Ohio Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 .
This Collection will include records from 1908 to 1953.
Pre-1908 county death records were entered into register books with multiple entries to a page. These records were replaced in 1908 by certificates that were created in counties and sent to the State Department of Health. Copies in the counties are bound books containing forms that are printed front and back and contain two certificates to a page. The information is handwritten or typed.
The certificates are arranged sequentially by number. Before being arranged numerically, they were arranged by year and month and then by county within each month and by registration district for heavily populated counties. The records are not always in strict date order for a district or county.
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Counties in Ohio generally began creating death records in 1867, when Ohio passed a law requiring the recording of deaths. Physicians and undertakers in cities and townships recorded death records and sent them to the county probate court. On 20 December 1908, the state took over the responsibility of recording deaths. You can find records of deaths that occurred from 1867 through 1908 in the probate court of each county. Most counties, also maintain copies of death certificates from 1908 to the present.
For a list of records by years currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- Department of Health. Ohio Certificates of Death. Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.
Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout Ohio.
Death entries include the following genealogical information:
- Name of deceased
- Date and place of death including city, county and state
- Residence of deceased; sometimes, a former residence
- Gender and age of deceased in years, months, and days
- Date and place of birth
- Marital status, race and occupation of deceased
- Spouse's name, if married
- Father's name and birthplace
- Mother's maiden name and birthplace
- Cause of death
- Name of informant, often a son, daughter or other family member
- How long at current residence or length of time in United States
- Burial information
How to Use the Records
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to deaths make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The place where the death occurred
- The name of the person at the time of death
- The approximate death date
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestor in the death records. Compare the information in the death record to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
- The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the deceased who may have died or been buried in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
Keep in mind:
- The information in these records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
Deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. They were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates.
The information recorded about the death is usually reliable, including the cause of death, the name of the attending physician or medical professional, the name and address of the funeral home, and the date and place of burial. The accuracy of other information depends on the reliability of the informant, often a family member.
- Ohio Online Death Certificate Index
- Online Ohio Death Records & Indexes
- Ohio Death Certificates Available for purchase
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953". index and digital images, FamilySearch (): accessed 21 March 2012). entry for James Lee Eaton, death date 11 August 1943, Butler County; Ohio Health Record, Columbus, Ohio, certificate no. 48242, Family History Library, Salt Lake City.