Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records

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Are Ohio Vital Records Open to the Public?

In compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, vital records registered within the state are available for public viewing and inspection. These include most marriage records, divorce records, adoption files, as well as all birth and death records. These records are typically generated and stored by the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics or its county-managed equivalents. However, in the state, marriage and divorce records are managed by the court where the event was finalized. Generally, access to any of these records depends on the type of record, local retrieval policies, as well as how far back the event occurred. While the public can view and inspect most of these records, certified copies are typically restricted to authorized parties such as the named parties to the record, immediate family members, parents/legal guardians, or any person authorized by court rule.


What Information Do I Need to Search for Ohio State Vital Records Online?

To effectively search or obtain records, the requesting party may be required to fill in specific information pertaining to the record of interest. These may include:

  • The full name, suffix and personal information of the requestor
  • The full name, suffix, and personal information of the named party to the record
  • The relationship of the requestor to the named party in the record (father, mother, son, daughter, husband, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, legal guardian, etc)
  • The reason for record request (personal use, insurance proceeds, authentication, death benefits, and other legal purposes)
  • The date the event occured
  • The gender of the named party on the record (if applicable)
  • The age of the named party on the record at the time the event took place (if applicable)
  • The name of the city the event was recorded
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name (for birth certificates only)
  • Scope of search required (statewide or county limited)


Where the request is successful, additional information such as the home address, shipping address, as well as the number of copies ordered may be required. Publicly available vital records may be managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These websites are generally not being limited by geographical record availability and may serve as an adequate jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question including city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved provided it is not a juvenile.


What Do I Need to Obtain Vital Records in the State of Ohio?

The requirements for obtaining copies of vital records depends on the type of record as well as the sensitivity of the record. Usually, no documentation is required to obtain abstract copies of marriage, birth and death records in the state of Ohio. However, where the social security number of the party to a recent death record is also requested, a valid ID confirming the requestor’s relationship to the deceased becomes compulsory. Conversely, abstract records pertaining to divorce, annulment, and dissolution of the union are obtained only after a valid ID has been presented. To obtain certified copies of any vital certificate in the state, requesters may be required to provide ID to prove their eligibility. In some cases, before a certified record request is processed, the requester may be asked to provide additional proof of qualification such as sworn statements and notarized forms.


What’s the difference between a Certified Record and Abstract Copy?

Certified copies of vital records are stamped official records that contain the original information on the marriage, divorce, birth, death, and other vital events while abstract copies of vital records represent a summarized and simplified form of the original copy. Most often than not, the abstracts are issued as certified documents and can be used for personal, research, and legal processes. However, in some cases such as dual citizenship, genealogical research, out of country management, and international legal business, certified abstracts are not acceptable hence the need for the full original copy.

Are Ohio Marriage Records Public Information?

All Marriage Records in the state of Ohio are presumed to be public unless otherwise specified by law or court rule. As per the Ohio Revised Code (3101), marriage records are made available to any person for viewing and inspection except in situations where a marriage record is sealed by the parties involved. Also, statute demands that parts and portions of marriage records bearing social security numbers of any of the parties are rendered confidential to unauthorized requesters. Authorized persons include the couple, members of the law enforcement agencies for the purpose of a criminal investigation, divisions of child support and family services, and persons with a court order authorizing access.


How do I find marriage records in Ohio?

The state of Ohio features various channels from which the public may access marriage records. In addition to online searches, interested parties may view and obtain copies of marriage records by visiting the appropriate courthouse, by mail-in request, or by phone (if applicable). The various probate courts located in all counties in the state maintain marriage records for licenses issued within their respective jurisdiction. For the purpose of genealogical research, the public archives and Ohio Online Collection Catalogue maintain ancient and older records.

Most probate courts offer same-day walk-in service by visiting the marriage department of the probate court where the marriage license was issued. Requestors are advised to schedule a visit by contacting the appropriate department using the court directories. Usually, the fee for obtaining abstract marriage certificates ranges between $2-$5. Furthermore, interested parties may request marriage records by mailing a written request to the applicable probate court. The written request should contain the names of parties in the marriage, the year of the marriage, a day time phone number, appropriate payment, as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope. Some courts offer online application forms on their websites which allows applicants to print and complete the required fields. Similarly, contacting the court to ascertain they offer this service is recommended.

Are Ohio Divorce Records Public Information?

