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Local Sources for Records
in Ashtabula County.

Visit the Ashtabula County District Library (335 West 44th Street) or its Geneva branch (860 Sherman Street)to learn more about resources for Family & Local History research. Much genealogical research can be done here but in some cases it will be necessary to contact or visit Ashtabula County offices and other organizations.

ASHTABULA COUNTY PROBATE COURT
25 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047
(1st floor of the County Courthouse)
(440) 576-3451
RECORDS AVAILABLE:
Marriage licenses and/or returns, “1812”- present; Births and Deaths, 1867-1908;Estates, 1811-present. See notes below.
COSTS: Microfilm Copies, 50 cents /pg; $1 uncertified, $5 certified; Marriage Licenses: $1.00  /pg uncertified, $5 certified.

ASHTABULA CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
4717 Main Ave., Ashtabula, OH 44004
(440) 992-7123
RECORDS AVAILABLE:
Births and Deaths, 1909-present. See notes below.
COSTS/Copies:  See note below.

CONNEAUT CITY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
294 Main St., Conneaut, OH 44030
(440) 593-3087
RECORDS AVAILABLE: B
irths and Deaths, 1909-present. See note below.
COSTS/Copies: See notes below.

ASHTABULA COUNTY BOARD OF HEALTH
12 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047
(440) 576-6010
RECORDS AVAILABLE: Births and Deaths, 1909- for most townships. See notes below.
COSTS/Copies: See notes below.

ASHTABULA COUNTY RECORDER’S OFFICE
25 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047
(2nd Floor of County Courthouse)
(440) 576-3762
RECORDS AVAILABLE:
Land Records from the inception of the county, as well as some transcribed Trumbull and Geauga County Records as they pertain to what is now Ashtabula County. See notes below. The Connecticut Land Company Records may also be found in the back of the first volume of Kingsville deeds. Also found in this office are records of soldier’s graves, mortgages, power of attorney, leases and other miscellaneous records.
COSTS/Copies: $2 /pg uncertified, $1 to certify. 

ASHTABULA COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
Clerk of Courts for Ashtabula County
25 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047
(2nd floor, New County Courthouse)
(440) 576-3637
RECORDS AVAILABLE:
Early court records contain many subjects of interest to genealogists, including naturalizations. See notes below.
 COSTS/Copies: 25 cents /pg uncertified, $1 certified.

Other Local Sources
Ashtabula County Board of Health
12 West Jefferson St., Jefferson, OH 44047
(440) 576-6010

Ashtabula City Board of Health
4400 Main Avenue, Ashtabula, OH 44004
(440) 992-7123

Ashtabula County Historical Society
Route 531, Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH 44041
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 36, Jefferson, OH 44047

Ashtabula County Genealogical Society
c/o ACDL Geneva Public Library
860 Sherman Street, Geneva, Ohio 44041-1901
Depository located at Geneva Public Library
(440) 466-4521

Notes

(1) Geneva Public Library (GPL) houses the “Platt R. Spencer Memorial Archives and Special Collections Area.” The primary special collection is genealogy. It is concentrated on Ashtabula County but includes material from other areas of Ohio and the nation, of interest to local researchers. There are also collections on wars, foreign research, immigration, Blacks and Indians. In addition there is a genealogy based general reference section. The county collection is so comprehensive, with indexes and microfilm of original records, that it advisable for researchers to come here first to research rather than bothering the record keepers in Jefferson. More can be done here in much less time due to the availability of indexes, records, reader/printers and computers all in one place, than can be done at the county seat.

(2) The Connecticut Western Reserve was carved out of the (old) Northwest Territory. Trumbull County was organized from the Western Reserve in July 10, 1800. Geauga County was formed from part of Trumbull County on December 31, 1805 and included the greater portion of what was to later to become the county of Ashtabula. Thus, genealogical records, land, estates and marriages, before 1805, would be found in the counties of Trumbull and Geauga. The boundaries of Ashtabula County were defined on February 10, 1807 but the county wasn’t organized, meaning records didn’t begin, until January 22, 1811. It is unknown if any marriage or estate records exist before the formation of Trumbull County. Because of this there is a period between when the first settlers came here in 1798 and 1800 when nothing, except land records, may have been recorded. Note: conflicting years may be denoted in various publications. These are the correct dates according to professional genealogists.

