Death records

From Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center
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General Overview

Death records were first recorded in Ohio in 1867. The county was responsible for recording the deaths. However, the recording of deaths was not strictly enforced.

Death records from 1867 thru November 1908 seldom included parents’ names. In Wayne County, OH if the death was a young child, the possibility of finding the parents’ names on the death record increased.

Our department has the Wayne County, OH deaths from 1867 thru 1908 on microfilm. There are two volumes, and there is an index in front of each volume. The index is not in strict alphabetical order. Rather, you will find those individuals with the surname beginning in “M” together or the surnames beginning with “S” together. However, within each group, the deaths are recorded in the order they occurred. Volume 1 includes those deaths that occurred between 1867 and 1885. Volume 2 includes those deaths that occurred between 1886 and 1908. In volume 2, there are a few notes to indicate what year is being indexed.

Wayne County, OH deaths between 1867 and 1908 are entered similar to a journal entry. The following information can be found on the death records:

  • Date of record
  • Record number
  • Complete name
  • Age
  • Sex (male, female)
  • Color (white, black, mulatto)
  • Condition (single, married, widowed, divorced)
  • Occupation
  • Disease
  • Whether the disease was a direct or indirect cause of death
  • Date of death
  • Place of death
  • Place of birth
  • Last place of residence
  • Name of parents

Although the death record requested parents’ names, the clerk very seldom recorded this information. The deaths appear to have been recorded quarterly.

Beginning in December 1908, the State of Ohio Health Department began to more strictly enforce the recording of deaths. Forms were standardized across the state of Ohio. Parents’ names were required to be included, if the informant knew the information. Other information not previously listed on the death record includes:

  • Date of birth
  • Name of father
  • Birthplace of father
  • Maiden name of mother
  • Birthplace of mother
  • Name of Informant
  • Informant’s address
  • Length of time deceased was under physician’s care
  • Time of death
  • Duration of illness
  • Physician’s signature and address
  • Place of burial or removal
  • Date of burial
  • Undertaker’s name and address

Our library has a copy of the Ohio Death Certificate Index from 1908 thru 1954 on microfilm. The years from 1933 to 1937 are on microfiche and kept in the department workroom. We have a copy of the actual Ohio Death Certificates from 1908 to the beginning of 1931. The Akron-Summit County Public Library and the Stark County District Library have the Ohio Death Certificates from 1908 thru 1952. The contact information for these two libraries is as follows:

Akron-Summit County Public Library
Special Collections Division
60 South High Street
Akron, OH 44326
Stark County District Library
Genealogy Division
715 Market Avenue North
Canton, OH 44702

Certified copies of death certificates may be obtained from the following locations:

Wayne County Health Department
Vital Records Administration
c/o Vital Records Registrar
203 South Walnut Street
Wooster, OH 44691
Ohio Department of Health
Vital Statistics
225 Neilston Street
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, OH 43215-0098

Beginning in 2003, Ohio no longer issues non-certified copies of death records. It is necessary to have a certified copy. The current price of the certified copy of the birth record is $16.50 at the Ohio Department of Health and $17.00 at the Wayne County Health Department. Other counties within Ohio may charge a slightly different charge. Contact the particular county health department to determine the most current price.

The dates 1867 and 1908 are specific for Ohio. Other states may have recorded deaths earlier or later. Do a Google search for the county and/or state health department of interest, or you can visit the website

Access to the Ohio Death Certificate Index may be found through the Ohio Historical Society and Ancestry database.

The Ohio Historical Society has an index from 1913 to 1944. You may search in two groupings: 1913-1935 or 1936-1944. You may do a basic search on the name, or there is an advanced search where you may insert other known information. Since the Ohio Historical Society used OCR (Optical Character Resolution), some errors in spellings of names may occur. The Ohio Historical Society’s website is as follows:

The actual digitized images are not available through the Ohio Historical Society.

Some digitized images of the Ohio Death Certificate Index may be found on Ancestry Library Edition. Ancestry has a searchable database for the Ohio Deaths from 1908-2002. Wildcard search capabilities are available through Ancestry.

