Discover crucial information about your ancestors in this index collection of obituaries from newspapers in the state of Ohio, covering the years 1814 to 2013. Learn important facts about your ancestor such as the dates of their birth, marriage, and death and the names of their parents and spouse.
There are more than 2.7 million entries in this index, each with a transcript, for obituaries in Ohio newspapers. While the information for each person may vary, Ohio Obituary Index 1814-2013 typically includes:
The following information has been provided by Rebecca B. Hill, the
Head Librarian/Project Coordinator at Hayes Presidential Center in
Fremont, OH in November 2013
This record set is an index to over 2.7 million obituaries in Ohio newspapers from the 1814 to October 2013. It indexes about 90% newspaper citations and about 10% other sources. For this index, the term “obituary” is used loosely for death notices - some may be lengthy articles, some may be brief one line notices. A small number of marriage notices have also been indexed, along with a variety of other sources, mostly from the Hayes Presidential Center. Examples of these other sources are probate case files, funeral home records, society membership records, biographical files, brief references in history books, etc.
A typical entry will give a person’s name, death date, and at least one source, usually a newspaper citation, but it may also give extensive additional information, including the name of the spouse, a woman’s maiden name, place of death, birth and marriage dates, and various other data. Over sixty Ohio public libraries have entered into this database and the amount of information listed for each indexed entry varies with each library and of course, the information actually in the obituary.
To Obtain Full Obituary Digital images of the obituaries are not available with this index. Researchers must contact the library directly to obtain a copy of the obituary. Those owned by the Hayes Presidential Center may be ordered online by following instructions on the Ohio Obituary Index website (www.rbhayes.org/index), while obituaries from other libraries will usually have to be ordered by mail from the library which owns the newspaper. Each citation on the Ohio Obituary Index website is linked to the library where the full obituary may be obtained for a small fee, determined by each library.
History: The original index was compiled by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library staff and volunteers from newspapers in hard copy or microfilm. Starting in 2001, other Ohio libraries started entering their data into this index, so it now extends beyond the holdings of the Hayes Presidential Library. By 2013, over sixty libraries were contributing to the Ohio Obituary Index, indexing old and current newspapers. The amount of indexing done for a particular county varies greatly depending on what each library has accomplished. For a complete list of the newspapers indexed and for what time period, check the List of Newspapers on the Hayes website: http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/list.asp
Scope: In the beginning, the index covered complete indexing of newspapers from Sandusky County, but now extends to almost every Northwest Ohio county. Now there are counties across the entire state with good coverage. See the map on the Hayes website for all the partner libraries: http://index.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/display.asp?id=934&subj=index
Explanation of Headings:
Names: Names were copied exactly as written in the newspapers so researchers should check all possible spellings. Sometimes two completely different spellings were given in two different papers but it is clear that they are the same person. It is important to check all variants. Any mistakes made in the original newspapers will be retained in these records. Maiden names are indexed if they appeared in the obituary, along with names for women who married more than once.
Age: Age at death is listed, if known. Not all entries are deaths, however, so there are many entries with no age given.
City: City or place of death is given. Sometimes a person resided in this area, but died in another town or state, so the place of death is not necessarily the place where the person resided.
Dates: Date of death is given. There are many entries with no death dates and that might signify that the entry is not an obituary, but it is also possible that some libraries may not have recorded a death date in their indexing if it appears in the actual obituary. There are thousands of marriage announcements from the newspapers that have been indexed, along with a variety of other sources that do not include a death date, such as wedding anniversaries.
Additional headings (such as father's name, spouse's name, marriage date): If these fields are not filled in, there may still be information in the actual obituary. Different libraries have indexed different amounts of data – some have only entered the name and the date of the newspaper. Over the 30 years of indexing, not all indexers put in all possible data. To be thorough, a researcher should check the actual obituary for complete data.
Copyright Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, Fremont, Ohio
If you are having trouble finding someone in the records, you can broaden your search by clicking the “name variants” box in the search bar. This will return more records with similar names, including those with possible alternate spellings or the use of initials or middle names.
Occasionally, certain people have more than one record in the index, with varying levels of information. Look at each record with the same name to make sure you discover all of the information available in the index.
The Notes field in the Transcript often provides additional details such as the cemetery where your ancestor was buried, their occupation, or the names of relatives. If your ancestor’s record contains a Notes line, be sure to read this so you won’t miss these important details.
After locating the newspapers that carried the obituary in the “Source” line of the transcript, try to find the obituary in our collection of Ohio newspapers. The newspaper title, date, page number and column are usually provided so you should have no trouble finding the actual article.