Warren County Genealogical Society
Warren County, Ohio
Chapter of Ohio Genealogical Society
Probate Records

(513) 695-1144

 


406 Justice Drive, Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Hours: 9 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday

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 wcgs@co.warren.oh.us

 

This page contains information about the Probate records of Warren County, Ohio. Below is a comprehensive guide to what can be found in the Probate Court of Warren County.  We are willing to make copies of whatever records you need.  Please contact our research department for more info. Please specify exactly what you want copied. 

Probate documents also called probate dockets / packets / files / or boxes contain valuable information for genealogists.  Often times, they provide proof of family relationships, activities involved with or supported, lifestyles, financial status and even record quarrels.  It is one of the best ways to establish relationships, residences and marriages. 

 

Birth Records:  These records were recorded in the Warren County Probate Court beginning in 1867 and continued until 1908 at which time the records were recorded at the Warren County Health Department.  These early birth records were recorded in oversized hard-bound books such that each entry spanned 2 pages.  The information recorded varied over the course of time, but generally included: the childís name, birth date and place, parentsí names & residence and the name of the person reporting the event. Copybooks for Warren County birth records are stored at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.

Corrected Birth Records:  These records are created when a parent, sibling or the person themselves come to the judge and corrects some part of the original record that was incorrect.   Corrections may include details for the name, sex date, etc.  This corrected record also contains additional information not always in the original record such as place of birth, parentsí names (including the motherís maiden name), the parentsí residence and individualís residence. Copies of the original records are stored in the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives in a secure room.

Late Birth Records:  These records are created when an individual comes to register his / her birth that was originally unrecorded or was incomplete.  Some of these individuals needed proof of birth to obtain a social security number.  They were required to bring witnesses such as a sibling or neighbor as proof, and other evidence to prove the event. These late birth records contain details such as place of birth, parentsí names (including the motherís maiden name), the parentsí residence and individualís residence. Copies of the original records are stored in the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives in a secure room. 

Death Records: These records were also recorded in the Warren County Probate court beginning in 1867 and continued until 1908 at which time the records were recorded at the Warren County Health Department.  These early death records were recorded in oversized hard-bound books such that each entry spanned 2 pages.  The information generally provided the deceasedís name, death date & place, age at death, birth place, parentsí names (if a child), cause of death, residence and occupation.  The accuracy varied depending on the informant. Copybooks for Warren County death records are stored at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.

Assessor Birth & Death Records:  These records were recorded by each specific township from 1886-1907 and contained the same information that was recorded in the probate book.  This information was reported to the Warren County Probate Court.  For births, if the baby was born elsewhere (like township or county such as motherís family home) the birth was still recorded.  Sometimes records may be found in the Assessors records that are not in the probate records books. 

Marriage Records:  These records begin in 1803 and were found in the Common Pleas Court records.  When the Probate Court was created in 1852, recoding of marriages and marriage licenses was transferred to this court.  Marriages are still recorded in the Probate Court today. In 1854 marriage license applications and marriage records were recorded on the same page (prior to this time they were in separate books).  Marriage records during this time provided the name of the bride and groom, date of marriage and person who officiated.  Parents were only named if one person in the party required consent due to being underage.  Starting in 1899 the bride and groomís parents were named, as well as residences, occupation, place of birth and if prior marriage, previous name.  Starting in 1908 the age and birth date of the bride and groom were also included.  Present day marriages often include even more extensive details.  Many time prior marriages list the cause of marriage termination due to death or divorce and even list the date when it happened.  Once in a while you can even find children from prior marriages listed. The marriage record copybooks are stored at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives up to about 1996.  Later marriage records are searchable in the Probate Court computer terminals.

Guardianships:  Guardians were appointed for minor children for two reasons: 1) either one of both of the parents were deceased or 2) the minor child was named as an heir in a grandparentsí estate (the father of the child was usually the guardian named). In both cases, the names and ages of the minor children are usually given along with their relationship.  If the father was deceased and there were minor children, the mother was often the guardian.  If the mother was deceased and the father was living, no guardian was appointed unless the mother had some separate property.  Minor children over 14 years of age were allowed to choose their guardians while those younger were appointed guardians by the court.  Sometimes there were bonds required of the guardians.  In some cases there will be an inventory or account showing actions pertaining to the childrenís property and expenses such as money paid for clothes and schooling.  A final accounting occurred when the minor reached the age of 21. Birth dates may be gleaned from the termination or final accounting.  Adult guardians were also granted when the person no longer could care for themselves or their affairs.  The originals are stored in a secure room at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.

