From Wayne County, Ohio Online Resource Center
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Necrology includes a record of people who have passed away. For this section of the website, necrology includes a discussion on death records, burial records, obituaries, mortality schedules, funeral home record, grave diggers' records, and other similar topics.

Department resources

These records may not be complete.

Death Records

Death Records Before 1908

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 increases.

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 has been 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.

Their is an online index to the Wayne County, OH Death Records 1867-1908 available online through Rutherford B Hayes Obituary Index.

Death Records After 1908

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

Area Libraries and Archives with Ohio Death Certificates Index

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 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

Wayne County Public Library
Genealogy and Local History Department
220 West Liberty Street
Wooster, OH 44691 M
330-262-0916, ext. 4353

Access to Ohio Death Certificates

The Ohio Death Certificate images from 1908-1953 may be found online through FamilySearch. Users need a sign-in to access the actual images. The sign-in is free of charge.

Beginning in 2003, Ohio no longer issues non-certified copies of death records. It is necessary to have a certified copy. Contact the particular county health department to determine the most current price.

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

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 Vital Records website.

Access to Index to Ohio Death Certificates

  • Ancestry Library Edition
    • Ohio death index from 1908-1932 and 1938-2007 is available.
  • FamilySearch
    • Digital images of Death Records for most counties from 1867-1908 may be accessed through this website.
    • Digital images for Ohio Death Certificates are available from 1908-1953.
  • Ohio History Connection
    • Indexes are available for Ohio Death Certificates from 1904-1908, 1913-1944, and 1954-1963. Stillborn death certificates are available from 1913-1935, 1942-1953.
    • Researchers may print out death certificates from 1954-1963 when visiting the Ohio History Connection. Copies are $0.25 per death certificate.

Wayne County, OH Death Records 1856-1857

Some counties recorded deaths prior to 1867. Wayne County, OH is one such county. Deaths were recorded for the year ending 1 March 1857.

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

Wayne County, Ohio Death Certificates

In Ancestry’s Red Book, 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.

Homicides in Wayne County

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 Ancestry Library Edition.


Not everyone who died has an obituary. In Wayne County, Ohio the early newspapers provide very few death notices or obituaries. You may occasionally find a notice if an estate is in Probate. Near the end of the nineteenth (19th) century, death notices and obituaries appear more often. However, most of them contain little information. Their could be a separate section for the death notices and obituaries but more times than not, mentions of deaths may be found in the social news or personal mention. In present day, most newspapers require payment to place an obituary notice in the newspaper.

WCPL Activity on this Topic

For many years, we have had volunteers abstracting obituaries from the newspapers. He would include the name of the deceased, date of death, newspaper, date of newspaper, and page number. Several other volunteers took the abstracted information and entered it into the computer. Obituary index books were printed and bound. The books were divided by decades. Within each book, the list of obituaries is in alphabetical order by surname. In bound form, we have the following years:

  • 1890–1899
  • 1900–1919
  • 1920–1929
  • 1930–1939
  • 1940–1949
  • 1950–1959
  • 1960–1969
  • 1989–1994
  • 1995–1999

We have copies of the actual obituaries in binders for the 1970s and 1980s. A separate index exists for each year.

The index to the obituaries from 1989-1999 are in two notebooks. Each year is divided by a tab. These obituaries had been entered into the computer. We do have a third notebook that includes maiden names of those deceased from 1989-1991 and 1995-1998.

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center State Wide Obituary Project

In 2003, we found out about an organization trying to implement a statewide obituary index. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Freemont, OH was the group attempting the project. At the time, we would have needed to rekey all our entries into the RB Hayes obituary index. We did not have the staff hours to undertake such a project so I politely declined the invitation.

In October 2004, RB Hayes approached us again. They had just received a LSTA grant to form partnerships to make the statewide obituary project a reality. Any non-profit organization was invited to join the effort. After some communication, our library agreed to partner with RB Hayes on one condition – our obituary index could be converted to a format allowable for the obituary index so we would not need to rekey the information. In December 2004, we sent our obituary index to WGTE of Toledo, Ohio for conversion. We officially became a partner with the RB Hayes in January 2005. Nearly 105,000 records were converted. About 10,000 of them needed cleaned up but we did not have the staff time to undergo such a project and be able to keep up with answering queries.

About the same time, there was a decision at our library to implement a volunteer program. The search for a Volunteer Coordinator was started and Mary Ann Chupp was selected to fill the new position. In March 2005, we had our first volunteer begin entering information on the obituary index. In May 2005, we had 2 additional volunteers begin entering data. With the implementation of the Volunteer program, staff could focus on the daily operations of the department, including assisting researchers from near and far.

