FamilySearch’s Top 10 Most Searched Record Collections: Collection 7—Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953

February 26, 2015  - by 

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 It’s an invaluable source of vital information for anyone who died in Ohio between 1908 and 1953.

The Ohio Death records, 19081953 found at 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
  • Occupation
  • 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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  1. Cannot find any records for Bridget Shaughnessy arrived in New York 6th of Sepr 1926 heading for Philadelphia PA

  2. I have been searching for the past few years (about five) for information on my dad’s birth parents and haven’t had any luck in finding their names in any of the Ohio records. All I know is that the father’s name is Nick Costelnic, born in Austria (before 1890), and that he was a tailor in Youngstown, Ohio, and that he died at the age of 36 of consumption, and the mother’s name was Terrsy or Trese Costelnic (married name) and that she was born in Slovakia in about 1888, and died in (I believe) Youngstown, Ohio after 1930, and had a different married name after Nick costelnic died; they had three kids, Joseph, born November 1907, Anna, born September 1909, and John, (my dad), born July 27, 1911. The mother brought the kids to Wyoming, and because she was working to support herself and the kids, the kids were left alone, and were taken away from her and placed in foster homes. My dad was the only one of the three to be adopted, by a couple whose last name was Nazer. I have no idea who Nick and Terrsy or Trese’s parents names were, or a year of death for either of them.