Wayne County History and Information

County History | Court Records | Vital Records | CENSUS Records | TAX Records | Military Records | Church & Cemetery |
Maps & Atlases | Genealogy Addresses | Genealogy Related Sites |

Wayne County was created on 18 Aug 1796 and was formed as an Original County. In 1796 Wayne County was created as part of the Northwest Territory from unnamed country; in 1815 it became part of the Michigan Territory. The County was named for the American General "Mad" Anthony Wayne (1745-1796). The County Seat is Detroit . See also County History for more historical details.

Counties adjacent to Wayne County are Washtenaw County (west), Monroe County (south), Macomb County (northeast), Oakland County (northwest), Essex County, Ontario (east, southeast). Townships found in Wayne County include Brownstown Charter, Canton Charter, Grosse Ile, Grosse Pointe, Huron Charter, Northville, Plymouth Charter, Redford Charter, Sumpter, Van Buren Charter Townships. Cities, Towns and Communities include Allen Park, Belleville, Canton, Dearborn Heights, Dearborn, Detroit, Ecorse, Flat Rock, Garden City, Gibraltar, Grosse Ile, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park, Inkster, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Melvindale, New Boston, Northville, Plymouth, Redford, River Rouge, Riverview, Rockwood, Romulus, Southgate, Taylor, Trenton, Wayne, Westland, Woodhaven, Wyandotte.

  • The Wayne County Official Government Website
  • Wayne County, Michigan History Books at Amazon.com
  • Family History Library - The largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world.

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Records at the Wayne County Courthouse
PLEASE READ!! Please call the clerk's department to confirm hours, mailing address, fees and other specifics before visiting or requesting information because of sometimes changing contact information.

All departments below at located at the Wayne County Courthouse, 201 City-County Building, Detroit, MI 48226 , unless a different address is listed below. NOTE: The date listed for each category of record is the earliest record known to exist in that county. It does not indicate that there are numerous records for that year and certainly does not indicate that all such events that year were actually registered.

   Wayne County Clerk has the following Records for: Births & Deaths: 1867 to present (records costs are $17.00 certified copy, $3.50 each additional and $3.00 search fee), Marriages: For the years 1842 - 1848, record books that contain photocopies of the Certificate of Marriage section of the Marriage License are available for public inspection. For the years 1848-1937, books list the names of the parties at the time of the application, date of the marriage, and microfilm number. (Microfilm search must be conducted by staff. Marriage record costs are $17.00 certified copy, $3.50 each additional, and $11.00 uncertified and search fee) . The Office is located at the County Courthouse, see address above for contact information. Phone: 313-224-6262 .
   The County Clerk is responsible for keeping records of births, deaths, assumed names, co-partnerships, issuing and filing marriage licenses, gun permits, notary bonds and processing passports.

   Wayne County Register of Deeds has Land Records from 1703 and is located at the International Center Building, 400 Monroe St., 6th Flr, Detroit, MI 48226; Phone: 313-224-5854 .
   The Register is the County's official recording officer for all legal documents pertaining to the transfers and encumbrances of all real estate property within the County. The Register also provides permanent storage for approved original subdivision plats, condominiums, land surveys and section corners.

   Wayne County Clerk of the Probate Court has Probate Records from 1797 and is located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Avenue, Suite 1307, Detroit, Michigan 48226; Phone: 313-224-5706.
   The Court Adjudicates and disposes of cases involving property of persons who have died or become incompetent, interprets wills and trusts, commits the mentally ill when necessary and appoints guardians and conservators for minors, incapacitated individuals and individuals with developmental disability.

   Wayne County Clerk of the Circuit Court has Court Records from 1818 and is located at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48226; Phone: (313)224-5261 .
   The Clerk provides a variety of functions for the court such as, but not limited to: filing and maintaing the official record for all cases that come before the court; providing staff to assist in the operation of the court; working with the Jury Commission and notifying all potential jurors to appear for jury duty; and, processing felony criminal cases bound over from the District Court. 

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Court, Land, Wills & Financial Records! - Researchers often overlook the importance of court records, probate records, and land records as a source of family history information.