(3) The Ashtabula County Probate Court states their marriage records are 1812-present. The original records on microfilm held in genealogy, GPL, show one marriage for 1811. Since it is likely there were more marriages in the 11 months and nine days of Ashtabula County’s record existence it’s to be wondered what became of them. The absence can stem from any number of scenarios but the most likely is that either the marriage returns weren’t made or were destroyed prior to the Ashtabula County Genealogical Society (ACGS) microfilming them in 1975. ACGS created an every name index to this microfilm and published it in book form. Both the book index and the microfilm can be seen in genealogy, at GPL. It should be noted that pre-1900 licenses and returns have scant information, when available, usually giving only names, town of residence, place and date of marriage, and officiate. The latter can be traced to lead to possible church records.

(4) The keeping of birth and death records in the state of Ohio wasn’t mandated until 1856 but most counties of the state didn’t conform. The law was restated again, perhaps more strongly, that all counties must begin keeping such records as of January 1867. Although the counties did follow the law they were at the mercy of those people who were to make the returns. In the case of births it was up to the individuals, midwives and doctors; death reports were to be gathered by the tax assessors. As can be imagined, many didn’t comply and the researcher must find other avenues to establish births and deaths that they know had to happen. After 1908 these records were to be kept by other record offices. See Ashtabula City Health Department, Conneaut City Health Department, and Ashtabula County Board of Health. ACGS created and published hard cover birth and death indexes that along with the microfilm of the original books can be used in genealogy, at GPL, saving the researcher countless hours of research.

(5) The keeping of estate records began with the organization of the county in 1811 and go to present. The pioneers and old timers were savvy as to death issues and often transferred their property well before an anticipated death, avoiding probate. Those who wanted to transfer by will did so (their property being testate) and those without a will were intestate. Also, when minor children were involved there was often the matter of Guardianships, which can be found in the estate records also. When ACGS microfilmed the estate packets in 1975 several were found empty and a few were noted as missing. Some packets have wills in them, although many do not. The absence of a will doesn’t necessarily mean that it never existed; it may be simply missing from the packet. There is a small separate soft cover “will index book.” Both that index and its microfilm as well as a large 2 volume notebook index to the estates and the microfilm of all the estate packets can be found in the genealogy room, GPL.

(6) The city of Ashtabula began to keep its own birth and death records in 1909 by dictate of the state of Ohio. It is essential to know the boundaries of the city at the time of the birth or death you are searching for, because, if that birth or death took place outside the city limits, the event would have been recorded not in the city, but at the Ashtabula County Board of Health. This situation applies also to the city of Conneaut.

(7) Several websites quote old prices for birth and death records which have caused a problem for the issuing offices. In July of 2003 the State of Ohio raised prices for issuance of certified birth and death records. The state also ruled that no uncertified birth or death record may be issued. All offices issuing certified birth and death records, by law, cannot undercut the price that the state charges, which is $15.00, but each office may charge anything more than that if they wish. Due to fluctuating certified record prices it is advisable that you contact the pertinent office for a current price for that office.

(8) The city of Conneaut began to keep its own birth and death records in 1909 by dictate of the state of Ohio. It is imperative to know the boundaries of the city at the time period of the birth or death you are searching for. This is because if the person was born or died outside of the city limits of any post 1908 period, the event was not recorded in the city, but at the Ashtabula County Board of Health.

(9) PLEASE NOTE: Ashtabula Township, Austinburg, Conneaut Township, Denmark, Hartsgrove, Jefferson Township, Jefferson Village, Kingsville, Lenox, Monroe, Plymouth, Saybrook, and Trumbull Townships did not file their births and deaths until the 1920’s. The accuracy of death records prior to the 1920’s in Colebrook and Pierpont may also be in question.

(10) The Trumbull and Geauga County land records indexed in the Ashtabula County Recorder’s office were transcribed from the record books in those counties more than 150 years ago. The transcriber may have missed some records that apply to this county due to unfamiliarity with the names here prior to 1811 and/or lack of sufficient knowledge of the boundaries and time periods pertinent to the records. It has become apparent to several seasoned researchers that not all pre-1811 land purchases were transcribed. Microfilmed indexes of all the land records can be found in genealogy, GPL, and are much easier to view, and print, here than in the county court house. To secure copies of the actual deed it will be necessary to go to the court house or, if living afar, to send for the copy, as the price is the same for the copies either way. If desiring mortgages, power of attorney or leases a researcher would need to visit the office in Jefferson.

(11) Early court records are numerous with suits often for sour financial dealings. Other more important cases do show up on occasion. The genealogy room, GPL, has a number of the reels of indexes and actual cases; check with the library itself for what is available. Naturalizations carried out in the county that have been microfilmed and indexed cover the period 1853-1906 and can be found in said genealogy room.