Ohio Probate Records
|Links to Probate-related Topics|
Probate encompasses all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, whether there is a will (testate) or not (intestate). Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. These documents are extremely valuable to genealogists and should not be neglected. In many instances, they are the only known source of relevant information such as the decedent’s date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their places of residence. They may also include information about adoption or guardianship of minor children and dependents. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but the death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate. Wills usually mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related. Names of children are given, as well as married names of daughters.
While probate records are one of the most accurate sources of genealogical evidence, they have limitations.
Probate records were kept in all counties from the time of each county's creation. Until the establishment of separate probate courts in 1852, these records were kept in the courts of common pleas. You can obtain copies of these records by writing to the clerk of the appropriate county. For more information see the Ohio County Probate Records page.
Most Ohio probate records are well indexed and are on microfilm or in published format at the Family History Library. The files date from the creation of each county to at least 1900 and sometimes to the 1970s.
An excellent statewide index to the names found in the earliest files is:
- Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index 
Probate records are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under OHIO, [COUNTY] - PROBATE RECORDS.
Some counties in Ohio have probate records online. Using a search engine such as www.google.com enter the name of the county you are interested in and the words “probate records” then press “enter”.
- Bell, Carol Willsey. Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index. Columbus, Ohio: C.W. Bell, 1981. (Family History Library book&amp;nbsp;977.1 P22b,&amp;nbsp; film 1035679, Item 5 or fiche 6051289)