Ohio County Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
How To Use This Record
County death records are the best source prior to 1908 of death information. When provided, use birth date and birth place information of the deceased to find earlier records of the deceased and his or her family. Use the names of parents, the place of residence, occupation, and marital status of the deceased as clues to find other records. The informant could be a child, parent, or spouse of the deceased.
Why This Record Was Created
Ohio counties began recording deaths to track public health issues.
Counties in Ohio generally began creating death records in 1867, when Ohio passed a law requiring the recording of deaths. Physicians and undertakers in cities and townships recorded death records and sent them to the county probate court. On 20 December 1908, the state took over the responsibility of recording deaths. You can find records of deaths that occurred from 1867 through 1908 in the probate court of each county. Most, if not all counties, also maintain copies of death certificates from 1908 to the present.
Pre-1908 county death records were entered into register books with multiple entries to a page. These records were replaced in 1908 by certificates that were created in counties and sent to the State Department of Health. Copies in the counties are bound books containing forms that are printed front and back and contain two certificates to a page. The information is handwritten or typed.
County death records were kept from 1867 to the present.
Many and probably most deaths in the counties were recorded because of the legal requirement for registration.
Genealogical facts in county death entries are:
- Date of death
- Residence at time of death, including township, county, and state
- Sometimes, birthplace of deceased
- Name of deceased, including sometimes maiden names for married women
- Sometimes the parents' names
- Cause of death
- Occupation of deceased
- Marital status of deceased
- Occupation of deceased
- Name of informant
The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time the death occurred are quite reliable, though there is the chance of misinformation. Other data, such as date and place of birth, have more chance of error due to the lack of knowledge of the informant, transcription errors, and other circumstances.
Ohio, Probate Court ([County Name]). Death records, [date range]. From URL, date accessed or downloaded. Digital reference number, name of person, event place (if any), death date. Example: Ohio, Probate Court (Harrison County). Death records, 1867-1941. From FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org), Feburary 9, 2007. Elizabeth Essick, died 1 Dec 1879.
Ohio, Probate Court ([County Name]). Birth and death records, [date range]. Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, [filming dates]. Microfilm number, page number, entry number (if any), name of person, event place (if any), death date.