Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States
Cuyahoga County
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Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files,1813-1932
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States
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Location of Cuyahoga, Ohio
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Location of Ohio
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1813-1932
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of case files to the Probate Dockets from the Cuyahoga County courthouse in Cleveland for the years 1813 to 1932. The files are arranged by docket number and case number. The earliest records are designated Common Plea (before the formation of the Probate Court).

The Probate Dockets began alphabetically, A through P, and changed to numeric listing beginning with 17 (replacing Q, the 17th letter). Docket folders marked with a "C" or "No Docket Specified" are miscellaneous files. ;They contain out of order documents from several dockets. Dockets 62, 69, 80, 87, 94, 105, 110, 111, 112, 115, 120 and 125 in their entirety are not available for public use and were not imaged.

This collection is being published as images become available.

For more information about these records see the section "General Information About These Records" below.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files,1813-1932.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Information found in the probate varies by case and may include any of the following:

  • Name of the testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, or friends
  • Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Dates the documents were written and recorded (used to approximate event dates since a will was usually written near the time of death)
  • Description and value of personal property or land owned by the deceased

Collection Content

Sample Images

Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease. Other cases reflect the variety of issues that were solved in the Probate Court system.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceedings are reliable, but realize that there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members or those who had previously received an inheritance. In some cases, the spouse mentioned in the will was not the parent of the children mentioned. Also, some wills do not name family members.

Probate Dockets contain many different types of cases.

  • Estates - Three types of cases have been indexed as Estate. There may be several estate cases for one individual
1. Probate cases (described under Record Content) (see example 1) Sometimes found are copies of probate cases from other states or localities for previous county residents still owning properties in Cuyahoga County. Also, by treaty, foreign nationals who died within the US required a probate case
2. Land sales of deceased’s properties, indexed under deceased’s name when possible (see example 2)
3. Trusts or continuations of deceased’s properties
  • Minor - establishing guardianship for juveniles of deceased, or as otherwise needed
  • Name Change - Legal name changes, indexed by both the new and the old legal names
  • Assignment - Before Bankruptcy Court was established, trustees were assigned to individuals or companies with financial difficulties
  • Appropriation - Cases of eminent domain for parks, roadways, etc. Only the first defendant has been indexed as cases may have dozens of defendants
  • Consent to Marry - Parent or Guardians permission for underage marriage
  • License to Marry - Clergy license
  • House of Refuge, Industrial Home, Industrial School, Reform Farm, Reform School - assignments of delinquent

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The date of death.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Docket Number
  2. Select the Case Number and Date which takes you to the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record, if you can, to verify the information and to find additional information.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later
  • Use a Probate record to identify adoptions, guardians, heirs and relatives
  • Use a probate record to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate
  • For earlier years, use the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records
  • Use the information found in the record to find church and vital records such as birth, baptism and marriage records
  • Use the information found in the record to find immigration and land records
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in censuses
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family
  • Church Records were kept years before counties began keeping records. They are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, plea se email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Ohio, Cuyahoga County Probate Files, 1813-1932." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Cuyahoga County Archives and Cuyahoga County Courthouse, Cleveland.

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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