Ohio Vital Records

Ohio Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of Ohio regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates and are compiled and stored in permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. County-level registrations of birth records began in 1867 and were kept by the probate court; however, they are incomplete. A few counties have records dating from the 1840s. These records include the names of the parents and their place of residence. The obligatory recording on a state level of birth records in the state of Ohio began 20 December 1908. Birth records prior to 20 December 1908 are available from the probate court of the county where the event occurred. These records are in the county or city health departments. The state-level birth records usually contain a child's name, place, and date of birth, sex, race, name, and birthplace of father, and maiden name and birthplace of mother.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. There was registered a county-level registration of death records in 1867 in the state of Ohio. The records were kept by the probate court, though they are not complete. And a few counties followed the registration law, so the earliest death records are as early as the 1840s.  A statewide registration was signed into law on December 8, 1908. Prior records are available at the probate court of the county where the event occurred. The state-level death records usually include a person's name, place, and date of death, sex, age at death, marital state, place of birth, parents, occupation, the cause of death, and last residence.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs.  The statewide registration of marriages began 7 September 1949. Records after that date can be obtained from the Division of Vital Statistics in the state of Ohio. The original marriage records, however, are filed with the probate judge in each county. A statewide index to marriages since 1949 is at the Division of Vital Statistics. Before statewide registration, individual counties recorded marriages, generally from the date the county was created. These include marriage records, marriage returns, marriage consents of minors by parents, and ministers' license records. Marriage records are considered one of Ohio's most valuable genealogical sources because of their early beginnings and completeness. Marriage records show the names of the bride and groom, the date of the marriage, the county in which the marriage occurred, and the officiating individual. Sometimes there is information about the ages and residences of the bride and groom. Parents are not usually named in records dated before 1900. Each county maintains a marriage index. For each county in Ohio, the Family History Library has microfilmed the marriage records up to 1910 and some to 1970. Many existing county records of marriages before 1876 have been indexed in the International Genealogical Index, available at the Family History Library and at Family History Centers. However, 25 counties have large information gaps or are not included in this index.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1954, the Ohio State Legislature passed a law named the Ohio Open Records Law. This law was enabled with the last changes in 2008 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: Availability of public records for inspection and copying. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The law is similar to the Ohio Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The Ohio Open Records Law is a series of the law signed by the legislature to grant access to all public records at all government levels in the state of Ohio.


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