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Court Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Court Records by clicking the link below:

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Michigan Land Records: Michigan Pre-1908 Homestead & Cash Entry Patent and Cadastral Survey Plat Index.
  • Michigan Eastern District Naturalizations: Index to Naturalization papers of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903 and U.S. Circuit Court, Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit, 1837-1903
  • Wayne County, Michigan Court Books at Amazon.com
  • Michigan Immigration & Emigration Records - Immigration records help the family historian to understand the movements of their ancestry as they relocated to different parts of the world.

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Wayne County Vital Records
Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Records! - Birth, marriage, and death records are connected with central life events. They are prime sources for genealogical information. Look also for baptism, christening, and burial records in this collection.

The State of Michigan Vital Records Office is located at 201 Townsend Street, Capitol View Bldg, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across the street from the state capitol - south side). The office hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Mon-Fri, except for State holidays. They are open thru the lunch hour. If applying in person, you must submit your request by 3:00 pm in order to obtain same-day service. It can take up to 1-3 months to get a vital record from Michigan.

  • Birth Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains birth records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present. Birth records are restricted in Michigan and only a person or parent named on the record or a legal guardian of the person named on the record may request a copy. A legal representative is eligible to request a copy if he/she represents the person named on the record. Photo identification is required to request a Michigan birth record (unless the birth record is at least 100 years old).
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the birth year is 1906 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks. If the birth year is prior to 1906, the processing time will be 1-3 months. when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Death Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains death records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the death year is 1916 to the present, your request will be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the death year is prior to 1916, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Marriage Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains marriage records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the marriage year is 1926 to the present, your request will
      be processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the marriage year is
      prior to 1926, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Divorce Certificates: The Vital Records Office maintains divorce records that occur in Michigan since 1867 to the present.
    • Cost: Initial search (fee includes a 3-year search, Each additional year is $12.00 per year) and one certified copy or certification of the record or No Record Statement is $26.00 and $12.00 for each additional copy. Make your check or money order payable to "STATE OF MICHIGAN". Enclose a business-size self-addressed envelope. If no record is found or no copy is made, state law requires that we keep check amount for a searching fee. Please do not send cash in the mail. Mail to: Vital Records Requests, PO Box 30721, Lansing MI 48909
    • Processing Time: If the divorce year is 1925 to the present, your request will be
      processed within 4 weeks of receipt in the vital records office. If the divorce year is prior
      to 1925, the processing time will be 1-3 months when ordered by MAIL or 2-5 Days when you order ELECTRONICALLY
  • Order Online: You can also order Order Electronically and get the certificates within 2-5 days by ordering below
    Birth Certificates
    Death Certificates
    Marriage Certificates
    Divorce Records

Apply In Person: If you wish to apply in person to order a Michigan vital record, you may do so at the office located at 201 Townsend St, Capitol View Building, 3rd Floor, Lansing MI 48913 (across from the State Capitol). Lobby hours are 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Directions are available by logging onto our website at: www.michigan.gov/mdch or by calling 517-335-8666. A check or money order is preferred, and orders in our lobby must be placed by 3:00 pm in order to request same-day service. An additional fee of $10.00 is required for same-day service orders. Please allow a 2-3 hour waiting period for same-day service.

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Vital Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Vital Records by clicking the link below:

  • Search the Social Security Death Index for FREE - Search over 82 million death records and get genealogical information crucial to your family research. New content added weekly! Most comprehensive SSDI site online!
  • Research Death records In The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of historical Michigan newspaper articles about deaths. Search for local articles about an old family friend that died many years ago or a celebrity that committed suicide. Historical newspapers contain a wealth of information about the deceased.
  • Michigan Marriages to 1850: This database of Michigan marriages to 1850 contains 13,000 names.
  • Michigan Marriages, 1851-75: This database contains records of marriages within the state for the years 1851 through 1875.
  • Michigan Deaths, 1971-1996: With over 2.75 million records, the Michigan Death Index covers the years from 1971 to 1996, making this database of particular interest to those with relatives from Michigan.
  • Wayne County, Michigan Birth, Marriage & Death Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Census Records
Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Voter Lists & Census Records! - Few, if any, records reveal as many details about individuals and families as do government census records. Substitute records can be used when the official census is unavailable.

  Countywide Records: Federal Population Schedules that exist for Wayne County, Michigan are 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (fragment, see below), 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. Other Federal Schedules to look at when researching your Family Tree in Wayne County, Michigan are Industry and Agriculture Schedules availible for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. The Mortality Schedules for the years 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880.There are free downloadable and printable Census forms to help with your research. These include U.S. Census Extraction Forms and U.K. Census Extraction Forms.