Our decision to partner with RB Hayes was based on several factors. The obituary index was live – meaning that as soon as a new entry or a correction was made, it was effective immediately. Volunteers could do data entry from home rather than coming to the library. Many more fields could be completed. These included the age, place of death, birth date, marriage date, maiden names, nicknames, titles, place of burial, military service, and much more. These fields are searchable. The online obituary index is not restricted to only Wayne County, OH obituaries.

The RB Hayes obituary index, complemented with the implementation of the WCPL Volunteer Program, opened up many doors. In addition to obituaries and death notices found in our local newspapers dating back to 1822, the following records have been entered on the online obituary index:

  • Index to Probate Court Records, Wayne County, Ohio (1812-1917)
  • Wayne County, OH Burial Records (abt 1812-1974)
  • Wayne County, OH Grave Registration Cards (American Revolution-World War I Veterans)
  • Wayne County, OH Will Abstracts, Estates and Guardianships 1812-1851
  • Wayne County, OH Will Abtracts, Estates and Guardianships 1852-1900

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.

Other Sources for Necrology

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 FamilySearch This website provides additional information. The zip code is given in addition to the residence localities.

External links

Cemetery records

  • Association of Gravestone Studies
    The Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) was founded in 1977 for the purpose of furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. AGS is an international organization with an interest in gravemarkers of all periods and styles. Through its publications, conferences, workshops and exhibits, AGS promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expands public awareness of the significance of historic gravemarkers, and encourages individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones.
  • Burial and Memorial Benefits for Veterans
    The VA National Cemetery Administration honors the military service of our Nation's veterans. We provide a dignified burial and lasting memorial for veterans and their eligible family members and we maintain our veterans' cemeteries as national shrines.
  • Find a Grave
    Find A Grave is a free resource for finding the final resting places of famous folks, friends and family members. With millions of names, it's an invaluable tool for genealogist and history buffs. Find A Grave memorials are rich with content, including dates, photos and bios.
  • Nationwide Gravesite Locator
    Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.
  • Ohio Cemetery Preservation Society
    The Ohio Cemetery Preservation Society endeavors to record, interpret, restore and preserve the art, history and environment of Ohio's cemeteries and burying grounds.
  • Veteran Cemeteries
    Cemetery records of National Cemeteries and War Veterans Burials.
  • Wayne County Cemetery Preservation Society
    This is a local organization that is dedicated to recording the cemeteries in Wayne County, Ohio and the burials found in each cemetery.

Obituary and death indices

  • Alliance Review Obituary Index
    Search the Alliance Index for obituary, marriage, and newspaper article citations.
  • Stark County Online Index Files
    Includes searchable indexes of the Ohio (Canton) Repository from 1815 - present.
  • Cleveland Necrology Index
    The Cleveland Necrology File contains local cemetery and newspaper death notices for the following years: 1833, 1847-1848, 1850-1975.
  • Mennobits
    Index of Mennonite and Amish obituaries from the Herald of Truth and the Gospel Herald.
  • Obituary Central
    The headquarters for finding obituaries and performing cemetery searches on the web - Obituary Central
  • Obituary Daily Times
    This is a daily index of published obituaries. Many of the more recent obituaries found in the Wooster Daily Record is indexed here.
  • Ohio Death Certificate Index
    Searchable index of Ohio death certificates from 1904-1908, 1913-1944, 1954-1963. Searchable index for stillborns from 1913-1935, 1942-1953.
  • Ohio Death Certificates
    This websites includes digitized images of the Ohio Death Certificates from 1908-1953. You must sign in to access the death certificate images. Many other images can be found here, too.
  • RB Hayes Obituary Index
    An index to over 1,400,000 obituaries, death & marriage notices & other sources from Ohio from the 1810s to the present day. The RB Hayes index includes Ashland Co, Richland Co (Bellville), Ross Co, Stark Co (Massillon) Summit Co, Wadsworth, Washington Co, Wayne Co, and many other Ohio counties.


  • Ohio-Wayne-Cemetery
    • 10 notebooks; includes general information, some burial information, and/or newspaper articles pertaining to each cemetery
      • 1 general notebook, organized by township and within each township by cemetery name
      • More complete notebooks on Baughman, Canaan, Chester, Chippewa, Congress, East Union, Franklin, Paint, and Sugar Creek Township cemeteries; not indexed
  • Ohio-Wayne-Obituaries
    • Lists of Obituaries in Scrapbooks: Historical Section of the Creston Branch Library
    • Orrville 1897 News and Old Orrville Obituaries
    • Index to Wooster Spectator
    • Obituaries Collected by Reverend Glenn Sauder
    • Old Orrville Cemetery Obituaries
    • Copies of obituaries from 1970-1988; each year is in a separate notebook; most include and index; some pages have come up missing over the years
    • Obituary Index 1989-1999
    • 1989-1991, 1995-1998 Maiden Name Index to the Obituaries