Background Sources for Ohio

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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Ohio Family History Research series.
History of Ohio
Ohio Vital Records
Census Records for Ohio
Background Sources for Ohio
Ohio Maps
Ohio Land Records
Ohio Probate Records
Ohio Court Records
Ohio Tax Records
Ohio Cemetery Records
Ohio Church Records
Ohio Military Records
Ohio Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Ohio Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Ethnic Groups of Ohio
Ohio County Resources
Map of Ohio


The Ohio Historical Society has an extensive collection of Ohio county histories, many of which are included in its Ohio County History Surname Index. An information sheet regarding the microfilmed edition and its index is available from the Ohio Historical Society.

For additional information see:

  • Bell, Carol Willsey. Ohio Guide to Genealogical Sources. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988.
  • ———. Ohio Genealogical Guide. 5th ed. Youngstown, Ohio: the author, 1990.
  • Bowman, Mary L. Abstracts and Extracts of the Legislative Acts and Resolutions of the State of Ohio, 1803–1821. Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1994. An additional volume printed in 1996 covers 1821–1831.
  • Colket, Meredith B., Jr. “Genealogical Material Relating to the Western Reserve.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 59 (1971): 281-82.
  • Dickore, Marie. “Genealogical Resources in the Cincinnati, Ohio Area.” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 43 (1955): 1-5.
  • Fenley, Ann. The Ohio Connection Formula for Finding Elusive Ancestors. Dayton, Ohio: Ohio Connection, 1985.
  • Fess, Simeon D. Ohio: A Four-Volume Reference Library on the History of a Great State. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1937.
  • Gagel, Diane VanSkiker. Ohio Courthouse Records. Ohio Genealogical Society Research Guide Series, No. 1. Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 1997.
  • Harter, Stuart, comp. Ohio Genealogy and Local History Sources Index. Fort Wayne, Ind.: the compiler, 1986.
  • Khouw, P., et al. County by County in Ohio Genealogy. Columbus, Ohio: State Library of Ohio, 1978.
  • Overton, Julie Minot. Ohio Towns and Townships to 1900: A Location Guide. Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 2000.
  • Peters, Sunda Anderson and Kay Ballantyne Hudson, eds. First Families of Ohio Roster, 1964–2000. Mansfield, Ohio: Ohio Genealogical Society, 2001.
  • Robson, Charles, ed. Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio in the Nineteenth Century. Cincinnati: Galaxy Publishing Co., 1876.
  • Sperry, Kip. Genealogical Research in Ohio. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1997.
  • Upton, Harriet Taylor. History of the Western Reserve. 3 vols. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1910.

Ohio has a very active statewide genealogical society, with local chapters throughout the state and several out-of-state chapters (see Ohio Archives, Libraries, and Societies). Contact the state or local groups for guidance in research for specific areas. The response is generally outstanding with letters answered promptly and courteously, sometimes being forwarded to possible “connections.”

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