  See Also Statewide Records that exist for Michigan

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Census Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Census Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Census, 1827-70: This collection contains the following indexes: 1827 Territorial Census Index; 1837 Kalamazoo County Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1845 State Census Index; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1870 Federal Census Index; Early Census Index.
  • Michigan State Census, 1894: This database contains information from the 1894 Michigan State Census for the counties of Barry, Bay, Benzie, Dickinson, Emmet, Gratiot, Iosco, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Keweenaw, Lapeer, Menominee, Montcalm, and Washtenaw.
  • Wayne County, Michigan Census Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Maps & Atlases

   Genealogy Atlas has images of old American atlases during the years 1795, 1814, 1822, 1823, 1836, 1838, 1845, 1856, 1866, 1879 and 1897 for Ohio and other states.

  You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundaries for each census year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at Census Maps
   You can view rotating animated maps for Michigan showing all the county boundary changes for each year overlayed with past and present maps so you can see the changes in county boundaries. You can view a list of maps for other states at County Maps

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Maps. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Maps by clicking the link below:

  • The USGenWeb Archives Digital Map Library
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection: Michigan Maps
  • Historical Maps of Michigan - Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Michigan Territory
  • American Memory Map Collection: 1500-2004 - extensive selection from the Library of Congress Map Collections, focusing on Americana and cartographic treasures.
  • Wayne County, Michigan Map Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Military Records
Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Military Records! - Military and civil service records provide unique facts and insights into the lives of men and women who have served their country at home and abroad.

   The uses and value of military records in genealogical research for ancestors who were veterans are obvious, but military records can also be important to re-searchers whose direct ancestors were not soldiers in any war. The fathers, grandfathers, brothers, and other close relatives of an ancestor may have served in a war, and their service or pension records could contain information that will assist in further identifying the family of primary interest. Due to the amount of genealogical information contained in some military pension files, they should never be overlooked during the research process. Those records not containing specific genealogical information are of historic value and should be included in any overall research design.

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Military Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Military Records by clicking the link below:

  • Michigan Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
  • National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution,
  • Michigan Society of Sons of the American Revolution,
  • National Society of Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203; (502) 589-1776
  • Southern Claims Commission (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents In the 1870s, southerners claimed compensation from the U.S. government for items used by the Union Army, ranging from corn and horses, to trees and church buildings.
  • Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 from the State of Michigan (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Pension applications for service in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917, grouped according to the units in which the veterans served.
  • Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Documents in NARA publication M246 include muster rolls, payrolls, strength returns, and other miscellaneous personnel, pay, and supply records of American Army units, 1775-83.
  • Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (The National Archives): View, Print Copy & Save Original Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, from NARA publication M804.
  • Civil War Principals and Substitutes Index
  • Civil War Soldier Images Database
  • Guest Register of World War I Michigan Clubroom (located in New York City)
  • World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing: State of Michigan
  • 1835 Michigan Territorial Pensioners
  • 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services State of Michigan
  • Michigan in the Civil War: This database contains a report compiled from reports of the Adjutant General and reports held by the War Department in Washington, of the services of Michigan regiments, batteries, and companies in the Civil War.
  • Michigan Military Records, 1775-1836: This database, originally compiled in 1920, is a collection of burial and pension records for residents of the state prior to 1836.
  • Wayne County, Michigan Military Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Tax Records

   Property tax records at the county level usually date back to the first land records. Either the county treasurer or the register of deeds will be the custodian of these records.

Numerous early tax assessment and general tax rolls are available at the State Archives of Michigan. Organized by county, the records include the name of the owner or occupant of the property, legal description and number of acres, value of land and personal estate, and amount of tax levied. There are tax rolls for some counties for the late 1830s, but most are for the last half of the nineteenth century.
National Archives/Great Lakes Region in Chicago holds numerous federal personal property and corporate tax assessment lists for the state of Michigan

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Tax Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Tax Records by clicking the link below:

  • Wayne County, Michigan Tax Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Genealogical Addresses

   The Repositories in this section are Archives, Libraries, Museums, Genealogical and Historical Societies. Many County Historical and Genealogical Societies publish magazines and/or news letters on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Contacting the local societies should not be over looked. State Archives and Societies are usually much larger and better organized with much larger archived materials than their smaller county cousins but they can be more generalized and over look the smaller details that local societies tend to have. Libraries can also be a good place to look for local information. Some libraries have a genealogy section and may have some resources that are not located at archives or societies. Also, take a special look at any museums in the area. They sometimes have photos and items from years gone by as well as information of a genealogical interest. All these places are vitally important to the family genealogist and must not be passed over.

