Genealogy/Local History

Guidelines for Answering Local History and Genealogy Requests

The Lorain Public Library System Adult Services Department answers mailed requests for local history or genealogy information using the following guidelines:

Staff will perform basic research for a limited number of local history or local genealogy questions. Lorain Public Library System Librarians will research when the information requested is likely to be only available from microfilm editions of our local newspapers or from our Special Collection's print materials. Staff will not search census microfilm or computer databases for genealogy requests.

Staff will spend up to one hour researching a local history information request. This research will be conducted as staff has time available from other duties. Researching to answer mailed information requests is secondary to our providing service to patrons who are in the Library. The Library will attempt to answer requests, received by mail, within 30 days of receipt. 

Requestors are asked to keep the following guidelines in mind as they submit local history or genealogy information requests to the Adult Services Department:

  • Keep your request specific and to the point. Library staff will research up to three specific items of information (not counting obituaries) for a requestor once a month. Requests asking for more than three pieces of information will be partially filled and the remaining queries sent back to the requester. Staff will not research an entire family tree.
  • Include the exact date or week and year of the event for which you want a newspaper microfilm search made. Staff will search the microfilm for seven days before or after the date you indicate to try to find the article you request. Staff will not do a "blind search" through an entire month or year of microfilm when the requester does not provide an exact or approximate date. Local birth and death certificate information is available for dates after December 20, 1908, from the City Health Department of Lorain. Their telephone number is 440-246-6836.
  • Please send a self-addressed, adequately stamped envelope for the library to use in mailing the information you requested. Mail your information request to Genealogy/Local History Librarian, Lorain Public Library System, 351 Sixth Street, Lorain OH 44052.
  • Please expect to send us a check or money order for $2.50 made out to the Lorain Public Library for each information request that you want postal mailed to you. Our minimum fee to copy and mail from printed sources or microfilm is $2.50. The Library can scan and e-mail information from our microfilm resources if payment has been mailed to us in advance and the requestors have included their email address.  The information from the microfilm page can be saved as a .jpg image and attached to an outgoing email.
  • How to Order Obituaries from the Lorain Public Library System:
    The charge is $2.50 per obituary.  Please limit obituary requests to ten names.  Upon receipt of the completed request, you may request ten more names.
  • The request must include the newspaper name, date, and page.  Requests must also include the name, address, telephone number and email (if available) of the person making the request.
  • Mail requests with a check made out to Lorain Public Library for the amount: (number of obits x $2.50).
    Local History Librarian
    Lorain Public Library
    351 Sixth Street
    Lorain, OH  44052
  • Requests for obituaries are not accepted via email. The check will have to be mailed and received before the research is initiated.  Be sure to mail the check to the attention of the Local History Librarian.
  • The obituaries will be mailed as soon as we can get to them.  If you would like printed copies mailed to you please send a self-addressed, adequately stamped envelope for the Library to use in mailing the information to you.  If you would like the obituaries sent as jpg images via email you just need to provide an email address.
  • All requests are answered on a “first come-first served” basis.
    You are welcome to visit the Lorain Public Library Main Branch in person.  The Main Library’s Computer Resources Room has three microfilm reader-printer-scanner machines.  Images found on microfilm can be viewed, printed or saved as a .jpg image file. 
  • Copies of the obituaries printed on site are ten cents a page. Obituaries found on the microfilm can also be saved to a "memory stick" or emailed to yourself at no charge.  For information on our hours and location consult our website.
  • Lorain city newspapers make up the bulk of Lorain Public Library’s collection of local microfilmed newspapers.  We do not have microfilm of the Elyria Chronicle Telegram.  We do have a few reels of microfilm for some old Lorain County newspapers.  For information about the titles and dates of these other microfilmed newspapers in our collection, as well as other local history resources that we own, check out our “Adventures in Ancestry” page on the Library's website.
  • Lorain Public Library Contact Information:

Local History Librarian
Lorain Public Library
351 Sixth Street
Lorain, OH  44052
(Phone) 440-244-1192, ext. 272

The Lorain County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogy Society's web page lists information about genealogy researchers who may be available to perform searches - either free or for a fee. Check out the information listed on their website.