Ancestry - library edition
This version of the popular ancestry website provides easy access to more than 4,000 genealogy databases with a single search. Coverage focuses primarily on the United States and the United Kingdom, although other areas are covered. Databases include the complete U.S. Census & Index (1790-1940), vital, church, court, and immigration records.
Can only be used on a computer within the Library.
Adventures in Ancestry
A Research Guide to Special Collections and Public Records
Produced by Staff of Lorain Public Library System
Updated April, 2016
Lorain Public Library System Main Library Special Collection - Scope Of Collection
The Special Collection is a reference area set aside on the second floor of the Main Library for research in local history and genealogy.
The collection is shelved in an open stack area. The public is welcome to use the collection at any time. Books are cataloged by author, title, and subject. Users may consult the online catalog or discuss their research needs with the librarian working at the Reference Desk.
Local history and genealogy books stored in Special Collection do not circulate. Copies of some titles in the Special Collection may also be available for checkout from the circulating collection.
Please do not re-shelve the books you have used for research. If you must temporarily leave the area, leave a note on the books. They will remain there for you until the end of the day.
Librarians cannot research entire family trees for patrons, but will be happy to answer specific requests for information.
Copy machines are located on the first and second floors for use by the public. Copies of printed materials cost 10 cents a page.
Ask a reference librarian for assistance whenever you need it.
Special Collection - Brief Outline of Holdings
Materials in this collection are about the city of Lorain, Lorain County, the state of Ohio; states bordering Ohio; and New England States.
The call number of SC977.123 is assigned to Lorain County history.
The Special Collection (SC) includes
- some high school yearbooks for the high schools of the city of Lorain
- local town histories
- local church histories
- local biographies and pioneer stories
- local architecture
- atlases and maps
- pamphlets, brochures, city and local business annual reports
- back runs of genealogy and history periodicals
- newspaper clippings
- city directories and phone books
- Lorain International Festival Princess yearbooks
- the Charles Berry Medal of Honor memorabilia display
- the Albert Doane archives including text, drawings and photographs related to local history
Where to Go When Doing Your Genealogy Research
Ohio Cemeteries (SC 929.3099 OH) is available at the library. It lists cemeteries in Ohio by township in alphabetical order by county. Also available at the library is Cemetery Inscriptions of Lorain County, Ohio (SC 929.3029 OH3) which lists 65 out of 76 smaller cemeteries in the county that do not have cemetery offices on the premises. Cemeteries are listed by township. This information is also available online through the Lorain County Genealogical Society. Consult the cemetery offices of the larger cemeteries in the county to examine data from their plot records.
The United State's government began taking a census of the country's population in 1790. Subsequent censuses were taken every ten years. Census information up to and including 1940 is available for public use, excluding the 1890 census, which was almost completely destroyed by fire. Census information after 1940 is considered private and not available for public use.
Census records for each county are arranged by township. Within each township there is no set pattern whereby the census taker visited households. This explains the fact that some of the microfilm have townships listed alphabetically, while others have townships listed in no particular order. The quality of handwriting as well as the quality of the microfilm varies extensively. Furthermore, census takers at times spelled names wrong or recorded family data incorrectly.
Ohio did not become a state until 1803, so there are no census records for this area before 1810—and the 1810 Ohio Census was destroyed by fire. Because Lorain County was not incorporated until 1824, the 1820 census records for Huron, Medina, and Cuyahoga Counties should be consulted. Many of the older census records for Lorain refer to the community by its older names, Charleston or Black River Township.
The library owns, on microfilm, census schedules up to 1920 for Lorain, Erie, Huron, and Medina counties and 1930 for Lorain County. For the other eighteen neighboring counties in northeastern Ohio, the library owns census microfilm for the years 1850, 1900, 1910 and 1920.
Surname indexes to the Ohio census have been published for the years 1820 to 1860. Also, the library owns an index for the 1870, 1880 and 1890 Censuses for Lorain County. The library owns these and other surname indexes for several other states. Check under the name of the State as a subject on the computer catalog. The library also provides access to most of the census for the country through the online database, Ancestry Library Edition. This can be used in the Main Library or any branch.
City directories contain names, addresses, and telephone numbers of individuals living in an urban area. Because the information is given voluntarily, not everyone living in the community is listed.
City directories for cities and towns in Ohio are stored in the Special Collections area. Though the library owns most of what was formerly published for the city of Lorain, as far back as 1903, library holdings for other communities are incomplete.
The Lorain Historical Society, located at 329 West 10th Street, also has older city directories from Lorain.
City directories for cities and towns in the rest of Ohio and the nation may be found in the Genealogy Library of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. Many libraries and historical societies own older editions of city directories for their own communities. Consult the American Library Directory (R 027 AM) and the Directory of Historical Societies and Agencies in the United States and Canada (R 906 DI) for names and addresses.
Consult the online catalog under the heading "United States - Emigration and Immigration" for the title and call numbers of books which deal with foreign genealogy research. It is also a good idea to look under the name of the country.
