Williams County, Ohio Genealogy

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United States
Williams County

Guide to Williams County, Ohio ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


Williams County, Ohio
Boundary map of Williams County, Ohio
Map of the U.S. highlighting Ohio
Location of Ohio in the U.S.
Williams County, Ohio Courthouse.jpg
Address Williams County Courthouse
1 Courthouse Square
Bryan, Ohio 43506
Williams County website

Williams County, Ohio Record Dates

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1867 1824 1867 1824 1824 1824 1820
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1908. General compliance year is unknown.
  • Parent Counties: Formed from Darke County in 1820 (1824).
  • County Seat: Bryan


The county was named for David Williams, one of the captors of John André in the American Revolutionary War. Williams, a militiaman, was born October 21, 1754 at Tarry-town-on-the-Hudson, NY and enlisted in 1775, serving under General Montgomeryown-on-the-Hudson, NY and enlisted in 1775, serving under General Montgomery. It's county seat is Bryan and was founded April 1, 1820. It is located in the Northwest area of the state.[2]

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county: [3]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Neighboring Counties

Fulton County  • Henry County  • Defiance County  • DeKalb County  • Steuben County  • Hillsdale County

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Ohio county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Ohio County Boundary Maps" (1788-1940) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.


Bible Records


Business Records and Commerce


Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories


Family History Library




Names in Stone

USGW Tombstones

Billion Graves

Billion Graves


OHGenWeb Tombstone Photos

Ohio Gravestones

See Ohio Cemeteries for more information.


Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Ohio denominations, view the Ohio Church Records wiki page.

  • 1796–2004 Ohio, Diocese of Toledo, Catholic Parish Records, 1796-2004 at FamilySearch Historical Records – free. This collection includes images of parish registers recording the events of baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage, and death in the Diocese of Toledo (Ohio), Roman Catholic Church. These records are accessed by browsing the images by county. In addition to traditional parish registers, this collection includes miscellaneous cemetery records, Books of the Elect, Professions of Faith, Sick Call registers, etc.

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Williams County, Ohio Church Records in online catalogs like:

Court Records

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups




Local histories are available for Williams County, Ohio Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Ohio Local Histories.

  • Shinn, William Henry, The County of Williams: A History of Williams County, Ohio, from the Earliest Days, (Madison, Wisconsin: Northwestern Historical Assoc., 1905). FHL film 1000350 Item 4
  • Writers' Program (Ohio), Bryan and Williams County, Ohio, (Fort Wayne, Indiana: Allen County Public Library, 1984). FHL book 977.1113/B1 H2b
  • Goodspeed, Weston Arthur, County of Williams, Ohio, Historical and Biographical, (Chicago, Illinois : F.A. Battey, 1882). Digital copy at Google Books FHL book 977.1113 H2g
  • Maynard, Kevin M., Images of America: Williams County, (Chicago, Illinois: Arcadia Publishing, 2008). Digital copy at Google Books

Land and Property

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Ohio Land and Property for additional information about early Ohio land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse and where records are currently housed.

Finding More Land Records

Additional land records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Land and Property Records in online catalogs like:


Hillsdale CountySteuben CountyDeKalb CountyFulton CountyHenry CountyDefiance CountyOH WILLIAMS.PNG
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Civil War

Civil War service men from Williams County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Williams County.

- 100th Regiment, Ohio Infantry, Company C
- 111th Regiment, Ohio Infantry, Company C
World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship


Williams County, Ohio Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, Ohio Genealogical Society chapters, college or university libraries, the Library of Congress, Google News, or the Ohio Historical Society. The Ohio Genealogical Society Obituary Database is another source of newspaper information.

For more Ohio newspaper information see the Newspaper Guides on the wiki page Ohio Newspapers.
Online Newspapers
The Bryan Times 11,650 issues  Jan 23, 1800 - Dec 31, 2007 is online for free through news.google.com/newspapers.
Online Newspaper Abstracts
Newspaper Extracts and Abstracts in Book Form

The Williams County Public Library has an online obit index Website to the local Williams County newspapers. Email them your index information and your snail mail address to obtain a copy of the obit.




Probate records created after 1852 are held by the Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Court. From 1797 or the creation of the county, probate records were held by the Court of Common Pleas. Most counties transferred all records to the Probate Court, but in some circumstances, Court of Common Pleas records should be searched for records prior to 1852. Most records are housed at the Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Courthouse. Some records are on microfilm at the Ohio Genealogical Society and the Family History Library. For more complete information about the location of county probate records see:

  • Carol Willsey Bell, Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index (1981).  Carol Willsey Bell, Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index (Columbus, Ohio: the author, 1981).FamilySearch Books Online - Free online copy.

See the wiki page Ohio Probate Records for information about how to use probate records.

Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.

Record types: Wills, estates, guardianships, naturalizations, marriage, adoption, and birth and death records (1867-1908 only).

Online Probate Records

Finding More Probate Records

Additional probate records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Records in online catalogs like:

Public Records



Williams County Courthouse
107 W Butler Street
Bryan, OH 43506
Phone: 419.636.8253 

County Record Center has birth and death records 1867-1908,
marriage and probate records 1824-1984, divorce and court
records 1824-1977 and naturalization records 1860-1926;
County Health Department has birth and death records from 1909[4]

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory. Put your town name in the top search box.


William County Public Library 107 E. High Street Bryan, OH 43506

Online Genealogy Research Groups


Ohio tax records complement land records and can be used in place of censuses before 1820 or to supplement the years between censuses. Because only persons who owned taxable property were listed, many residents were not included in tax lists. There may also be gaps of several years in the tax records of some counties. For more information see the wiki page Ohio Taxation.

Finding More Tax Records

Additional tax records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Tax Records in online catalogs like:

Vital Records

Vital records consist of birth, death, marriage and divorce records. Although Ohio enacted a statute in 1856 -1857 requiring registration of births, deaths and marriages, many counties did not comply. A second law was written in 1867 but, again, was not always followed. By 1908, the law was more clearly defined and kept. Any existing birth and death records from 1867 through December 19, 1908 are located at the Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Court. The Ohio Department of Health has birth records filed after December 20, 1908 and death records filed after January 1, 1954 while the Ohio Historical Society houses death records from December 20, 1908 through December 31, 1953.

Original marriage records are held at the office of the Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Probate Court with divorce records located with the Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Clerk of Courts.

See also How to order Ohio Vital Records or order vital records electronically online.


Online Birth Indexes and Records

Original Birth Records on Microfilm


Online Marriage Indexes and Records

Original Marriage Records on Microfilm


Online Death Indexes and Records

  • 1840-2001 - Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001 at FamilySearch — index and images
  • 1908-1953 - Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953. Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch. Records include such information as birth date of deceased, city, county, and state of death, name of spouse if married, names of parents, maiden name of mother, name of informant, if deceased was single, married, windowed or divorced, occupation of deceased. Finding More Tax Records

Additional tax records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Williams County, Ohio Genealogy Tax Records in online catalogs like:

Original Death Records on Microfilm




  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Williams County, Ohio. Page 540-547 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 531-533.
  2. Genealogy Trails History Group, “Williams County, Ohio Genealogy and History”, http://genealogytrails.com/ohio/williams/ accessed 2/27/2017.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Williams County, Ohio," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_County,_Ohio, accessed 18 January 2019.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Williams County, Ohio. Page 546 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.