Adoptions & Name Changes:  Adoptions prior to 1900 were not common, although they did occur.  Many times the children were placed with families as an indenture, instead of the formal adoption.  Adoptions have been indexed for Warren County until about 1938. Be sure to look for name changes along with the adoption.  Adoption records generally include the childís original birth name, birth parents names, date of adoption, age of child, perhaps the situation, adoptive parents names and any name change for the child. These can be found either on one of the pages of the adoption record itself or in the probate record books. Adoption records prior to 1964 are open to the public and available at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.

Wills: These records began with the Common Pleas Court in 1803 and were called OCPís, and were organized by box number and then a number within the box. The recording of these records continued in the Common Pleas Court records until the Probate Court was created in 1852.  The records were then organized by starting with box #0 and then arranged alphabetically within the box.  Wills provide proof of kinship by naming children, grandchildren or other relations. There are three types of wills:  Holographic will (testator writes, dates and signs a will); attested will (drafted by another party i.e. lawyer); or nuncupative will (verbal will dictated at deathbed with 2 or 3 witnesses present that petition the court within a certain number what they heard and put it in writing).  Sometimes these records can provide glimpses to the property owned, religious beliefs, burial wishes and estate division instructions.  Not all will records have the same contents.  Some papers that might be included are as follows:  Letters of Administration, Executorís Bonds, the Will, Inventory, Sale Bill, and notes for payments of various bills & receipts (such as coffin and funeral expenses).  Executor & Administratorsí reports often contain detailed information of the income and expenses of the estate and division of money, land and personal property among the heirs.  Married daughters are often mentioned by their married names.  Omissions could occur for any reason but the most common are 1) the deceased already transferred property to that heir; 2) the heir / child died before the will was created or was born after the deceasedís death or 3) the heir / child was disowned.  Sometimes these records will reveal the testatorís place of origin if it names relatives who survive in another country.  Make sure to look for people who share the same surname, they invariably are related.  The originals are stored in a secure room at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.  The copybooks for docket of estates (DE), will record book (WR) and civil dockets (CD) are shelved in their research room.  Also check Records of Account

Estate Settlements: If a person dies without making a will the estate is considered intestate and the probate judge appoints an administrator to oversee the estate settlement & distribution.  Estate records prior to 1852 are found in the Common Pleas Court records (estate record books are called OCPís). Estate Inventories often are very detailed and include a complete listing of the deceasedís personís belongings both personal and real.  If the estate was sold, there should be a report that lists who bought each item and for how much.  Sometimes this list is reproduced in the record books. Make sure to copy the Letters of Administration, Sale Bill and Estate Inventory.  Also check the newspapers to see if a notice was posted about heirs coming forward to settle the estate.  The originals are stored in a secure room at the Edna L. Bowyer Record Center & Archives.

Insanity & Lunacy Cases: Individuals who can no longer manage their affairs due to mental illness, insanity, lunacy, senility, depression, effects of syphilis, or other cases can be found in the Probate Court records.  Adult guardians were sometimes appointed in these situations so make sure to check for those types of records.  

Naturalizations: These records could be recorded in either the Probate Court or Common Pleas Court.  Starting in 1906 the Federal Court assumed jurisdiction. Naturalizations that occurred after 1925 for Warren County, Ohio are available, but they have been filed in the Federal Court in Hamilton County, Ohio.  There are three steps to the process: First Papers or Declaration of Intent; Petition for Naturalization; and Final Paper or Certificate granting citizenship. The first two steps contain the most amount of information such as full name, date of birth, place of origin, date of arrival, ship name, who their sponsor was, and where they were living at the time of the petition. Make sure to check for all three records because they may be separate records. 

 

 

 

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This page was last updated on 05 May 2010