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How to Find a Birth Record in Ohio?

What Are Birth Records in Ohio?

Ohio birth records are official documentations of birth occurrences within the geographic boundary of the State of Ohio. An Ohio birth record confers Ohio citizenship and the United States citizenship. A birth record establishes an individual's existence in the eyes of the law and enables an individual to go to school, get medical treatment, and get a job when they grow up. Without a birth record, a child is invisible to the government and may be subject to various forms of abuse and neglect.

Registration of births is one of the core foundations of public health. Understanding data surrounding live births may affect clinical practice, health policies, and efficient resource allocation. An Ohio birth record includes:

  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Child's full name
  • Mother's name
  • Father's name
  • Child's gender
  • Type of birth
  • Mother's marital status
  • Birth registration number

How to Find and Request Birth Records Online in Ohio

Under the Ohio Revised Code, birth records in the state are considered public documents and are available to the public upon request. Although the state does not provide a free lookup to access birth records online, members of the public can readily obtain a birth record without being a close relation to the subject of the record. Obtaining a birth certificate online is the simplest and most convenient way to get a certified copy of a birth record in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Health provides an online tool for members of the public to obtain birth certificates for births that occurred within the state from December 20, 1908, to the present.

Orders submitted on the Ohio Department of Health web portal cannot be canceled once placed. The Department does not also offer expedited actions on orders made on the portal. If a birth record is not found, the requester will receive a 'No Record Letter' and a refund processed in the form of a check. All online orders are mailed to the billing address of the credit card on file and are required to be to a mailing address within the United States. The following information is required before a requester can place a birth certificate order online:

  • The complete legal name of the child
  • The complete date of birth
  • Mother's last name prior to marriage
  • City or county of birth
  • A valid credit card

Several Ohio counties such as Clermont and Montgomery Counties partner with third-party vendors to provide online access for requesters to access birth records online via the county website or county department of statistics website. Hence, requesters may also be able to obtain birth records from the government websites in the counties.

Considered open to citizens of the United States, public records are available through both traditional, government sources, and through third-party websites and organizations. In many cases, third-party websites make the search easier as they are not limited geographically or by technological limitations. They are considered a good place to start when looking for a specific record or multiple records. In order to gain access to these records, interested parties must typically provide:

  • The name of the person listed in the record. Juveniles are typically exempt from this search method.
  • The last known or assumed location of the person listed in the record. This includes cities, counties, and states.

While third-party sites offer such services, they are not government-sponsored entities, and record availability may vary on these sites when compared to government sources.

How to Get Birth Records in Ohio?

In Ohio, persons interested in obtaining birth records can do so by mail or in person.

Mail Requests

To obtain an Ohio birth record by mail, download and complete an Application for Certified Copies form. Send the application with the appropriate fee to:

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, OH 43215-0098

In-Person Requests

To obtain an Ohio birth record in person, visit the Bureau of Vital Statistics at:

Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
246 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Requesters may also visit local health departments to obtain birth records in their counties. Ohio government provides an online tool for users to find the locations of local health departments across the state.

Following Governor DeWine's directive on social distancing and health safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits to the Ohio Department of Health and the local health departments are currently suspended until further notice. For further inquiries about obtaining a certified copy of an Ohio birth record, contact the Issuance Unit at VS.Issuance@odh.ohio.gov.

Persons interested in obtaining a decorative heirloom birth record can do so by completing an Heirloom Certificate Application form. Applicants can have this legal document passed from generation to generation as a cherished keepsake. Proceeds from the applications for heirloom certificates go to further a good cause: Ohio's Family and Children First Initiative. The Initiative is a unique partnership between state and local government, communities, and Ohio's families. The initiative aims to help families by streamlining and coordinating services, resources, and systems.

Heirloom certificate applicants can choose from four decorative design styles: Native Ohioan, Commemorative, Newborn Footprints, and Statehouse Lawn. All heirloom certificates are printed on 8.5 by 11-inch-high quality paper with a raised seal which allows them to be used for official business as well as for display.

To obtain an heirloom birth certificate in Ohio, enclose the completed application form and the appropriate fee in a mail to:

Ohio Department of Health
Vital Statistics
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, OH 43215-0098

The application fee can be paid by check or money order. Make the check or money order payable to the Treasurer, State of Ohio.

Where Can I Find Birth Records in Ohio?

It was not a statewide law to record births in Ohio until 1867. Between 1867 and December 19, 1908, each county's Probate Court was responsible for recording births in their location. Records of births between December 20, 1908, to the present, are maintained by local Vital Statistics offices and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Therefore, interested persons can find birth records from the ODH's Bureau of Vital Statistics and other local Vital Statistics offices in the state.