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Genealogical Addresses. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Genealogical Addresses by clicking the link below:

  • Dearborn Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 1112, Dearborn, MI 48121-1112
  • Detroit Society for Genealogical Research, Inc., c/o Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202
  • Northville Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 932, Northville, MI 48167
  • Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society, c/o Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202
  • Downriver Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 476, Lincoln Park, MI 48146
  • Charter Township of Redford Genealogical Society, 12259 Beech Daly, Redford, MI 48239-9998
  • West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society, 3245 Junction Street, Detroit, MI. 48210
  • Western Wayne County Genealogical Society , P. O. Box 530063, Livonia, MI. 48153-0063
  • Local Michigan Researchers, Find a local researcher or become a local researcher.
  • National Archives - Great Lakes Region (Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; E-mail: (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)
    General Information Leaflet
  • State Archives of Michigan, 702 W Kalamazoo Str, P.O. Box 30738, Lansing, MI 48909-8238; (517) 373-1408
    Original material generated by government offices at the state and/or local level, including census records, tax assessment rolls, military records and photographs are among the extensive holdings. They also have some naturalization files, correctional facility records, school records, and depression era agency files. The archives distribute information circulars on many topics. The circulars act as finding aids to their extensive collection.
  • The Historical Society of Michigan, 1305 Abbott Rd., East Lansing, MI 48823; (517) 324-1828,
    Fax: (517) 324-4370, e-mail:
  • Library of Michigan, : 702 W. Kalamazoo St, Lansing, MI 48909
    Holdings here include an extensive genealogical and historical collection including books, microforms, manuscripts, newspapers, surname index, Centennial and Sesquicentennial Certificate applications, and diaries. Records are housed in a new building with card catalog. See: http://michigan.gov/hal/libraryofmichigan for more information/services. Limited reference service to mail request. They also offer online reference services at:
  • Michigan Newspapers & Periodicals Records - Newspapers and periodicals are the diaries of local communities. They are excellent sources of family history details - often recorded nowhere else. Look for obituaries, marriages, legal notices, and more found in our Historical Newspaper Archives.
  • Michigan Genealogical Society Books at Amazon.com

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Wayne County Church & Cemeteries
Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Obituary Records! - This database is a compilation of obituaries published in U.S. newspapers, collected from various online sources. Obituaries can vary in the amount of information they contain, but many of them are genealogical goldmines, including information such as names, dates, places of birth and death, marriage information, and family relationships.

   There are many churches and cemeteries in Wayne County. Some transcriptions are online. A great site is the Wayne County Tombstone Transcription Project.

The earliest religious denomination in Michigan was the Roman Catholic church, established through a mission in 1668 at Sault Ste. Marie. Ste. Anne's, in Detroit, has parish records beginning in 1703.

Michigan Historical Collections in Ann Arbor holds large collections from the Presbyterian Church and the Protestant Episcopal Church, in addition to other denominations. Dutch Reformed church records are at Calvin College and Seminary Library in Grand Rapids; Finnish church records are deposited at the Finnish-American Historical Archives at Suomi College in Hancock. The Upjohn Library at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo has a large collection of Baptist archive material. Many early Detroit churches have their records deposited at the Burton Historical Collection-Detroit Public Library. The Michigan Historical Records Survey, WPA, completed an Inventory of the Church Archives of Michigan, and many of the church records from this inventory were published from 1936 through 1942.

The Library of Michigan in Lansing and the Burton Historical Collection have over 1,000 books of transcribed or published tombstone readings from Michigan cemeteries. To locate a cemetery in the state, consult the Michigan Cemetery Compendium. It lists most cemeteries in Michigan.

Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Cemetery & Church Records. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Cemetery & Church Records by clicking the link below:

  • Find Obituaries in The World's Largest Newspaper Archive at NewpaperArchive.com! - Find thousands of Michigan obituaries to help you research your family history. Search for a Michigan newspaper obituary about your ancestor or a celebrity. Begin your search today and find death notices and funeral announcements printed in newspapers from Michigan.
  • Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Michigan
  • Wayne County, Michigan Cemetery Books at Amazon.com
  • Wayne County, Michigan Church Books at Amazon.com

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Family Trees & Genealogy Tidbits

Search Online Click Here to Search Michigan Family Tree Records! - The use of published genealogies, electronic files containing genealogical lineage, and other compiled sources can be of tremendous value to a researcher.

   When view family trees online or not, be sure to only take the info at face value and always follow up with your own sources or verify the ones they provide. Below is a list of online resources for Wayne County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information. Email us with websites containing Wayne County Family Trees, web forums and other family type information by clicking the link below:

  • Search 60 Years Of Everton Data: For the first time ever you can get access to more than 150,000 pedigree files and family group sheets from Evertons. Learn More
  • Sites on USGenweb: [ Wayne County ] [ Michigan ] [ Main Page ]
  • Search the Family Tree DNA Project- Use DNA testing to break through your genealogical barriers!
  • The Michigan Family Group Sheet Project
  • Wayne County MIGenWeb Archives
  • [GenForum Message Boards] [Rootsweb Message Boards]
  • Genealogy Encyclopedia: General Abbreviations, Early Illnesses, Nickname Meanings, Worldwide Epidemics, Early Occupations, Common Terms, Censuses Explained, Free Genealogical Forms
  • Nichols and Related Families of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virgina.
  • Michigan Family & Local History Records - The Family & Local Histories Collection lets you read journals, memoirs, and other first-hand historical narratives right on your computer. Gathered from some of the world's finest libraries, these materials may provide hard-to-find town, county, and state information; tax records and wills; military, church, and court records; as well as photographs, stories, and maps.
  • Genealogical Document Search and Retrieval Service
  • Wayne County, Michigan Family Books at Amazon.com

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County History

Wayne County was established in 1796, as a key unit of the Northwest Territories. At its founding, the County's borders stretched from the County seat in Detroit, to encompass almost all of Michigan, as well as northern Indiana, the eastern edge of Illinois [including what is now the city of Chicago], and a small wedge of Wisconsin.

As more of these areas were settled, the County was whittled down to its present size of 622 square miles, situated along Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in southeast Michigan.

The County was named for Major General Anthony Wayne [1745-1796]. "Mad Anthony" Wayne was a Revolutionary War hero, who in the 1790's, led an expedition of American soldiers to victory over Native American tribes and British troops at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. His victory established a lasting peace in the region. As a result, numerous locations in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana are named in his honor.
There had been settlers in the area since Detroit was founded by French explorers in 1701. It's position along the Detroit River, which is actually a narrow strait in the Great Lakes chain, made it a key point for military and commercial use. By 1796, settlers had branched out into surrounding territory to establish farms in what we call today, the Wayne County suburbs.

Farming, lumber and small industry dominated the local economy until the end of the 19th century. Wayne County saw it's period of greatest growth in the first half of the 20th Century, when the automobile industry roared to life. Each of the "Big Three" American car companies was born in Wayne County; General Motors in Detroit, Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, and Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park.

From the factories lining the Rouge River and the Detroit River, to the baronial lakefront estates of automobile executives in the Grosse Pointe communities, the growth of the auto industry fueled the growth of Wayne County.

Today, the auto industry continues to play a key role in Wayne County, but the economy has diversified to include world-class companies devoted to engineering, banking, health care, even plumbing fixtures and pizza.

INTERESTING MICHIGAN FACTS:

  • Although Michigan is often called the "Wolverine State" there are no longer any wolverines in Michigan
  • The oldest county [based on date of incorporation] is Wayne County, in 1815
  • The Detroit Zoo was the first zoo in America to feature cageless, open-exhibits that allowed the animals more freedom to roam
  • The first state police radio system in the world was established in 1929 by the Michigan State Police
  • Singing sand can be found on the beaches of Grand Haven - The sand particles make a whistling sound as you walk upon them
  • Michigan ranks first in state boat registrations.
    The Great Lakes account for one-fifth of the world's surface freshwater supply
  • The first soda pop made in the U.S., Vernor's ginger ale, was created by accident in 1866 in Detroit
  • Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office - The J.W. Westcott II is the only boat in the world that delivers mail to ships while they are still underway - They have been operating for 125 years

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