Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are Ohio Vital Records Open to the Public?

Yes. Per the Ohio Revised Code, vital records registered within the state are available for public viewing and inspection. These include most marriage records, divorce records, as well as birth and death records. Generally, these records are generated and stored by the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics or the clerk’s office at the county level.


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

To effectively search or obtain records, the requesting party may be required to provide the following information:

  • The personal and contact information of the requestor
  • The full name and personal information of the person named on the record
  • The relationship of the requestor to the named party in the record
  • 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 location where the life event happened
  • Scope of search (statewide or county limited)

How Do I Obtain Vital Records in Ohio?

The requirements for obtaining copies of vital records depend 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.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable 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 third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

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


What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and an Abstract Copy?

Certified copies of vital records are stamped official records that contain information on the marriage, divorce, birth, or death. Holders of certified copies may use the document for official purposes such as establishing identity and processing insurance benefits. On the other hand, the abstract copy of vital records is a simplified form of the original vital record and can only be used for routine personal and research purposes — and under limited circumstances, certain legal purposes. Abstract copies of vital records are not acceptable for purposes such as dual citizenship, genealogical research, out-of-country management, and international legal business.

Are Ohio Marriage Records Public Information?

Yes. All marriage records in Ohio are presumed available to the public unless otherwise specified by law or court order. 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, the statute demands that sensitive information, such as social security numbers, be redacted before access is granted to public requesters.

How Do I Find Marriage Records in Ohio?

There are several ways to obtain public marriage records in Ohio. In addition to online searches, interested parties may view and obtain copies of marriage records by visiting the courthouse in the county where the marriage license was issued. Mail requests also go to the same courthouse. Meanwhile, persons who wish to perform genealogical research in Ohio may perform a marriage record search on public archives and Ohio Online Collection Catalogue.

Most probate courts offer same-day walk-in services for obtaining abstract marriage certificates. Requestors sending a mail request must prepare a written request containing the couple’s names and the year of the marriage. The letter must include the requestor’s daytime contact details. Next, the requestor must attach payment in the form of a check or money order and mail the application packet in a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Are Ohio Divorce Records Public Information?

Yes. Per state laws, most Ohio divorce records are public records and can be viewed and inspected by anyone. Notwithstanding, records containing sensitive information, such as social security numbers, financial details, and information about minors or victims of domestic violence, are restricted from public access.

How Do I Obtain Divorce Records in Ohio?

It depends on the record custodian. Generally, public divorce records are available at the clerk’s office, but some courts maintain online repositories where interested persons may perform a divorce record search. Besides online search, divorce records may also be obtained in person or by mail. Here, the requestor must prepare a written request stating the divorcees’ full names, the year the divorce petition was filed, and the case number (if available). Of course, the letter must contain the requestor’s return address and applicable fees. Regarding payment for divorce records, the rule of thumb is to contact the court before sending the application packet.

Are Ohio Birth Records Public Information?

Yes. Birth records in Ohio are considered public documents and are therefore available to members of the public upon request. However, documents containing sensitive information may be sequestered from public access and only open to the registrant, immediate family members, legal representatives, and authorized governmental personnel.  

How Do I Find Ohio Birth Records?

Generally, birth records later than 1908 to date are maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics while records registered prior to December 1908 are available at the probate court of the county where the birth happened.

Generally, the requesting party can either order birth certificates via a trusted third-party website, visit the local vital statistics office in person, or send a mail-in request. The same instructions apply for a birth certificate replacements. Online request is the fastest of these three methods, followed by in-person requests, and finally, mail requests. Either way, the requestor must possess the necessary information, such as the registrant’s name, birth date, and place of birth. Then, the requester must also prepare payment for applicable fees in the form of a check or money order.

Are Ohio Death Records Open to the Public?

Yes. Per state laws, Ohio 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. Only the deceased’s spouse, heir, legal representative, authorized government official, the funeral director, as well as persons armed with a court order, have unrestricted access to death records in Ohio.  

How Do I Obtain Ohio Death Records?

Generally, death records from 1964 to present are maintained by the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics while records registered prior to early 1964 are available at the Ohio archives or public library. Interested persons may perform a death certificate search on these online repositories.

Besides these, third-party online services let interested persons perform a death record search by name. Interested requesters can also obtain abstract copies of public death records via walk-in or mail-in requests at the record custodian’s office—that is the local health department.

How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Ohio?

Following a legislative 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—most people choose to seal the records and remove public access. Consequently, the 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.

On the other hand, 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). Likewise, adoptions recorded between 1964 and late 1996 are accessible at the same government agency.

Ohio State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • 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.