Center for Archival Collections
Learning about Sources: State Records
From 1867-1908, births and deaths were recorded in the County Probate Courts. After that date, the function was taken over by the General Health District, and reported to the state. Death Certificates from December 20, 1908 - 1936 can be obtained from the Ohio Historical Society. An online index to death certificates from 1913 - 1937 is available at the OHS website. Birth Records from 20 December 1908 to present, Death Records from 1945 to present, and Marriage Records from September 7, 1949 to the present can be obtained from the Ohio Department of Health. Marriage licenses must be obtained from the County Probate Court where the marriage license was issued.
Divorces. Divorces are usually found through the Clerk of Courts Journals, Court of Common Pleas in the county in which the divorce took place. The Ohio Department of Health houses only the abstracts of couples divorced in Ohio from September 7, 1949 to the present. Copies of divorce decrees can be obtained from the county clerk of courts where the divorce was granted.
Adoptions. The Ohio Department of Health website has information on obtaining adoption records. For information on nineteenth century adoptions or guardianships, search the county Probate Courts' Wills, Estates, and Guardianships, County Home records, or other court records. Some "adoptions" at that time were informal within the family or community and may not have been documented in court records.