Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy

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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.
Created December 26, 1822[1]
Parent County Cuyahoga, Huron, and Medina[2]
County Seat Elyria
Address 225 Court St

Elyria, OH 44035

Website: www.loraincounty.us
Named for: Lorraine in France[3]
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 places. 

County Courthouse


Parent County

Lorain County was created 26 December 1822 from parts of Cuyahoga, Huron, and Medina Counties and organized 21 January 1824 with its county seat in Elyria. Its name was suggested by Heman Ely, the founder of Elyria, due to his fondness for the province of Lorraine, France, though the name was shortened and Anglicized.[4]

Boundary Changes

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.


Populated Places


All of the original townships in the county according to its present boundaries are listed below, along with their current name and/or the incorporated municipality that absorbed them in parenthesis.  Townships that are completely absorbed are now defunct.  These township names are still used in county land records.

  • Amherst (partially absorbed by part of the city of Amherst and the village of South Amherst)
    Includes locality of Whiskeyville.
  • Avon (completely absorbed by the cities of Avon and Avon Lake)
  • Black River (completely absorbed as part of the city of Lorain)
    Includes locality of Beaver Park.
  • Brighton
    Includes locality of Brighton.
  • Brownhelm (partially absorbed by parts of the cities of Lorain and Vermilion)
    Includes localities of Brownhelm and Brownhelm Station.
  • Camden (partially absorbed by the village of Kipton)
    Includes locality of Camden.
  • Carlisle (partially absorbed by part of the city of Elyria)
    Includes locality of LaPorte.
  • Columbia
    Includes localities of Beebetown, Columbia Center, Columbia Hills Corners, and Columbia Station.
  • Eaton (partially absorbed by part of the city of Elyria and part of the village of Grafton)
    Includes localities of Eaton, Eaton Estates, and North Eaton.
  • Elyria (partially absorbed by part of the city of Elyria)
    Includes locality of Vincent.
  • Grafton (partially absorbed by part of the village of Grafton)
    Includes localities of Belden and Erhart.
  • Henrietta
    Includes locality of Henrietta.
  • Huntington
    Includes locality of Huntington.
  • LaGrange (partially absorbed by the village of LaGrange)
  • Penfield
    Includes locality of Penfield.
  • Pittsfield (partially absorbed by part of the city of Oberlin)
    Includes locality of Pittsfield.
  • Ridgeville (completely absorbed by the city of North Ridgeville)
    Includes locality of Fields.
  • Rochester (partially absorbed by the village of Rochester)
    Includes localities of Bakers Crossing, Rochester Center, and Semples.
  • Russia (renamed to New Russia, partially absorbed by part of the city of Oberlin)
  • Sheffield (partially absorbed by parts of the city of Lorain, the entirety of the city of Sheffield Lake, and the village of Sheffield)
    Includes locality of Vincent.
  • Wellington (partially concurrent with exempted village of Wellington)

Neighboring Counties



  • Cemetery Inscriptions of Lorain County, Ohio (1980) compiled by Genealogical Workshop of the Lorain County Historical Society.  Available broken down by cemetery from the Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society.  Comprehensive listing of gravesites and records for public cemeteries all over the county, from the arrival of the earliest settlers from the East on up to 1980. Contains valuable shortcut to finding information that may no longer be legible on original stones.


  • 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.



Land records are available from the County Recorder only at the Lorain County Administration Building, 226 Middle Ave First Floor, Elyria, OH  44035. Hours: M-F 8am-4:30pm. Phone: +1 (440) 329-5148.

Local Histories



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.


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.




Vital Records


Marriage records from 1824 to present are available at the Lorain County Probate Court, 226 Middle Ave, Administration Bldg, 4th floor, Elyria, Ohio 44035. (440) 322-6367.

  • Staats, Chris. "Finding Lorain County Marriage Records Using the “Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958″ Database." Weblog post. Staats Place. 22 Dec. 20190. Web. <http://www.staatsofohio.com/?p=1098>

Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953 Free name indexes and images at FamilySearch – Pilot. 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.

 Lorain County Probate Court Index Index of marriage records from about 1930 onwards (no dates until the late 1990s), probate birth records, and estate file numbers from the mid-20th century onwards.

 Lorain County Records Retention Center PDF scans of probate court birth and death records from 1867-1908.

 Lorain County Court of Common Pleas Searchable index useful in finding divorce records from the mid-1980s onwards.

Lorain County Probate Court Early Birth and Death Records Actual scanned images of original Court records, 1867-1908.

Societies and Libraries

Historical Societies

Public Libraries

  • Elyria Public Library System
    • Central Library, 320 Washington Ave, Elyria, Ohio 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 323-5747. Fax: +1 (440) 323-5788. Hours: M-R 10am-7pm, F-Sat 12pm-4pm, Sun 1pm-5pm.  Includes the Ohio Room, which 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.
    • West River Library, 1194 West River Rd N, Elyria, Ohio 44035. Phone: +1 (440) 324-2270. Fax: +1 (440) 324-4766. Hours: M-R 10am-7pm, F-Sat 12pm-4pm, Sun 1pm-5pm.
    • North Branch Library, Lorain County Community College, 1005 N Abbe Rd, Elyria, Ohio  44035.  Phone: +1 (440) 366-4919.  Fax: +1 (440) 366-4670.  Hours:  M-F 8:30am-5pm.
    • South Branch Library, 1215 Middle Ave, Elyria, Ohio  44035.  Phone: +1 (440) 323-7519.  Hours: M, R 11am-5pm, T, W, F 9am-3pm.
    • Keystone-LaGrange Library, 101 West St, LaGrange, Ohio  44050.  Phone: +1 (440) 355-6323.  Hours:  M, R 1pm-8pm, T-W, F-Sat 10am-5:30pm.
  • 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-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun Oct-Apr 1pm-5pm.
  • Oberlin Library

College Libraries

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. User-contributed birth, death, marriage, and court records, as well as obituaries.

Reference Books


  1. George Frederick Wright, 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 (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916), 68.
  2. George Frederick Wright, 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 (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916), 68.
  3. Harriet Taylor Upton, History of the Western Reserve, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1910), 59, 247.
  4. Harriet Taylor Upton, History of the Western Reserve, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1910), 59, 224, 247.