Research in Ohio Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

It is advisable to acquaint oneself with any repository in Ohio that you simply might drop by by speaking to the relevant archive or library before you go.

A lot of, if not all, Ohio repositories have published resources that present its collections and also research policy.

Ohio archives and historical institutions generally have Online websites which provide equivalent details. Some perhaps contain down-loadable resources for some or parts from the collections.

Ohio Archives

  • Ohio Historical Society, Archives-Library Division,  1982 Velma Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211; Telephone: 614-297-2300; The Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library is, by law, the archives for the State of Ohio. As such, we collect, preserve, and make available to the public, documents pertaining to the operation of state and local governments.
  • Archives and Special Collections, Wright State University Library, Dayton, OH 45435-0001; Serves Region 7-west central Ohio.
  • Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0175. Serves Region 2-northwest Ohio.
  • Ohio Network of American History Research Centers; Established in 1970 to aid in the collection, preservation, and accessibility of research materials related to Ohio history, the network is composed of seven institutions -Ohio’s two largest historical societies and five state universities. A central feature of the network is the division of the entire state into seven distinct geographical areas for research. Each center collects county records for its area.
  • Western Reserve Historical Society Library and Archives 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106; 216-721-5722 x 224, FAX 216-721-5702.
  • Ohio Department of Health, [ Birth Records from 1908, Death Records From 1908 ]Vital Statistics, P.O. Box 118 , Columbus, OH 43216-0118 ; Phone: (614) 466-2531; For birth and death records prior to Dec. 20, 1908, contact the Probate Court of the county where the birth occurred. For birth and death records from Dec. 20, 1908, through Dec. 31, 1944, contact The Ohio Historical Society at 1-800-653-6446 or 614-297-2510
  • Ashland University Archives, 401 College Ave, Ashland, OH 44805-3799; Phone: (419) 289-5433
  • Cuyahoga County Archives, 2905 Franklin Blvd NW, Cleveland 44113; (216) 443-7250 
  • Archives of Ohio United Methodism, Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave, Delaware, OH 43015-2370; Phone: (740) 368-3285; The Archives of Ohio United Methodist holds a collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia that documents the history of the East and West Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church and their antecedents. Materials date from 1800 to the present.

Ohio Museums

  • Serpent Mound, 3850 State Route 73, Peebles, OH 45660-9128; Phone: (937) 587-2796

Ohio Libraries

  • Columbus Metropolitan Library, Genealogy Division, 96 S. Grant Ave., Columbus, OH 43215. 614-645-2ASK (2275); The Genealogy Division holds microfilm; printed, typescript, and manuscript collections, including family and local histories; atlases; cemetery records; city directories; military records; censuses and census indexes; and transcribed records provided by the Ohio chapters of the DAR.
  • Archives and Special Collections Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701-2978. Serves Region 5-southeast Ohio.
  • Bierce Library, University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-1750. Serves Region 1-east central Ohio
  • Blegen Library, University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 45221-0113 ; Serves Region 3-southwest Ohio.

Ohio Periodicals

Genealogical publications make available many sources of facts, they can be ignored by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in researching for family history. A good number of regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies issue periodicals which have records relating to the region or area they support. Quite often these publications offer articles pertaining to records that are not readily available elsewhere.

  • Ohio History (aka Ohio Archaeological or Historical Quarterly and Ohio Historical Quarterly) – Ohio Historical Society since 1887.
  • The Report – Ohio Genealogical Society
  • Ohio Records and Pioneer Families – Ohio Genealogical Society
  • Civil War Genealogy Journal – Ohio Genealogical Society
  • Ohio Genealogical Periodical Index: A County Guide by Carol Willsey Bell. Subject index to publications of genealogical and historical societies.

Ohio Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. Along with their own work, Ohio groups usually help manage the efforts of area societies throughout the Ohio. Their publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those provided through the local societies.

