Ohio Probate Records

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Probate records were kept in all counties from the time of each county's creation. Until the establishment of separate probate courts in 1852, these records were kept in the courts of common pleas. All of these records are valuable for determining names of family members, relationships, residences, dates of deaths, and other genealogical information. Genealogists will find more information by locating the estate file, sometimes known as the case file, probate packet, or loose papers, instead of looking only for a will. These files include wills, settlement papers, inventories, receipts, and other records pertaining to the estates.

Some probate records were recorded in books which may have carried many titles such as accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, estates, guardianships, inventories, settlements, and so forth. The books carry references to the estate files so that they can be found in the boxes or cabinets where they are filed at the courthouse. You can obtain copies of these records by writing to the clerk of the appropriate county.

Most Ohio probate records are well indexed and are on microfilm or in published format at the Family History Library. The files date from the creation of each county to at least 1900 and sometimes to the 1970s.

An excellent statewide index to the names found in the earliest files is:

Bell, Carol Willsey. Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index. Columbus, Ohio: C.W. Bell, 1981. (FHL book 977.1 P22b; film 1035679 item 5; fiche 6051289.)

Probate records are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under OHIO, [COUNTY] - PROBATE RECORDS.

Some counties in Ohio have probate records online. Using a search engine such as www.google.com enter the name of the county you are interested in and the words “probate records” then press “enter”.