Difference between revisions of "Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy"

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==== Newspapers  ====
==== Newspapers  ====
[http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/titles/places/ohio/Lorain/ Chronicling America:  Historic American Newspapers] at the Library of Congress lists a plethora of local newspaper titles along with libraries and historical societies which retain archives of them.  Please note that their listings are extensive, but not comprehensive, as local libraries may retain archives which are not listed.  
[http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/titles/places/ohio/Lorain/ Chronicling America:  Historic American Newspapers] at the Library of Congress lists a plethora of local newspaper titles along with libraries and historical societies which retain archives of them.  Please note that their listings are extensive, but not comprehensive, as local libraries may retain archives which are not listed.  

Revision as of 20:06, 29 April 2013

Guide to Lorain County Ohio genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Hand and keyboard.jpg Ohio
Online Records

Coordinates: 41.47°0′N 82.15°0′W / 41.47°N 82.15°W / 41.47; -82.15

Lorain County, Ohio
Map of Ohio highlighting Lorain County
Location in the state of Ohio
Map of the U.S. highlighting Ohio
Location of Ohio in the U.S.
Lorain County, Ohio Courthouse.jpg
Address Lorain County Courthouse
308 2nd St.
Elyria, OH 44035-5506
Lorain County Website
United StatesGotoarrow.png Ohio Gotoarrow.png Lorain County

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records

*For earlier dates, try... Church | Obituaries | Cemeteries
  • Parent Counties: Formed from Cuyahoga, Huron, and Medina Counties 26 December 1822.[1]
  • County Seat: Elyria
  • Neighboring Counties: Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy residents may also have records in [2]Ashland (south) · Cuyahoga (east) · Medina (southeast) · Huron and Erie (west)

Boundary Changes [3]

On 4 July 1805, all lands of the Connecticut Western Reserve from the original Treaty of Greenville line (the Cuyahoga River, Tuscarawas River, and the portage between them) to 120 miles west of the Pennsylvania line between the 41st Parallel and Lake Erie, were purchased from local Indian tribes in the Treaty of Fort Industry, opening the lands of Lorain County to white settlement.

Townships in the Western Reserve were supposed to be surveyed to be five miles square, however, mistakes were made in surveying the line between the lands belonging to the Connecticut Land Company (ending in Range 19) and the Firelands (beginning in Range 20), causing townships in Range 19, which became the western townships of Lorain County (Troy, Rochester, Brighton, Camden, Henrietta, and Brownhelm) to be much narrower. These townships were set aside as "surplus lands" and used to equalize the amounts of land received by stakeholders in the Connecticut Land Company.

  • N2Geneaology.com has an interactive map showing the development of county borders throughout Ohio.
  • All lands in what is now Lorain County were at first part of Trumbull County.
  • 1807 - Geauga County created, with the townships of Columbia, Eaton, Ridgeville, Troy (now Avon), Carlisle, Elyria, Sheffield, Russia, Amherst, Black River, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, as part; the others remaining with Trumbull County.
  • 1808 - Portage County created, receiving the townships previously attached to Trumbull County, namely Grafton, Penfield, LaGrange, Huntington, Wellington, Pittsfield, Rochester, Brighton, and Camden.
  • 1810 - Cuyahoga County receives all of the northern townships previously attached to Geauga County.
  • 1811 - Huron County received the townships of Carlisle, Elyria, Russia, Amherst, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, along with the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying west of the Black River. All of Huron County was attached to Cuyahoga County until it was organized in 1815.
  • 1812 - Medina County created, receiving the townships previously attached to Portage County. All of Medina County was attached to Portage County until it was organized in 1818.
File:Downloaded322806814418006116 historyoflorainc00phil 0018.jpg
Downloaded322806814418006116 historyoflorainc00phil 0018.jpg
  • 1822 - Lorain County was formed and took in parts of:
    • Huron County: the townships of Carlisle, Elyria, Russia, Amherst, Henrietta, and Brownhelm, along with the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying west of the Black River.
    • Cuyahoga County: the townships of Troy (now Avon), Ridgeville, Eaton, and Columbia, along with the western half of Lenox Township (now Olmsted) and the parts of Black River and Sheffield Townships lying east of the Black River.
    • Medina County: the townships of LaGrange, Wellington, Pittsfield, Brighton, and Camden.
Until the county government was organized in 1824, its parts remained attached to their former jurisdictions.
  • 1827 - Lorain County received the townships of Grafton, Homer, Penfield, Spencer, Sullivan, Huntington, Troy, and Rochester, while the western half of Lenox Township (now Olmsted) was added back to Cuyahoga County. Its northern boundary was set in the middle of Lake Erie along the international boundary with Canada.
  • 1840 - Summit County created, with the townships of Homer and Spencer added back into Medina County to compensate.
  • 1846 - Ashland County created, which received the townships of Sullivan and Troy.

Record Loss

  • 1890 United States Census. 1890 Federal Population Schedules for Lorain County and most of Ohio were completely destroyed by a fire in the Commerce Department Building in 10 January 1921 and by government bureaucrats in 1934. The Special Schedules Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows in Ohio do survive, however.


Bible Records


Business Records and Commerce


  • Cemetery Inscriptions of Lorain County, Ohio (Elyria, OH: Genealogical Workshop of the Lorain County Historical Society, 1980). Comprehensive listing of grave sites and records for public cemeteries all over the county, from the arrival of the earliest settlers from the East on up to 1980. Valuable shortcut to finding information that may no longer be legible on original stones. Available on the Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society website and from local libraries.

Individual cemeteries:

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


Billion Graves

Billion Graves


Ohio Gravestones

Names in Stone

See Ohio Cemeteries for more information.


