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Ohio: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Vital Records

Based on the date of the vital event (birth, death, marriage, divorce), determine whether you are seeking a state, territory, county, or parish level record. If the record you are seeking has been digitized, you can access it online, through the projects described below. If it has not been digitized or if you need a certified copy, contact the appropriate state or county office to view the record.

Timeline of Vital Records

Birth Records
Death Records
  • Country Level: 1803-1867, 1867-1950, 1950 - 
  • State Level: 1908 to present

Note: Counties began record collection as they were formed. Officially, counties were mandated to record births and deaths beginning in 1867. Starting in 1908, state-level vital records were required.

Marriage Records

Note: Marriage licenses began to be recorded by counties as soon as they were created. Contact the Probate Court in each county to get copies. There may be a county index listing names. Marriage licenses are not available from the State Health Department in Columbus, but you may find abstracts or an index. Copies of the actual licenses may be obtained from the Probate Court where the marriage occurred.

Divorce Records
  • State Level: 1803-1851, State Supreme Court, County Supreme Court, County Chancery Court, or County Common Pleas Court.
  • County Level: 1803 to present. County Clerk of Courts.
  • County Level: 1913 to present, County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Court.

Note: Abstracts of Divorces after 1949 may be available at the Ohio Department of Health.

Online Resources for Vital Records

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Using Ancestry Library Edition for Ohio

Begin your search through Ancestry's vast collections, by viewing the list designated as Ohio Records External. These include Ohio birth and death certificates as well as marriage records.

Using FamilySearch for Ohio

FamilySearch provides useful state and county wikis that make excellent starting points for research. The Ohio Wiki External includes links to each of its 88 counties.

FamilySearch has digitized many of its microfilms containing county courthouse records including birth, death, and marriage. Not all records have been indexed yet, so search engine results will NOT show you the full range of FamilySearch data. You must browse the FamilySearch Catalog External listings for each county to view the full set of records available. In addition, search the Images for courthouse documents that have not yet been indexed. The vast amount of accessible original records is well worth your time to explore.

Ohio vital records that have been digitized include:

Obtaining Copies of Vital Records

Contact the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Records to learn more about accessing state-level records and explore additional options for obtaining copies. Copies may be ordered online for a fee.

Original birth certificates for adoptees must be requested from the clerk of the county where the adoption took place. A petition filed with the clerk is then reviewed by a judge, who may also require an interview.

Published Vital Records

Below are selected print publications for statewide vital records. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

To locate additional published materials, go to the Print Resources section of this guide for search tips on locating published county courthouse records, abstracts, and indexes that may aide you in locating original records at the county level.