Wooster German Lutheran and Reformed Church Birth and Baptism Records of Wayne County, Ohio 1819-1854.
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The United States takes a census of her residents every 10 years. The first U.S. Census was taken in 1790. The most recent was taken in 2010. However, there is a 72 year privacy law which limits access to the detailed information on the census. The 1940 U.S. Census is the latest census available for public viewing. The state of Ohio did not take any State Census. On occasion, researchers may find an enumeration of residents. Several do exist for Wooster, Ohio and Wayne County, Ohio. Quadrennial Enumeration are available for Wayne County for the years 1815, 1819, and 1823. For Wooster, there is a Quadrennial Enumeration for 1887 and 1907.
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Wayne County, Ohio has a history of great activity in wartime. With the Northwest Territory came great opportunity for westward expansion and the opportunity to own affordable land. Many soldiers of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 received land in what became Ohio. Not all soldiers settled west. Often times, descendants of those war soldiers and early founders of the country came west to look for greater opportunity. Many settled in Wayne County, Ohio. Local history books includes lists of soldiers who served or was known to have been pensioners of the early wars. Other resources include lists of soldiers buried in Wayne County, Ohio.
Wayne County, Ohio was established in 1812. Many of the early court records are housed in the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Wayne County Public Library. These records are preserved on microfilm. Others copies may be found at Microfilm Services located in the Administration Building at 428 W. Liberty St. in Wooster, Ohio. Most of the early court records include some type of index, usually by the Plaintiff only. To aid researchers in searching the court records, the Genealogy and Local History Department is in the process of creating an every name index. At some future date, the index will become available on the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center.
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Newspapers are wonderful resources for local information. In the later 1800s and early to mid 1900s, newspapers were full of social news happening at the local level. Marriages, divorces, family reunion, school reunions, who is visiting in town and out of town, church events, and many other items of great local history interest may be found in newspapers. Many of the early Wayne County, Ohio are now searchable and digitally available online. Links to the digital newspapers may be found on the Genealogy Portal and on the Newspapers page.
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The library subscribes to several paid databases: American Ancestors, Ancestry Library Edition, HeritageQuest Online, Rutherford B. Hayes Online Obituary Index and the Swiss Anabaptist Genealogical Association. Also, the library has partnered with the Ohio History Connection's Ohio Memory Project to provide access to additional newspapers and images of Wayne County, Ohio. Many other databases have been created by staff and volunteers. The databases created by staff and volunteers are unique to the department and should not be copied in full and repackaged as your own database. Other websites of interest may be found through the Genealogy Portal and other pages on the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center.
Histories of organizations in Wayne County, Ohio usually remain with the organization or individuals within the organization. Most have been kept in scrapbook form. In recent years, some have been donated to the Genealogy and Local History Department. There is no index to these scrapbooks, nor to the items held within the pages of the scrapbooks.
Digital Collection
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The digital collection is a work in progress. Images and metadata for Family Bibles may be found here. Other items include directories, business letterheads, schools, churches, and residences throughout Wayne County, Ohio. Photos of select residences may be found under the respective township page. Also, this is the future home of unidentified photos in the Genealogy and Local History Department's collection. View the scanned documents page for more images.
Property records include land deeds, mortgages, leases, Chancery records, chattel (horses, cows) and carriage taxes, taxes paid on property, and other forms of taxes assessed during specific time periods. Very few tax records exist for the 1850s and 1860s for Wayne County, Ohio. Not all early years have a listing of those paying taxes on property. For some years, only tax records for horses and cows exist.
Ethnicity and Immigration
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Many of the early settlers of Wayne County, Ohio were German or of German descent. Other pockets of immigrants were of Swiss and French descent. Many individuals originally settled in Pennsylvania before moving westward to Ohio. Others came from Maryland and Virginia. Yet, other pioneers came directly to Wayne County, Ohio to join family and friends. The land was affordable and much of the geography reminded the early settlers of their native homes.

Leading up and following the Civil War, many of the great folks who had moved westward into Northwestern Ohio, Indiana, and places further west started to return home to Wayne County, OH.

Many individuals from Virginia and the Carolinas moved northward to work in the mining industry. Moving into the 20th century, individuals from southern Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, and other areas started to move northward to seek employment in the industry of the North.
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In early Wayne County, Ohio, section 16 of each township in Ohio was set aside to financially support the schools. The land was leased at $0.12 per acre and not sold. This method did not produce adequate funding. In 1826 Congress passed an act which permitted the states to sell the land. The money was deposited into the State Treasury and the interest earned on these funds would be paid to the Township Schools. This system of funding continued until 1968. After 1968, the funds would be paid directly to the school boards. The Genealogy and Local History Department has some "One-Room School files". These files include a variety of items, dependent on what was available to the compiler of the collection. They are organized by township. Listings of the one-room schools may be found on the Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center under their respective township. A limited number of school records from the mid-1880s have been found for Franklin Township.
Genealogies and Biographies
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The Genealogy and Local History Department has many published Family histories and Family papers. Other sources for biographies may be found in local history books, the department's biographical notebooks, newspaper clippings and many online resources. Compiled genealogies may be found through such websites as Ancestry Library Edition, FamilySearch, HeritageQuest Online, Rootsweb World Connect Project, and a variety of family genealogy pages.
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The 1796 Map of Wayne County, Northwest Territory shows how far north and west the territory expanded. In 1812, when Wayne County, Ohio was formed, only four townships: Mohecan, Wooster, Sugar Creek, and Prairie. Currently, there are 18 townships, the two most recent include Killbuck which is Wooster, Ohio and Rittman Township which is Rittman, Ohio. The latter was created in December 2011. Jackson, Lake, Mohican and Perry Townships became part of Ashland County, Ohio when it was formed in 1846. Part of Paint and Salt Creek Townships and Washington and Prairie Townships became part of Holmes County, Ohio when it was formed in 1825. Part of Prairie Township became Ripley Township, Holmes County, Ohio.