Regional and State

  • Ohio Genealogical Society, 713 South Main Street, Mansfield OH 44907-1644; Membership includes a quarterly, The Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly, and the bimonthly OGS Genealogy News. The society has annual meetings, one hundred county chapters, the Families of Ohio lineage society, and publishes various items of genealogical and historical interest. This library contains over 26,000 volumes, family vertical files, Bible records, ancestors cards, manuscript files, census microfilm, and a broad variety of other valuable resources for research in Ohio. A response to a written request for general and specific information is answered promptly, cordially, and very thoroughly.
  • Ohio Historical Society, Archives-Library Division 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211-2474; Telephone: 614-297-2300; The society’s library collections document the history of Ohio and its people, including 125,000 books and pamphlets and 40,000 reels of newspaper microfilm and 20,000 volumes of original newspapers. The newspaper collection is one of the nation’s largest. Their audiovisual collections are outstanding, including nearly 7,500 photographs of locomotives and railroad subjects in the G. Hayes Coleman series. Major works on the settlement and government of Northwest Territory are in the rare books division.  The society houses (at the above address) the State Archives of Ohio, with more than 30,000 cubic feet of state and local government records. The society also serves the central Ohio counties as part of the Ohio Network of American History Research Centers.
  • Western Reserve Historical Society 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106. Telephone: (216) 721-5722 ; Its extensive manuscript collection (published guide available by mail) is supplemented by an equally extensive microfilm collection of federal census returns and the National Archives Revolutionary War Pension records. The society serves as the network center for its area and charges a per-day fee for nonmembers.
  • Florida Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, PO Box 56433 , Jacksonville, Florida  32241-6433 ; holds an annual meeting on the third weekend in February in different areas of Florida.
  • Southern Ohio Genealogical Society PO Box 414 Hillsboro, OH 45133 meets at the Southern State Community College, Central Campus, Hillsboro, OH at 7:00 pm on the second Thursday each month except January and February
  • Ohio Mayflower Descendants – The Ohio Mayflower Society is part of a national group, the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, who enjoys history and fellowship.
  • Ohio Cemetery Preservation Society, P.O. Box 24810, Lyndhurst 44124-0810
  • Daughters of the American Revolution-Ohio Society, 5253 Willow Dr, Lima, OH 45807-1337
  • National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Ohio Society of Sons of the American Revolution
  • National Society of Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 South Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203; (502) 589-1776
  • Florida Chapter, OGS, PO Box 466, Melrose, FL 32666-0466 ; Florida Chapter, OGS holds an annual meeting on the third weekend in February in different areas of Florida. Write for information., 

County, Township and City

Religious and Ethnic

Research in Ohio Newspapers & Publications

Ohio Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) provide all sorts of useful information pertaining to specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and regarding every type of genealogical records and repositories. They allow you to uncover a wealth of information about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These types of sources may often bolster public records and supply information and facts that is not recorded anywhere else. Here, you can study much more concerning your ancestor’s possible day-to-day activities by setting them in the framework of their time.

Ten years prior to Ohio gaining its statehood the Centinel of the North-Western Territory was printed. Its first issue came out on November 9, 1793. The oldest continuous-publication newspaper to the west of the Allegheny Mountains is the Chillicothe Gazette. The Ohio Historical Society holds issues of both newspapers, as well as some indexes to other newspapers in the state.

Obituary files can be found in several public libraries and local historical societies, both in Ohio and in other states. A collection of 1,700 obituary clippings from Ohio newspapers can be found in Cincinnati at the German Immigrant Society.

Several projects have attempted to index Ohio newspapers. Some projects focus on certain counties, while others focus on specific newspapers. County genealogical and historical societies may have some of those collections on file. The Ohio Historical Society also has a newspaper catalog available on microfiche, which was published in 1990. Researchers may purchase copies.

The microfilmed newspaper holdings of the Ohio Historical Society are available through inter-library loan programs. The society’s website lists bibliographic information and there is also a catalog of newspaper holdings available.

The Ohio Historical Society manuscript division includes information on the following: Northwest Territory and Early Statehood, Civil War, Religion, African Americans, Women, Labor, Politics, Mass Communication.

The Wilbur Siebert Collection may be particularly helpful to researchers. It includes information on the Underground Railroad and American Loyalists. Land grants signed by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington may also contain useful information. There is also a collection of Civil War watercolor drawings by Henry O. Dwight available to researchers. Researchers should also focus on records from the Ohio AFL-CIO. The manuscript collection at the Ohio Genealogical Society features First Family of Ohio applications, as well as Bible records. In order to qualify for the former, families had to prove that they were living in Ohio before 1820. Manuscript collections may also be found at Ohio network Centers.


Newspapers – Ohio newspapers can furnish all types of evidence about historical events, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and a lot more.