In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, most Divorce Records in the state are public records and can be viewed and inspected by anyone. Notwithstanding, some records containing sensitive information such as social security numbers, financial account numbers, information about minors, and victims of domestic violence may be restricted from public access. Additionally, some records may be sealed by parties to the divorce following a court rule.


How do I find Divorce Records in Ohio?

Divorce records can be found via multiple methods depending on the channels featured by the particular court of interest. Divorce records are typically maintained by the clerk of the court of common pleas. Usually, these records may be accessed online via county-managed and third party websites. Divorce records may also be obtained in person or by mail. For this, the requestor is required to provide a written request to the domestic relations division of the appropriate court of common pleas. The written request should include the parties’ full names, the year the divorce was filed, the case number (if available), as well as a return address and applicable fees. Mail-in requestors are advised to contact the court to determine the amount, available payment methods, mailing details, and other queries. Usually, requests by mail take a longer time to process and certified copies may be unavailable to unauthorized persons. Where the divorce was appealed to the district court of appeals or the Supreme Court, the updated divorce decree may be obtained from the clerk of the applicable appellate court.

Are Ohio Birth Records Public Information?

Birth Records in the state of Ohio are considered public documents and are therefore available to members of the public upon request. However, sensitive information in a record may be restricted to authorized persons including the registrants, first degree relations, legal representatives, and authorized governmental personnel. Generally, birth records later than 1908 to present are maintained by the Ohio Department of Health via the Bureau of Vital Statistics while records registered prior to December 1908, are available at the probate court of the county where the birth took place.


How Do I Find Ohio Birth Records?

To obtain birth records in the state of Ohio, the requesting party can either place an online order via third party research services, visit the county vital statistics office, or send a mail-in request. In person, the requestor is required to visit the Local health district department with the appropriate documents such as the name of the registrant, the birth date, place of birth, applicable fees, etc. Similarly, to effectively request a certified birth abstract by mail, the requesting party may send a written request or print the application form available on the county/city public health website. For instance, see Franklin County Birth Certificate Application Form. Essentially, fees vary but the estimated certification fee ranges from $15 to $25 per copy.

Are Ohio Death Records Open to the Public?

In compliance with the state laws, Death Records are public records unless stated otherwise. Following a 2015 amendment, the social security number of the deceased is not public information for the first five years after the date of death unless the requester is the deceased spouse, heir, legal representative, member of the law enforcement agencies, a private investigator, the funeral director, as well as other persons authorized by a court order or subpoena. Generally, death records from 1964 to present are maintained by the Ohio Department of Health via the Bureau of Vital Statistics while records registered prior to early 1964, are available at the Ohio archives or public library.


How Do I Find Ohio Death Records?

In addition to online services featured by third party search services, members of the public can inspect and copy abstract copies of death records via walk-in or mail-in requests. In person, the requestor is required to visit the Local health district department with the appropriate documents such as the name of the deceased, the death date, place of death, applicable fees, etc. Similarly, to effectively request a certified death abstract by mail, the requesting party may send a written request or print and complete the application form available on the county/city public health website. For instance, see Franklin County Death Certificate Application Form. Essentially, fees vary but the expected certification fee ranges from $15 to $25 per copy.

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Ohio?

In the State of Ohio, adoption files are usually sealed and not available to unauthorized parties. Persons authorized to obtain these records include the adult adoptee, the adoptive parents, the birth parents, legal authorities, as well as persons with a court order authorizing access. To find an adoption record, requestors must first establish their eligibility. Also, in determining the “openness of an adoption record”, the date the adoption was finalized becomes important. Adoptions recorded prior to 1964 are available to the general public and may be obtained by sending a written request and applicable fees to the Ohio Department of Health (Attn: Bureau of Vital Statistics). Adoptions recorded between 1964 and late 1996, are accessible at the same office by authorized persons only. However, following an amendment, adoption records recorded from 1996 to date are considered open and may be accessed by anyone unless the record is sealed by the adoptive parent. In this case, the record becomes confidential unless the adoptive parents agree to open the adoption record. Other requirements for obtaining adoption records include proper identification such as driver’s license, national ID card, passport, etc. The fee for obtaining these records vary and are subject to the volume and number of copies required.

Ohio State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Police Records
  • Sheriff Records
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Probation Records
  • Parole Records
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Birth Records
  • Death Records
  • Property Records
  • Personal Assets
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Political Contributions
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.


Built in 1910, the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse is a historic federal building in Cleveland. Federal courts still hold court proceedings.