Ohio Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
The collection consists of probate records and estate files from county courthouses in Ohio. The content and time period varies by county.
Fires have destroyed some Ohio county courthouse records. The following list may be helpful to you:
- Adams County. A courthouse fire in early 1910 destroyed most of the probate records up to that point. Will book abstracts from 1849 to 1860 and some pre-1860 guardianship papers survived.
- Delaware County. A fire in 1835 destroyed most early records. Will records from 1812 survived.
- Hamilton County. The courthouse has had three fires: one in 1814, the second on 9 July 1849, and the third on 30 March 1884. The 1884 fire resulted in the most lost records.
- Licking County. A courthouse fire on 3 April 1875 destroyed many of the early probate court records.
- Champaign County. A courthouse fire in 1948 destroyed the intestate records in the probate court.
- Fulton County. The first courthouse was located in Ottokee. A fire broke out on the night of July 14, 1864, and destroyed many of the early records. It seems that a Judge Barber had made a personal record of the early wills. This old book is referred to as "Barber's Abstracts" and is available at the county records center.
- Henry County. The courthouse was destroyed by fire on 17 April 1847. The court records were destroyed in the fire.
- Seneca County. The courthouse was destroyed by fire on 29 May 1841. Probate records exist from 1828. Some of the records in this county have been reconstructed in part by using other documents such as deeds and early newspaper accounts of individuals’ deaths.
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents. They include the following genealogical information:
- Name of the testator or deceased
- Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, or friends
- Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
- Names of witnesses
- Residence of the testator
- Document and recording dates
How To Use This Record
To begin your search you will need to know:
- The place of residence
- The approximate death or probate date
- The name of the deceased
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s 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 probate records to identify heirs and relatives.
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents.
- Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date.
- Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records since the probates exist for an earlier time period.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.
- Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about land transactions.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; 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 who may have died 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.
- The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1900.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.
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.
General Information About Probate Records
Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease. Probate records are generally well preserved, but some may have been lost in fires or other disasters.
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Contributions to this Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
Citation for This Collection
The following citation explains the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records:
County Probate Clerks throughout Ohio. "Ohio Probate Records 1804-1967." Various county courthouses throughout Ohio.
Information about creating source citations for FamilySearch Historical Collections is listed in the wiki article Help:How to Create Source Citations for FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.
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