Union County Deaths, 1867-1908
(Updated: March 18, 2015)
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Death Records (1867-1908)
These records contain the decedent’s full name, date of death, place of death (city/township/county/state), marital status, age at death, gender, race, place of birth, occupation, parents, and cause of death. The index begins with the first death recorded on July 1, 1867, and ends with the last death recorded on December 31, 1908. It should be noted that the terms “babe,” “baby”, “infant,” “not named” and “unnamed” have been standardized to “Not Named”, while “unknown” and “not known” have been standardized to “unknown”. The original records can be found at the Union County Probate Court. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Marysville Public Library, Ohio Historical Society, or through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Birth records from 1909 to present can be found at the Union County Health Department.
Union County death records from 1867 to 1908 were originally recorded in a three volume set. The records from 1867 to 1885 are arranged chronologically by year and alphabetically by township. The surnames are then organized alphabetically in the township subset. Records from 1886 to 1908 are arranged alphabetically by recording year. These records document the deaths occurring in Union County and the deaths of individuals whose normal residence was in Union County, hence death records for individuals dying outside Union County and outside the State of Ohio. These records originate from the probate court and are maintained through that office. Probate courts existed in the Northwest Territory prior to Ohio’s statehood. They had authority in probate, testamentary, and guardianship cases, although the probate judge and two common pleas court judges issued all final judgments. In 1802, Ohio’s first constitution abolished separate probate courts and transferred their authority to the common pleas courts. Separate probate courts reappeared in 1851, when Ohio drafted a new constitution. This gave the probate court the power to grant marriage licenses and control land sales by appointed executors, administrators, and guardians along with powers in probate, testamentary, guardianship, adoption, mental illness, and naturalization. Authorities the court still maintains today, except in regards to naturalization, which power was transferred to the federal government in 1906.
On March 18, 1867, the Ohio General Assembly passed an act “to provide for the registry of births and deaths” in the State of Ohio to take effect July 1, 1867. The law mandated that probate judges “shall keep a record of the deaths…reported.” The law also specified that the information “shall state, in separate columns…the date and place of death, name and surname of the deceased, condition (whether single, married or widowed), age, place of birth, occupation, names of parents (when an infant without name), cause of death, color, and last place of residence of such deceased person…” Originally it was the duty of the physicians, clergymen and sextons to report the deaths to the probate court every three months. In 1869, the law was amended so that the township assessor’s became responsible for the gathering and transmission of death records to the probate court. The assessors’ registries reflected a twelve month period “ending on the first day of March,” and at that time the registries were recorded in the probate court. Physicians, clergymen and sextons were still required to maintain a registry of deaths as previously stated. These basic parameters remained in effect until the law was repealed in 1908.
Commencing January 1, 1909, the Ohio Bureau of Vital Statistics was created and the responsibility for the recording of death records was transferred to that agency, which was usually done through the local Health Districts. In Union County, deaths occurring between March 1908 and December 1908, which should have been recorded in March 1909, were still recorded in the Probate Court. In effect, death records for individuals end in the Union County Probate Court for those who died prior to January 1, 1909.