Morgue records (Hamilton County, Ohio), 1887-1930

The Hamilton County, Ohio Morgue Records, 1887-1930 (Accession Number ON-73-38a) are part of a county records collection acquired by the Archives & Rare Books Library in 1973 under the Local Government Records Program established by the Ohio Historical Society and the State Legislature of Ohio.

Bodies were taken to the morgue for various reasons, such as suspicion of murder or suicide, accidental deaths, unidentified or unclaimed bodies, or death under unknown or otherwise suspicious circumstances. Details in the morgue records include the date, time, and location the body was found, personal information on the deceased, probable cause of death, and removal of the body, and sometimes effects found on the body. Some entries include letters from the next-of-kin or public officials that offer more information on the deceased. These records aid in revealing trends in economic depressions, workplace conditions, locations of accidents, transient patterns, crime patterns, and infant survival rates.

For researchers interested in Cincinnati urban life from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, the Hamilton County Morgue records provide an extraordinary amount of data. Since the volumes have been transcribed with most of the data available in a searchable PDF or spreadsheet format, researchers will be able to work with large amounts of historical data. Researchers could use this data to study relationships between race, gender, age, and causes of death.

Each spreadsheet lists:

  • Name
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Date of entry
  • Age (often estimated)
  • Cause of death. Causes of death were often quite specific, e.g., “Accidental Injuries caused by a Bank of Earth Caveing and falling on him”

For further information on holdings of records related to Cincinnati and Hamilton County, please contact the Archives & Rare Books Library at or by telephone: 513.556.1959.