If you have ancestors who lived in 20th century Ohio, visiting the Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 record collection should be one of the first collections you search. This record collection is # 7 in our list of the top 10 most searched record collections on FamilySearch.org. It’s an invaluable source of vital information for anyone who died in Ohio between 1908 and 1953.
The Ohio Death records, 1908–1953 found at Familysearch.org provides a wealth of genealogical information. Free name indexes and images are available on the Family Search Historical Records page. Records include information such as:
- 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
- Burial information
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.
The accuracy of the information found in these records depends on the reliability of the informant, which in many cases, was a family member. These death records provide some of the most accessible and useful information for anyone doing Ohio research during this time period.
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