Genealogy Trails History Group

Wayne County Illinois Trails

History and Genealogy

Volunteers Dedicated to Free Genealogy

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Our goal is to help you track your ancestors through time
by transcribing genealogical and historical data for FREE USE of all researchers.

~ County Volunteer Host ~

My name is Simone Myers and it is my pleasure to be your Wayne County Illinois Volunteer Host!  My family's roots run deep in Wayne County history so taking on this project is a labor of love for me.  Although I don't currently live there, it is where I spent much of my childhood, today my Great-Great Granny Farris' farm land is still owned by members of my direct family and I visit as often as I am able to.

A few of my family surnames include:
Farris, Trotter, Shelton, Holman, Orr, Walker, Hoffee, and Marvel.
I am always happy to share what I have learned, but I am unable to take on any individual research projects.

My mission for this site is to provide the most complete as possible picture of all things that is Wayne County History and her people for us now and generations to come.  But, I NEED YOU to help make this a reality, your contributions no matter how big or small are wanted and appreciated.

The types of data we are looking for include obituaries, biographies, bible records, news articles, wills, birth & death records, cemetery listings, marriage & divorce records, census records, military records, even personal memories, letters, photos, historical accounts, basically anything and everything that is Wayne County Illinois.

If you are unable to transcribe something yourself, no worries, send me a scan of it or even just snap picture with your cell phone or digital camera and email that to me, and I'll take care of transcribing it.

~ Wayne County Illinois Overview ~

Wayne County was formed out of Edwards County on March 16, 1819, only three months after the Illinois Territory entered the Union becoming the 21st State on December 3, 1818.  Wayne is one of fifteen counties in the United States to be named after General Anthony Wayne "Mad Anthony" an officer in the Revolutionary War and Northwest Indian War.

 The northern county boundary line shifted slightly until Wayne was reduced to its final size in 1824 of a 715 square mile area containing a portion of the Little Wabash River, which branches off from the Wabash River, a significant waterway feeding into the Ohio River.  Wayne County is located in the southeastern portion of the state and in part of an area known as "Little Egypt", which historically is defined as the southern potion of Illinois below State Route 50.

The 1820 federal census was the first to include Wayne County with a population of 1,114.  The population at the 2010 federal census was 16,760.  The county is divided into 20 townships with several unincorporated communities, 9 villages, and 1 city - Fairfield, which has been the county seat since its formation.

Wayne County Townships
Arrington - Barnhill - Bedford - Berry - Big Mound - Elm River - Four Mile - Garden Hill - Grover - Hickory Hill - Indian Prairie - Jasper - Keith - Lamard - Leech - Massilon - Mount Erie - Orchard - Orel - Zif.

Wayne County Villages
Cisne - Golden Gate - Geff (Jeffersonville) - Johnsonville - Keenes - Mill Shoals - Mount Erie - Sims - Wayne City

Predominantly a rural agricultural area, the county sits in the middle of the Illinois Basin - an area rich in coal, petroleum, and natural gas, as such, Wayne County among much of southern Illinois benefited from the "oil boom" of the 1930s to 1950s.  Today Wayne's landscape is still punctuated with oil tanks and pumps.

Wayne County Illinois is also the birthplace and home of the notorious Shelton Brothers Gang, bootleggers dubbed as "America's Bloodiest Gang" that operated from the 1920s to 1940s.

 On November 17, 1886 the records of the county took a devastating blow when as reported in the Wayne County Press Newspaper "the brick building containing the county's offices was found to be on fire."  Today a book published in 1884 titled "History of Wayne & Clay Counties, Illinois" serves as an invaluable resource to fill in the gap left by that fire.  The book is no longer protected under copyright and a digital copy of the original is available via with transcribed experts included here on our website.

[sources: Personal Knowledge, Wayne County Press, U.S. Census, Wikipedia]

~ Online Data ~

Biographies Birth Records
Cemeteries Census
Church Histories & Records Histories
Death Records Directories
Marriages Military Records
Miscellaneous Data Newspaper Gleanings
Obituaries Poor House Records
School Records Wills/Probate Records

~ Website Updates ~

2015 September:
New Death Records section pages, includes 7 new mortuary newspaper notices from 1836-1910. About 50 new obituaries from 1880-1890 and 1910-1914. The 1886-1910 Wayne County Death Records, alphabetized by Surname, the -W- page is loaded consisting of about 140 names.  A new home page in the new site layout design.

2015 June:
Added a Directories Index Page and transcription of the 1910 Standard Atlas of Wayne County Patrons Directory of about 250 names with occupations, place & date of birth, residence, wife's maiden name, military service, and when arrived in Wayne County.

2015 May:
New county volunteer host, Simone Myers
Transcription of the 1912 History of Southern Illinois, Wayne County

2015 January:
Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1855-1875
Divorce notices

2014 December:
Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1855-1875
Divorce notices

2014 November:

Many new marriage announcements and obituaries from 1864-68.

2014 September:
1891 Gossip News
2013 October:

~ Get Involved ~

We at would very much like to make you a part of this project.
If you have information that you'd like to share about ANY town, family, county or subject.
 Please sent it to us and we'll make sure it gets posted to the right county.
Email to > I HAVE DATA

If you are interested in becoming a host or offering your help in other ways,
more information can be found on the Volunteer Page.

If you would like to be kept informed of our state and county website updates,
subscribe to any of all of our Mailing Lists

We regret that we are unable to perform personal research for folks.  All data we come across will be added to this site.  We thank you for visiting and hope you'll come back again to view the updates we make to this site.

Surrounding Counties:
{Clay} {Edwards} {Jefferson} {Hamilton} {Richland} {White} {Fayette} {Marion}

{Wayne County} {Illinois State Site} {}

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