Ohio County Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
The counties of Ohio have kept death records from 1867 to the present.
Counties in Ohio generally began keeping death records in 1867, when the state required all deaths to be recorded. Physicians and undertakers in cities and townships sent the death records to the county probate court. On December 20, 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, if not all counties, also have kept copies of death certificates from 1908 to the present. Most deaths were recorded because of the legal requirement for registration.
Why the Record Was Created
Ohio counties began recording deaths to track public health issues.
The information recorded about the death is usually reliable, including the death date and residence. The accuracy of other information depends on the reliability and the memory of the informant, who was often a family member. There was always a chance that the information given was incorrect or that it was recorded incorrectly.
Before 1908 county death records were recorded in register books, with multiple entries on a page. Then in 1908, these records were replaced by certificates that were created by the counties and then sent to the state Department of Health. The copies held by the counties are in bound books, with two certificates on a page, and printed front and back. The certificates may have been either handwritten or typed. Death records are generally well preserved, but fire may have destroyed some records.
County death entries include the following genealogical information:
- Death date
- Residence, including township, county, and state
- Birthplace (sometimes included)
- Name (maiden name was sometimes included for married women)
- Parents’ names (sometimes included)
- Cause of death
- Marital status
- Name of the informant
How To Use the Record
County death records are the best source prior to 1908 of death information. When provided, use birth date and birth place information of the deceased to find earlier records of the deceased and his or her family. Use the names of parents, the place of residence, occupation, and marital status of the deceased as clues to find other records. The informant could be a child, parent, or spouse of the deceased.
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Sources of This Collection
Ohio, Probate Court ([County Name]). Death records, [date range]. From URL, date accessed or downloaded. Digital reference number, name of person, event place (if any), death date. Example: Ohio, Probate Court (Harrison County). Death records, 1867-1941. From FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org), Feburary 9, 2007. Elizabeth Essick, died 1 Dec 1879.
Ohio, Probate Court ([County Name]). Birth and death records, [date range]. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, [filming dates]. Microfilm number, page number, entry number (if any), name of person, event place (if any), death date.
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