Ohio Probate Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Ohio Probate Records, 1789-1996
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Ohio, 
United States
Ohio State Flag.jpg
Flag of Ohio
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Location of Ohio
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1789-1996
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites



What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection includes probate records from 1789 to 1996.

Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease. Probate records are generally well preserved, but some may have been lost in fires or other disasters.

The collection consists of probate records and estate files from county courthouses in Ohio. The content and time period varies by county.

Fires have destroyed some Ohio county courthouse records. The following list may be helpful to you:

  • Adams County. A courthouse fire in early 1910 destroyed most of the probate records up to that point. Will book abstracts from 1849 to 1860 and some pre-1860 guardianship papers survived
  • Delaware County. A fire in 1835 destroyed most early records. Will records from 1812 survived
  • Hamilton County. The courthouse has had three fires: one in 1814, the second on 9 July 1849, and the third on 30 March 1884. The 1884 fire resulted in the most lost records
  • Licking County. A courthouse fire on 3 April 1875 destroyed many of the early probate court records
  • Champaign County. A courthouse fire in 1948 destroyed the intestate records in the probate court
  • Fulton County. The first courthouse was located in Ottokee. A fire broke out on the night of July 14, 1864, and destroyed many of the early records. It seems that a Judge Barber had made a personal record of the early wills. This old book is referred to as "Barber's Abstracts" and is available at the county records center
  • Henry County. The courthouse was destroyed by fire on 17 April 1847. The court records were destroyed in the fire
  • Seneca County. The courthouse was destroyed by fire on 29 May 1841. Probate records exist from 1828. Some of the records in this county have been reconstructed in part by using other documents such as deeds and early newspaper accounts of individuals’ deaths

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996.

What Can This Collection Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees and other court documents.

  • Name of the testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs, such as spouse, children, other relatives, or friends
  • Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of the testator
  • Document and recording dates

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person
  • The date and location where the event occurred

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the County
  2. Select the Volume, title and year to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Look at the actual image of the record, if you can, to verify the information and to find additional information.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the probate record to identify adoptions, guardians, heirs and relatives
  • Use the probate record to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate
  • Search for vital records such as birth, marriage and death
  • Use the information found in the record to find immigration and land records
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in census records

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names, or even initials
  • Consult the Ohio Record Finder to find other records

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Ohio.

Known Issues[edit | edit source]

Click here for a list of known issues with this collection.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

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