Ohio Probate Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Record Description

The collection consists of probate records and estate files from county courthouses in Ohio. The content and time period varies by county.

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.

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.

Record Content

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 (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death) 

How To Use This Record

Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives. Probate records may contain person’s death date, the names of family members, family relationships, and residences. Use this information to search for information in other records. You may learn about adoptions or guardianship of minor children and dependents. You may have to use probate records as a substitute for civil birth and death records because they exist for an earlier time period.  

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Contributions to this Article

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.


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:

Ohio. County Probate Records. 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.