Cincinnati Birth and Death Records, 1865-1912

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With a few exceptions, the official death records for the City of Cincinnati begin in 1865 and those for birth in 1874. As a result of a government records program of the Ohio Network of American History Research Centers, in 2003 over 500,000 card files from the Cincinnati Health Department were transferred to the UC Libraries' Archives and Rare Books Library. The cards contain the official records of births and deaths for Cincinnati citizens from the beginning dates as noted through 1908, with additional records through 1912. These cards are sometimes typed and many times handwritten, and were created by the Cincinnati Health Department several decades ago to preserve the data originally entered in ledger books. The ledger books are also preserved in the UC Libraries, but are of such fragility that any turning of the pages results in flaking and tears. The informational cards are considered the official and legal records of births and deaths for this time period.

While the bulk of these records begin in 1865, a small number of records show earlier dates. It is believed that these early records reflect the "restoration" of vital documents by citizens after the 1884 Hamilton County Courthouse fire, and were eventually sent to the City of Cincinnati Health Department for recording.

For birth and death records created after 1912, consult the State of Ohio Vital Records Office or the Cincinnati Health Department. For birth or death records created between 1909 and 1912, even if found in this collection, you may be able to request a more complete record from these offices. Certificate numbers (typically found in the top right corner) may be present in records in this collection from 1909-1912, and can be used to request the additional record. (Records in this collection before 1909 typically do not have certificate numbers.)

What information is in these records? Birth records typically contain the name of the individual, birth date, race (often abbreviated as a single letter), gender (often abbreviated as 'M' or 'F'), name of father, name of mother, occupation of father, address (sometimes a home address, sometimes a hospital address), and often but not always: the birthplace or nationality of the father and mother, the doctor or midwife, and the hospital. For death records: name, age, date of death, cause of death, address, occupation, race, gender, attending physician, funeral home, and place of burial. Death records typically have an orange background, and birth records a white (often aged to off-white or yellow) background.

The names of individuals born or deceased, and the names of parents, are entered as Subjects. The date of birth or death is entered as the Issue Date. Occupation and Cause of Death are entered as Subjects, preceded respectively by the phrase 'Occupation' or 'Cause of Death'. Address is entered in a Description field, preceded by the term 'Address:'. Age at death is entered in a Description field, preceded by the phrase 'Age at death:'. All other information that appears on the record has been entered into a Description field, with individual elements separated by a forward slash ('⁄').

From this page you may browse and search across all records in this Community, or, to limit your results to a span of years, select a Collection below. Browse Subjects and enter 'cause' to jump to Cause of Death; browse subjects and enter 'occupation' to browse occupations of a parent or a deceased individual. Names of those born or deceased, parent names, cause of death and occupations are all found in the subject index.