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Availability of Vital Records for Wayne County

Research materials at the WCHS Research Library, your best source for the history and genealogy of Wayne County, PA.

Wayne County was established from a portion of Northampton County in 1798. Therefore, Wayne County’s first census was 1800. It is necessary to check Northampton County to find people living in the area prior to that date.

Pike County was established from a portion of Wayne County in 1814. Any available information on individuals before that date would be found in Wayne County.

We have the Wayne County census on microfilm from 1800 to 1930 (except, of course, for 1890) as well as Northampton County for 1790. Census records before 1850 list only the head of the household by name, indicating the others in the household only by age and gender categories.

With a few exceptions, Pennsylvania births and deaths were not officially required to be recorded until 1893. The WCHS library and the Wayne County courthouse have these early county records from 1893 through 1905. From 1906 to the present the records are at the Pennsylvania Bureau of Vital Statistics, PO Box 1528, New Castle, PA 16103. Downloadable forms are available at


Marriage licenses were not required until 1885. The WCHS Research Library has these microfilmed county records from 1885 to 1906. From 1907 to the present the records are at the Wayne County courthouse in Honesdale.

Records prior to the above-mentioned dates might be found among church documents. We have very few church records in our collection and those we have are incomplete. Some churches have preserved early records; many have not. Deeds, wills, divorces and other legal documents are at the Wayne County courthouse. Checking these documents can be included in a paid research request.

A geneology professional can be hired to research any topic, or do courthouse lookups, with results either mailed or emailed to you. See the Professional Research item in our shop for details and how to submit a request.