Ohio County records differ extensively from county to county in either quality not to mention quantity. Some have already been very carefully conserved and some have been substantially mistreated and overlooked. Some Ohio records have simply disappeared. For genealogists carrying out research in Ohio there’s no effective replace for an on-site search of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.
Prior to 1867, it is difficult to find birth and death records. After this time, birth and death records were recorded at the probate court office in the county where the event occurred until 1908. Since 1908, event have been recorded at the county’s health department and also with the Vital Records Office in Columbus. If you are looking for a marriage record before 1949, consult the probate court office of the county where the marriage took place.
All deeds from a county, regardless of the year, are held in the county recorders office.
If you are making a request by mail, use the name of the county and “County Courthouse,” and below that list the address. Listed addresses are usually the location of the county government building. Sometimes records are located at a different address. See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.
|County||Date Formed||Parent County||County Seat|
|Adams||1797||Hamilton County||West Union|
|Ashland||1846||Wayne, Richland, Huron, and Lorain Counties||Ashland|
|Ashtabula||1807||Trumbull and Geauga Counties||Jefferson|
|Auglaize||1848||Allen, Mercer, Darke, Hardin, Logan, Shelby, and Van Wert Counties||Wapakoneta|
|Belmont||1801||Jefferson and Washington Counties||St. Clairsville|
|Brown||1818||Adams and Clermont Counties||Georgetown|
|Carroll||1833||Columbiana, Stark, Harrison, Jefferson, and Tuscarawas Counties||Carrollton|
|Champaign||1805||Greene and Franklin Counties||Urbana|
|Clark||1818||Champaign, Madison, and Greene Counties||Springfield|
|Clinton||1810||Highland and Warren Counties||Wilmington|
|Columbiana||1803||Jefferson and Washington Counties||Lisbon|
|Coshocton||1810||Muskingum and Tuscarawas Counties||Coshocton|
|Defiance||1845||Williams, Henry, and Paulding Counties||Defiance|
|Erie||1838||Huron and Sandusky Counties||Sandusky|
|Fairfield||1800||Ross and Washington Counties||Lancaster|
|Fayette||1810||Ross and Highland Counties||Washington Court House|
|Franklin||1803||Ross and Wayne Counties||Columbus|
|Fulton||1850||Lucas, Henry, and Williams Counties||Wauseon|
|Gallia||1803||Washington and Adams Counties||Gallipolis|
|Greene||1803||Hamilton and Ross Counties||Xenia|
|Guernsey||1810||Belmont and Muskingum Counties||Cambridge|
|Hamilton||1790||One of the original counties||Cincinnati|
|Harrison||1813||Jefferson and Tuscarawas Counties||Cadiz|
|Highland||1805||Ross, Adams, and Clermont Counties||Hillsboro|
|Hocking||1818||Athens, Ross, and Fairfield Counties||Logan|
|Holmes||1824||Coshocton, Wayne, and Tuscarawas Counties||Millersburg|
|Huron||1809||Portage and Cuyahoga Counties||Norwalk|
|Jackson||1816||Scioto, Gallia, Athens, and Ross Counties||Jackson|
|Knox||1808||Fairfield County||Mount Vernon|
|Lake||1840||Geauga and Cuyahoga Counties||Painesville|
|Lawrence||1815||Gallia and Scioto Counties||Ironton|
|Lorain||1822||Huron, Cuyahoga, and Medina Counties||Elyria|
|Lucas||1835||Wood, Sandusky, and Huron Counties||Toledo|
|Mahoning||1846||Columbiana and Trumbull Counties||Youngstown|
|Meigs||1819||Gallia and Athens Counties||Pomeroy|
|Monroe||1813||Belmont, Washington, and Guernsey Counties||Woodsfield|
|Montgomery||1803||Hamilton and Wayne Counties||Dayton|
|Morgan||1817||Washington, Guernsey, and Muskingum Counties||McConnelsville|
|Morrow||1848||Knox, Marion, Delaware, and Richland Counties||Mount Gilead|
|Muskingum||1803||Washington and Fairfield Counties||Zanesville|
|Noble||1851||Monroe, Washington, Morgan, and Guernsey Counties||Caldwell|
|Ottawa||1840||Erie, Sandusky, and Lucas Counties||Port Clinton|
|Perry||1818||Washington, Fairfield, and Muskingum Counties||New Lexington|
|Pickaway||1810||Ross, Fairfield, and Franklin Counties||Circleville|
|Pike||1815||Ross, Scioto, and Adams Counties||Waverly|
|Preble||1808||Montgomery and Butler Counties||Eaton|
|Ross||1798||Adams and Washington Counties||Chillicothe|
|Summit||1840||Medina, Portage, and Stark Counties||Akron|
