Ohio County Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Ohio, United States
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Flag of Ohio
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Location of Ohio
Record Description
Record Type Death Records
Collection years 1840-2001
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

Index and images of death records from county courthouses. In some instances we did not have rights to publish images of records included in the index. Most of the records in this collection are death registers created before statewide death certificates in 1908. Death certificates issued by the state are published in the collection called Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.

Collection Content

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. 

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.

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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Death entries include the following 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
  • Occupation
  • Burial information

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the person at the time of death
  • The place where the death occurred
  • The approximate death date

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "County" category
⇒Select the appropriate "Record Type, Year Range, and Volume number or letter" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, plea se email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

"Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing County Clerks, Ohio.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.