General Information, Marriage
Marriage records usually began when the county was first formed. In Wayne County, OH, this is 1812. We have marriages in our department from 1812 thru 1951. Marriages from 1812 thru part of 1898 can be found in the book titled, Index to Wayne County, OH Marriages 1813-1898 compiled by Bob and Esther Strock. There is a groom index in the front and a bride index in the back. Information included in the book includes the groom’s name, the bride’s name, date of marriage, and the official performing the wedding ceremony. Also, the volume and page number of the marriage record on microfilm is listed. An earlier version of this book was compiled by Richard Smith. It is called, Seventy-Five Years of Wayne County, Ohio Marriages 1813-1888.
Very little additional information is given on the actual marriage record found on microfilm. Parents’ names were not included until the latter part of 1898. However, if the groom or bride was underage at the time of the marriage, an adult had to sign for him or her. Sometimes this adult may be a father, mother, sibling, or other close family member. The legal age for a man to marry was 21 years. The legal age for a woman to marry was 18 years.
The marriage records for the latter part of 1898 through 1951 can be found on microfilm in our department. In most cases, there is both a groom and bride index in front of each volume. Most volumes cover a span between 3-4 years. From 1898 through about 1901, there is only a groom index. Volunteers are currently in the process of compiling a comprehensive index from 1898 thru 1951.
Marriage records after 1951 may be found at Microfilm Services located at the Administration Building; 428 W. Liberty St.; Wooster, OH 44691.
If the marriage date is known, there may be an article in the local newspaper at the time that may give detailed information about the marriage. Do not overlook this valuable resource.
In recent years, many counties are beginning to put marriage indexes online. Cuyahoga, Stark, Summit, and Wayne Counties are just a few of the local counties of interest that have made an index available online. The years covered vary from county to county. Some recent Wayne County, OH marriages can be found on the Wayne County Clerk of Courts website.
Choose “Court Cases Login” to begin your search.
For early marriage records that occurred in Ohio but the county is unknown, many resources are available to assist in the search. The subscription database Ancestry Library Edition does include Ohio marriages from 1800-1900. This is not comprehensive. Many counties are not included. In book form, there are three different books that may be used.
- Marriages Recorded in Ohio Courts through 1820: an index
- Marriages Recorded in Ohio Courts 1 Jan 1821 through 31 Dec 1830: an index
- Ohio Marriages Extracted from the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly
- Ohio Marriages Recorded in the Ohio Observer, 1827 to 1836
If you know the county in which the individual was married, and if we collect material on that particular area, there is a good possibility we own an index to marriages for that particular county. Some include Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas Counties.
The USGenWeb project is another alternative to finding marriages in other counties and states. This is a volunteer project that was started many years ago. Most counties and states are represented through this project. However, no county has complete records online. You may visit Rootsweb or US Genweb to access these selective records.
General Information, Divorce
There is no index to Wayne County, OH divorces until the early 1900s. Prior to 1843, divorces were recorded in the Supreme Court. From 1843 to 1852, they were recorded in Chancery records. From 1852 to 1894, divorces were recorded in Common Pleas Court records. Between 1894 and 1911, they may have been recorded in either Common Pleas Court or Probate Court. From 1911 to 1914, they were probably recorded in Common Pleas Court unless the county had established a Domestic Relations Court. By 1914, most counties had established a Domestic Relations Court. This is where they remain.
Court records are not the only place to find divorces. Notices of divorces can be found in newspapers. The laws of the time required public notice in “a newspaper of general circulation.” In the early newspapers, they can be found almost anywhere. Our department has a divorce index based on newspaper accounts starting in 1822 and going through 1935.
Although no divorce index for Wayne County, OH currently exists, a few can be found in the book, Ohio Divorces: The Early Years by Carol Willsey Bell. Some counties, such as Medina County, Ohio has published an index to divorces recorded in their county.
Around 1914, Wayne County, Ohio began indexing divorces. The index can be found at the Wayne County Courthouse, Clerk of Courts. However, once the file number is obtained from the courthouse, the researcher will need to go to the Administration Building, Microfilm Services to obtain a copy of the divorce record.
Many counties in Ohio and other states are beginning to include indexes to recent court cases online. Wayne County, OH is no exception. The index for Wayne County, OH can be found through the Clerk of Courts website:
- 5 volumes of anniversaries (newspaper clippings; in alphabetical order by married name)
- Marriages from The Wooster Republican Advocat Newspapers 1837-1838 Wayne County, Ohio