Can Anyone Get a Copy of a Birth Certificate in Ohio?

Ohio is an open records state. The state makes birth certificates available to members of the public upon request. No eligibility criteria are stipulated under Ohio laws for obtaining an Ohio birth record. The only requirements are to provide the required information and to pay the appropriate fees. However, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code ORC 3705.29 (A) (3), it is illegal for any person to purposefully obtain, possess, use, sell, attempt to obtain, or furnish to another for the purpose of deception, any record that relates to the birth of a person, living or dead.

How Much Does a Birth Certificate Cost in Ohio?

An Ohio birth record costs $21.50 per certified copy. Orders placed to the Ohio Department of Health by mail, in person, or online are charged the same. Cost varies from county to county for requests made to the local public health departments. For example, orders made in Columbus and Cleveland cost $25 per certified copy while an order placed in Montgomery and Clark Counties costs $22. Clermont County charges $23, while Hamilton County charges $24 per certificate. Note that additional charges may apply in these counties as credit card processing fee for online orders.

The Ohio Department of Health online order portal accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express cards. The Department only accepts checks and money orders for mail orders. Cash and credit card information are not accepted for mail orders.

An heirloom birth certificate costs $25.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Birth Certificate in Ohio?

Online orders for birth certificates via the Ohio Department of Health online portal are processed within 5 business days. The expected delivery time via the USPS is two weeks. Mail-in orders to the Department usually take 4 - 6 weeks to process. Requesters can check the status of their orders after three weeks by sending a mail to VS.Issuance@odh.ohio.gov. The Department of Health does not offer expedited services for mail-in orders. In-person requests are typically treated on the same day. New birth records are available about 8 - 10 weeks after the date of birth.

Applications for heirloom birth certificates take 4 weeks for delivery. Due to registration requirements, requests for newborn birth certificates may take up to 3 months to process.

How to Expunge Your Birth Records in Ohio?

Expungement refers to the deletion of a record. Ohio does not have stipulations for expunging birth records.

How to Seal Your Birth Records in Ohio?

There are no specific steps to take to seal a birth record in Ohio. Birth records are automatically sealed upon the completion of an adoption process. The original birth record ceases to be a public record and a new birth record stating the adopting parents as the legal parents is issued.

How to Unseal Your Birth Records in Ohio?

The State of Ohio has three sets of laws, related to three time periods, regarding access to adoption records containing identifying information.

Adoptions before 1964 (Provisions from Section 3705.123 of the Ohio Revised Code)

Individuals born and adopted in Ohio before January 1, 1964, have access to their files with the Vital Statistics office containing their original birth certificates and the court papers pertaining to their adoption. To access this file, an adoptee must file a special affidavit with the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics along with two forms of identification and a fee of $20. This application process can be completed through the mail. In the event of the death of an adoptee, lineal descendants of the adoptee may also access the file with the Vital Statistics office. However, this process must be completed in person. Note that identifying information is sealed to birth parents, birth siblings, and all others.

Adoptions from January 1, 1964, through September 17, 1996 (Provisions from Section 3107.38 of the Ohio Revised Code)

Identifying information is closed to persons who were born in Ohio and adopted between 1964 and 1996. In 1996, Ohio created an affidavit system or registry through which a birth parent or birth sibling may file an Authorization for Release with the Ohio Department of Health, Division of Vital Statistics. An Authorization for Release indicates that the parents or siblings wish for their names to be available to the adoptee and not redacted from the records. Upon reaching the age of 18, the adoptee may petition the Probate Court to check if there is a release on file. If there is a release or if the birth parents are determined to be deceased, the judge may release identifying information. The probate judge also holds the prerogative to release information to the adoptee upon the showing of "good cause".

Adoptions after September 17, 1996 (Provisions from Section 3107.45 of the Ohio Revised Code)

In 1996, Ohio laws concerning pre-adoption birth records changed to a standard of openness unless otherwise specified. At the time of surrender, the birth parents are asked to sign a form stating that the birth certificate will be open, or no birth certificate will be closed. If the birth parent is not present to sign the form, the birth certificate will be open. "Open" means that the adoptee would have access to the original birth certificate upon request if the request is made by the age of 21. If the request is made by the adoptive parent when the adoptee is at least 18 years of age, the record also becomes available under Ohio laws. The birth parent is also asked to choose whether first names, photos, and other items will be shared in the record.

Ohio defines identifying information as:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Maiden name
  • Alias
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Social security number
  • Place of employment
  • Any other numbers used to identify the person

Non-identifying information includes social and medical history, and everything not listed as identifying information. Non-identifying information is available in most cases to adult adoptees who were adopted before 1996.