Lorain County, Ohio Genealogy

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Template:Ohio-stub United StatesGotoarrow.png Ohio Gotoarrow.png Lorain County

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[1]
County Seat Elyria
Address 225 Court St

Elyria, OH 44035

Website: www.loraincounty.us
Named for: Lorraine in France[2]
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. 


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.[2]

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.

Boundaries prior to county formation

  • 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.

Boundaries after county formation

  • 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.

Civil Records

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

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.

Birth and Death

See also: Ohio 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.

Indexes and records available:

Official birth and death certificates are available from:

Marriage and Divorce



  • 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.



  • 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.


Military Records

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.

Other Records


  • 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:


  • 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.

Ethnic, Political, or Religious Groups


Local Histories and Biographies

  • 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).


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.




Historical Societies

Public Libraries

  • 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.

College Libraries

Family History Centers


  1. 1.0 1.1 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. 2.0 2.1 Harriet Taylor Upton, History of the Western Reserve, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1910), 59, 224, 247.
  3. George Frederick Wright, A Standard History of Lorain County, Ohio, Volume 1 (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916), 62-9.