Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network


Ohio Genealogy

Ohio is the crossroads of the nation, one of the most historical states. It is the best state for genealogical research in terms of historical sources being available, preserved, and indexed.

Members: 112
Latest Activity: Jan 8, 2023

Getting Started in Ohio Research

Ohio has the nation's best system of archives as well as the best collections of historical materials with genealogical value. When combined with significant research strategies, the use of these excellent sources often leads to the most successful family history pursuits.


A. Prepare for research by constructing an organizational system based on record-keeping jurisdictions [see our Group about Organization]:
global national state county town & township family

B. Begin Ohio pedigree pursuits by building the necessary methodological foundation. Use the research principles described in this outline.

C. Study the most current and accurate locality-specific "how-to" tools. In addition to those cited under Genealogy in the following state listings, these include the free FamilySearch Research Guidance system and individual Research Outlines at:

D. Create a timeline for one target ancestral family. Add key dates of national and state events as mentioned in the FamilySearch Research Outline.

E. Study local history and add items to your timeline (i.e. county created, newspaper published, church or lodge established, arrival of important settlement groups).

F. Learn about the most important archives and libraries for your locality. See the guides and bibliographies listed below under Archives or Vital. Use the WPA inventories, even when a county is not yet known; if one is not available for a target county, use one for the nearest county. Those facilities with the best collections have particularly helpful Internet sites: state archive, state historical society, state library, state vital records bureau, large public library, special library.

G. Use the major survey sources -generally automated- which may lead to compiled information about any Midwestern family. Examples are the Biography and Genealogy Master Index, Pedigree resource File. The International Genealogical Index is perhaps the largest database based on Ohio vital records, and has indexes to digitized images of Ohio deaths (1908-1953) and tax records (1816-1838).

H. Following the basic research process, use the sources of the Family History Library (FHL). Start with the federal indexes which pertain to Ohio families, i.e.:
' indexes to all federal military service, 1776-1900 (seeking residences)

' indexes to federal passenger arrival lists, 1820-1920 (seeking destinations)

' indexes to federal census schedules, 1790-1920 (seeking residences, origins)

' indexes to land claims and to pre-1908 BLM land records (seeking residences)

' indexes to naturalizations at federal courts, generally 1906-1980s (for residence and more)

' indexes to national historical sources, such as the U.S. Territorial Papers

I. Continue with the statewide locator sources highlighted is a separate post. The goal is to identify each county where the family may have left a paper trail.

J. Understand the history and area of each locality and place name by using sources such as those listed under Gazetteers, Historical Geography, and Maps.

K. Repeat the research process with relevant Internet sources. See examples marked + in the list which follows.

L. If the desired county cannot be determined for a certain time period, review your search of survey sources. If needed, try key indexes to civil records in the older and larger cities in the state (such as marriage indexes for Cincinnati).

M. If a county has been identified, gather and evaluate local sources obtained at the FHL and by correspondence and personal visits to the Midwest, if possible. These sources are described in the world=s largest genealogical bibliography, the Family History Library Catalog, under the name of each specific county -and then town or township. Start with courthouse documents such as probates and deeds, and continue with non-civil sources such as newspapers and church records.

N. Build a network of genealogists and archivists by joining at least one statewide genealogical society and one local society, and perhaps an Internet interest group such as those I posted on GenealogyWise for Naturalization, Military Pensions, Newspapers, and so on. Since you will have discovered so many possible sources, "divide and conquer" the pedigree pursuit by enlisting family members.

Discussion Forum

My Ohio Ancestry

Started by Eileen Hutzel Johnson Aug 14, 2011. 0 Replies

My Ohio Families by County

Started by Wendy Ramirez Aug 27, 2009. 0 Replies

Favorite resources for Ohio ancestors

Started by Unknown Ancestor. Last reply by Rebecca Kenton Pyle Jul 27, 2009. 5 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Ohio Genealogy to add comments!

Comment by Myo on May 18, 2013 at 3:42am

I am looking for a Nancy Colson (I believe married name) who lived in Ohio at least in 1843 when her daughter Mary was born. Nancy may have been born in VT in 1808. I cannot find early records for her or who her husband was. She later married a Cyrus Searles. But after the dob's of her children.

Comment by Derek S. Davey on February 7, 2012 at 10:50am

I am looking to collaborate with Historical and Genealogical societies in Ohio.  Currently working as the administrator of the Ohio Genealogy Community on Facebook.

Comment by C. MacKay on December 7, 2011 at 12:14pm

Primarily researching in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, OH.  Surnames include:  Hoffman, Beckman(n), Siegel, Rahm, Bruler, Eckert, Simonsen.  Also, in Pt. Union, OH:  Monet.

Comment by Ashley Mullins on March 24, 2010 at 10:47am
Looking for any info on MULLEN/MULLINS/COBURN/CULP/MASSIE mainly from Lawrence and Scioto Counties. Any info please let me know! I also have info that I will share!!!
Comment by J.R. Fox on February 21, 2010 at 9:20pm
Looking to connect with other central Ohio genealogy researchers and maybe join a group. I live in Reynoldsburg Ohio and I do alot of genealogy research.
Comment by stacey frame on January 25, 2010 at 12:19pm
I am searching for a William g Frame born in 1880's on indian territory in missouri he was married to gertrude m reihl and they had children whose names were elmer, richard, mildred, charles, joseph, freddie and more. charles was my husbands grandfather who had a son named timothy allen which is my husbands father i am working on a family tree for him and our children so they can pass it down to their children any help would be greatly appreciated.
Comment by Unknown Ancestor on October 16, 2009 at 11:11am
While onsite, Debby, I hope you find time to gather clues from the sources least likely to be microfilmed or automated: old cemeteries, old newspapers, old church documents, untouched scenery.
Comment by Darlene Ford on October 11, 2009 at 1:22pm
Hi Lori. I have Pioneer ancestors in Franklin County Ohio. They came here in 1816. Send me your link please. I would be glad to post something about the family. They were in AThens county prior to coming to Franklin County.
Comment by Darlene Ford on October 11, 2009 at 1:19pm
The Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society will hold their annual meeting and volunteer recognition luncheon on November 7, 2009. This meeting will be held at Plank's at 4022 Broadway Street in Grove City, Ohio. Our speakers this year will include Jim Hale of the Grove City Visitors & Convention Bureau and Bill White of the Southwest Historical Society. Our program will include a tour of the New Welcome Center (located behind Plank's) and a tour of New Century Village on Orders Road, Grove City, OH. The price of the luncheon is only $20.00. This includes the tours and desert at the New Welcome Center. Should you wish to attend please contact the Society at 614-469-1300 or if you have any questions. After November 2, the price will be $25.00. In the spring we will be holding a Pioneer Families luncheon with those who can trace their ancestor roots back to 1830 in Franklin County. Please contact me for the information on this one. Thanks.
Comment by Roberta Frederick on August 9, 2009 at 7:52pm

I have links to Ohio: Union, Delaware, Champaign, & Franklin counties. Surnames: Standish, Moses, Case, Dunton and the ever elusive James Thompson, my grandmother's father (based on his wife's age he may have been born in the 1870's). I have struggled with learning more about him for the longest time. Other families related by marriage and half brothers and sister of my grandmother: Riddle.


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