This data collection is an index to over 2.85 million obituaries in Ohio newspapers from the 1810s to 2016. It has been compiled from various record sources such as newspapers, obituaries, and local government offices.
About ninety percent of the content is from newspaper citations and about ten percent from other sources. Some death notices may be lengthy articles, and some may be brief one line announcements.
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.
Information extracted from these documents generally includes:
- Name of deceased
- Death Date
- Place of Death (City, State)
- Age at Death
- Birth Date
- Parents’ Names
- Marriage Date
- Spouse Name
- Newspaper Source (Title, Date, Page, Column)
- Newspaper Location
- Newspaper Repository Location
- Other Source (Title, Data, Location Description)
Additional Information provided by the Hayes Library
The original index was compiled by Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library staff and volunteers from original 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. In 2009, 40 libraries are partners in the Ohio Obituary Index and are indexing old and current newspapers. The amount of indexing done for a particular county varies greatly depending on what each library has accomplished.
In the beginning, the index covered complete indexing of newspapers from Sandusky County, but now includes almost every northwest Ohio county. Other Ohio counties with good coverage include Wayne, Washington, Auglaize, Ross, Gallia, and Clark counties.
Explanation of Headings:
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 obvious they are the same person. It is up to the researcher to check all variants. We do not correct mistakes made in the newspapers.
Maiden names are indexed if they appeared in the obituary, along with names for women who married more than once.
Age at death is listed, if known. Not all entries are deaths, however, so there are many entries with no age given.
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.
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 some libraries may not have recorded a death date in their indexing when it will appear 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. Marriage dates are given only when the newspaper citation is for a wedding announcement.
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.