In recent months, Family Search Indexing has started to digitize the vast number or resources available in their granite mountain in Utah. One project that has been completed is the Ohio Death Certificates, 1908-1953 available through The website is free to use; however, users must register. This website is currently not available within the library due to a firewall issue.

Ohio Death Records Pre-1867

As discussed briefly in chapter 2 on birth records, some counties recorded deaths prior to 1867. Recently, it was discovered that Wayne County, OH recorded deaths for the year ending 1 March 1857. These surviving records will soon be available on the Wayne County Genealogical Society’s website.

Many of these early death records include the parents’ names. Other information includes the following:

  • Date of death
  • Age
  • Place of death
  • Disease or cause of death
  • Sex
  • Color
  • Single, married, or widowed
  • Occupation
  • Residence
  • Place of birth

In Ancestry’s Redbook, edited by Alice Eichholz, two other types of death records may exist. These may include cholera deaths registered during epidemics and veterans’ deaths. Neither of these types of death records is known to exist in Wayne County, Ohio.

Mortality Schedules

In 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 mortality schedules were taken. These schedules were designed to enumerate those people who died during the year prior to the regular U.S. census. The dates would be as follows:

  • 01 Jun 1849 to 31 May 1850
  • 01 Jun 1859 to 31 May 1860
  • 01 Jun 1869 to 31 May 1870
  • 31 Mar 1879 to 31 Mar 1880

Information in the mortality schedule includes the name of the deceased, the county of residence at the time of death, state of residence at time of death, age of individual at time of death, individual’s sex, month of death, place of birth, cause of death, and occupation.

Mortality schedules are not complete. For the 1850 mortality schedule, only the records from Hamilton thru Wyandot counties exist. Adams thru Guernsey counties are missing. The 1860 mortality schedule for Ohio is complete. In 1870, the only county in Ohio that survived is Seneca. For the 1880 mortality schedule, only the counties of Adams thru Geauga exist. Green thru Wyandot counties is missing.

The Genealogy and Local History Department of the library does own the 1850, 1860, and 1880 Ohio Mortality Schedules on microfilm. In addition, and abstract of the 1850 Ohio Mortality Schedule is available in book form. It is shelved under Ohio – Death – M841j – 1850. The “complete” version of the U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880 is found through the database, Ancestry Library Edition.

Other Death Record Resources

Two other state-wide resources for deaths in Ohio exist in the collection. The first is Ohio Veteran’s Home Death Records January 3, 1889 through December 31, 1983. This publication includes the name of the deceased, the age at the time of death, the date of death, the place of burial, and the registration number of the deceased while a resident at the Veteran’s home in Sandusky, Ohio. It was compiled by the Erie County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society and copied from the death books at the Ohio Veteran’s Home. The call number is Ohio – Death – Oh3e.

A second resource is titled, A Partial Death Record of over 2,000 of Holmes, Wayne, Stark, and Tuscarawas Co’s and Other Amish Communities. It was compiled by Eli Mast of Millersburg, Ohio. Information includes the name of the deceased, date of death, and age. With many of the entries, some additional information such as spouse, parents, condition (single, married, widow), and occupation is given. Some of the deaths date to the 1870s and go forward to the 1980s. The call number is Ohio – Death – M39p.

Social Security Death Index

Another resource that may be use to determine birth and death dates is the Social Security Death Index. This is available through two different websites. Ancestry Library Edition has a simplified version of the SSDI. It is searchable. Information that is provided includes:

  • Name of deceased
  • Date of death
  • Date of birth (sometimes only month and year)
  • Last place of residence
  • Social Security Number
  • State (year) when the number was issued

The second website that provides access to the SSDI is This website provides additional information. The zip code is given in addition to the residence localities.

Funeral Home Records

Funeral home records are another resource for finding information on the deceased. We do not have any Wayne County, OH funeral home records in our collection. In most cases, the funeral homes in Wayne County, OH are very cooperative when researchers visit them to inquire information. Keep in mind that funeral homes are private companies and they have the right to restrict access to their records.