|Trumbull||1800||Jefferson and Wayne Counties||Warren|
|Tuscarawas||1808||Muskingum County||New Philadelphia|
|Union||1820||Delaware, Franklin, Logan, and Madison Counties||Marysville|
|Van Wert||1820||Darke County||Van Wert|
|Vinton||1850||Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, and Ross Counties||McArthur|
|Washington||1788||One of the original counties||Marietta|
|Wayne||1808||From non-county area||Wooster|
|Wood||1820||Refactored from non-county territory||Bowling Green|
|Wyandot||1845||Marion, Crawford, and Hardin Counties||Upper Sandusky|
Ohio Extinct Counties
Ohio contains counties that no longer exist. They were created by the state, provincial, or territorial authorities. Most of these counties were created and disbanded during the Nineteenth century; county borders have adjusted very little since 1900 in the great number of states. These counties should be checked out when doing genealogy and family tree research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or joined with another county.
- Illinois County, Virginia, formed in 1778 and constituted most of present-day Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin; abolished 5 January 1782; territory ceded by Virginia to Congress in March 1784
Ohio Counties with Burned Courthouses
The destruction to Ohio courthouses significantly has a affect on genealogists in each and every way. Not only are these types of historic buildings ripped from each of our lifetimes, so are the documents they kept: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they are lost permanently. Although they happen to have been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn as well. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason why virtually all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. Though, not all records were lost. Many Ohio counties have suffered a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.
Several courthouses are have suffered devastating fires. Fortunately, not all records were destroyed in these fires. Also, keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive list; lesser-known fires or disasters could have occurred. It is best to make the request and not assume that the record has been destroyed. Courthouse fires that may have impacted records include:
- Adams County Courthouse caught fire in 1910, resulting in the loss of most of the will books and other probate files, as well as some other records.
- Belmont County Courthouse, 1980;
- Brown County Courthouse, 1977;
- Champaign County Courthouse, 1948;
- Columbiana County Courthouse, 1976;
- Crawford County Courthouse, 1831;
- Delaware County Courthouse, 1835;
- Fayette County Courthouse, 1828;
- Franklin County Courthouse, 1879;
- Fulton County Courthouse, before 1860;
- Gallia County Courthouse, 1981;
- Hamilton County Courthouse, 1814, 1849, 1884;
- Henry County Courthouse, 1847;
- Licking County Courthouse, Destroyed by fire on 2 April 1875. Records in the Recorder’s, Sheriff’s, Auditors and Treasurer’s offices were saved. The marriage records between 1829-1839 were possibly lost completely in the fire. Some estate records also were burned in the fire. There are gaps in records for this county. Also on 29 Mar 1879 the tower of the New Licking County Courthouse caught fire. No records were destroyed.
- Monroe County Courthouse, 1840, 1867;
- Seneca County Courthouse, 1841;
- Trumbull County Courthouse, 1895.
Researchers should note that some records may have survived in each case. So, it is important to contact the county courthouses first and see which records are still available. Courthouse record keepers may also be able to point researchers to other resources.
Interactive Map of Ohio Counties Formation
An 1875 map of Zanesville is the earliest Sanborn insurance map in Ohio. The map is held by the historical society. Though not a complete inclusive listing, The Newberry Library holds a checklist of Printed Maps of the Middle West to 1800. The Western Reserve Historical Society (see Archives, Libraries, and Societies) holds an additional collection of maps. Sanborn maps can also be found online and on microfilm at academic and community libraries. Some are partial maps and some include the entire state of Ohio.