Church Records

  • Pittsfield Community Church Originally two churches, the Pittsfield Methodist Church, formed in 1824, and the Pittsfield Congregational Church, formed in 1836 (and originally organized as the Evangelical Union Church of Christ), which built permanent structures in 1845 and 1846, respectively. Both buildings were destroyed in the Pittsfield Tornado of 1965, at which point both churches elected to combine into the Pittsfield United Church of Christ, which rebuilt by 1966. The church became independent and was renamed Pittsfield Community Church in 1997.
Finding More Church Records

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

Court Records

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups




  • History of the Western Reserve, Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 by Harriet Taylor Upton (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1910).
  • A Standard History of Lorain County, Ohio: An Authentic Narrative of the Past, with Particular Attention to the Modern Era in the Commercial, Industrial, Civic and Social Development. A Chronicle of the People, with Family Lineage and Memoirs, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by George Frederick Wright (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916).
  • The Early History of Lorain County: Historical Address by W.W. Boynton (Cleveland, Ohio: Western Reserve Historical Society, 1876).
  • History of Lorain County, Ohio: With Illustrations & Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers (Philadelphia: Williams Brothers, 1879).

Land and Property

  • Lorain County Recorder, Administration Building, 226 Middle Ave, First Floor, Elyria, OH 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 329-5148. Hours: M-F 8am-4:30pm. Maintains official county land records, among other documents, going back to the county's beginning. A searchable index, along with certain document images, is available for documents beginning in the late-1980s/early-1990s to present through their website, or in the Recorder's Office.



Civil War

Civil War service men from Lorain 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 Lorain County.

Naturalization and Citizenship


Lorain 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. Chronicling America:  Historic American Newspapers at the Library of Congress lists a plethora of local newspaper titles along with libraries and historical societies which retain archives of them.  Please note that their listings are extensive, but not comprehensive, as local libraries may retain archives which are not listed.

Daily newspapers have been published since the 1800s in Elyria and Lorain.  Elyria newspapers often published information and announcements relevant to the entire county (being that Elyria is the county seat) with much focus on areas in the central and southern parts of the county, including at times western Cuyahoga and Medina Counties, eastern Erie and Huron Counties and northern Ashland County.  Lorain newspapers usually focused on the lakeshore communities.  Information published in both cities often includes births and deaths, marriages and divorces, hospital discharges, legal notices, court filings, land transfers, and personal news (for example, "Mr. John Smith and family from Wellington spent the day with his mother-in-law, Mrs. Wm. Whitney in LaGrange on Saturday.").

Daily newspapers in Cleveland also cover news and events in Lorain County, including obituaries.

  • NewspaperARCHIVE contains an extensive number of newspaper issues from both Elyria and Lorain, which are browseable and searchable, although not every issue of each newspaper is available (a fee is required, however it is availabe free of charge if accessed from this Elyria Public Library web page); their archives are also available with membership at Ancestry.com.
  • Microfilm and original archives are kept at local libraries.

Weekly community newspapers have been published for over 100 years in Amherst, Oberlin, and Wellington.  More recently, The Sun Sentinel covers Avon, Avon Lake, and North Ridgeville.




  • Lorain County Probate Court, Justice Center, 225 Court Street, 6th Floor, Elyria, OH 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 329-5175. Fax: +1 (440) 244-6261. Holds marriage and probate records from 1824 to present, along with countywide birth and death records from 1867 to 1908.
  • Lorain County Probate On-line Records Search contains all probate related records, including marriages, since 1990. The search also includes marriage records (bride's and groom's names only) back to about 1930.

Public Records



Lorain County Courthouse
226 Middle Avenue;
Elyria, OH 44035;
Phone: 440.329.5428 

Probate Judge has birth, marriage and probate records;
Clerk Court has divorce records from 1850 and court
records from 1824; County Recorder has land records;
Elyria Public Library and Loraina County Historical Society
have books of genealogical interest[1]

Lorain County is located in Northeast Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie just west of Cleveland.  It has long been home to great agriculture and industry, though both have declined due to suburban sprawl spilling out of Cuyahoga County, and the emigration of manufacturing jobs to other regions. Although the county was created in 1822, records were not kept by it until the county government was organized and began to function in 1824

Family History Centers
  • The Ohio Room at the Elyria Public Library System Central Library, 320 Washington Ave, Elyria, Ohio 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 323-5747. Fax: +1 (440) 323-5788. M-R 10am-7pm, F-Sa 12pm-4pm, Su 1pm-5pm. contains an extensive collection of local history and genealogy books, atlases, maps, obituary indexes, city directories, and high school yearbooks; also included are microfilm archives of county newspapers beginning in 1832, the United States Census for local counties, and Lorain County Probate Court birth, death, and marriage records and indexes.
  • Lorain Public Library System
  • Cleveland Public Library
  • Herrick Memorial Library, 101 Willard Memorial Square, Wellington, Ohio  44090.  Phone: +1 (440) 647-2120. Hours: M-R 9am-8:30pm, F-Sa 9am-5pm, Su Oct-Apr 1pm-5pm.


Finding More Tax Records

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

Vital Records

  • The probate court in Lorain County began keeping birth and death records when required by state law in 1867. Birth and death certificates have been recorded as of 20 December 1908

(FamilySearch). Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. "Finding Lorain County Marriage Records Using the 'Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958' database" is a blog article by Chris Staats that offers helpful tips for locating marriage records when visiting the probate court



Civil Records

Beginning Dates for Lorain County Records
Birth  Marriage  Death  Census  Land  Probate  Court

See also: Ohio Vital Records 

Official birth and death certificates are available from: 



  1. 1.0 1.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002]. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "HBG" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Lorain County, Ohio" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorain_County,_Ohio (accessed 10 May 2012).
  3. George Frederick Wright, A Standard History of Lorain County, Ohio, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916), 62-9.