Several books deal with the topic of passenger ship arrivals. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (SC 929.3059) is a research guide to published arrival records of more than one million passengers who came to the United States and Canada before 1900. Passenger surnames are arranged in alphabetical order in three volumes with supplemental volumes for 1982-2002. Additional information may be obtained from the Passenger Arrivals Records Office of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Form 40 should be requested.
Locating Your Immigrant Ancestor (SC 929.1 NE) is a useful guide to naturalization records. Such records vary from state to state, county to county. They are usually stored where other records are stored for the county. Naturalization records in Lorain County are available in the Clerk of Courts Department, Records Division, Room 109, 225 Court Street, Elyria, Ohio 44035 (440-329-5511). Additional information may be available from the Intent to Become a Citizen form which the immigrant had to fill out five years before becoming a naturalized citizen.
The Ellis Island Foundation website provides a passenger search option.
The library has an index covering Lorain County Marriage Records from 1824-84 and the Probate Court Marriage Application Records for 1872-1901 on microfilm. Knowing the month and year of the marriage, look for either the engagement notice or marriage announcement in the Lorain Journal newspaper, available on microfilm back to 1922. For marriages after 190l, consult back issues of the Lorain Times Herald.
The library owns Marriage Application Index to Elyria, Ohio, Newspapers 1830-1874 (SC 929.3771 DI). The index is arranged first by the groom's surname, then by the bride's surname, in a separate cross-index. Elyria Public Library owns back issues of Elyria newspapers on microfilm.
Additional titles are Marriages: Lorain County, Ohio 1824-1865 (SC 929.3039 OH3), arranged alphabetically by surname of both the bride and the groom, and Ohio Marriages (SC 929.3039 OH3s) arranged alphabetically by individual surname and data extracted from past issues of the "Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly".
The library has a number of official rosters in its collection, listing the names of Ohio veterans who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I.
Additional information about war veterans who served before 1919 may be obtained from the Military Service Records Office of the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Go to their website for find details for such record requests.
Consult Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor (SC 929.3 GR) and Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America (SC 973.7 B392g), for information about Civil War military records. Also, there is an Index to the Civil War Roster for Ohio on 4 rolls of microfilm in the Computer Resources Room.
The Ohio Historical Society has posted some searchable databases on the Internet.
Ancestry Library Edition, found on the Ohio Web Library page, also includes a listing of the Andersonville Prisoners of War.
The library adds current local obituary information to the online Ohio Obituary Index maintained by the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
Obituaries usually appear in the newspaper one to three days after the date of death. The Lorain Journal is available on microfilm back to its origin in 1922. The Lorain Times-Herald is available on microfilm as well, covering 1901-1932. The Social Security Death Index can be used to find the date and place of death. To search this resource go to Ancestry Library Edition. Go to this link to access 'Ohio Deaths 1958-2000'.
The library owns the Obituary Index to Elyria, Ohio Newspapers 1830-1874 (SC 929.377 DI) and Obituary Index to Elyria, Ohio Newspapers 1875-1883 (SC 929.3771 D586o). The indexes are arranged by surname of the deceased. Elyria Public Library owns back issues of Elyria newspapers on microfilm.
One can use a library computer to access the Chronicle-Telegram Digital Archive for articles from 1840 to the present.
For research outside of Lorain County, consult Guide to Ohio Newspapers 1793-1973 (SC 071.71 OH), which lists newspaper holdings of neighboring libraries in Ohio. The data is arranged alphabetically by name of locality.
Public Property Records
Lorain County property tax records are available at the office of the Lorain County Auditor in the Lorain County Administration Building in Elyria. Records of deeds, indexed by the name of both the buyer and seller, are available at the office of the Lorain County Recorder or through their website. Records at these offices date back to 1824 when the county was organized.
For older records refer to Early Ohio Tax Records and The Index to Early Ohio Tax Records, both SC 929.3069 OH. Also consult Index to Ohio Tax Lists 1800-1810 (SC 929.3069 OH). Some sources are: Early Ohio Settlers: Purchasers of Land in Southwestern Ohio, 1800-1840 (SC 929.3069 Oh3sw); Early Ohio Settlers: Purchasers of Land in Southeastern Ohio, 1800-1840 (SC 929.3069 Oh3se); and Early Ohio Settlers: Purchasers Of Land In East And East Central Ohio, 1800-1840 (SC 929.3069 Oh3se).
Vital records are either birth, death, marriage, or divorce records, usually found in county or state office buildings. Consult Where to Write for Vital Records (SC 929.2 W574) for fees and addresses of local and state agencies housing these records. Listings are by state, with cost of copy, address of agency and remarks on records available. Note that fees may have increased since the guide was published. Lorain County birth and death records are housed in the Lorain County Record Retention Center. Note that birth and death records are only available from 1867 to 1908. The Lorain County Probate Court has marriage records since 1824. Researching records at the Probate Court is not difficult because a surname index has been compiled for all the records housed there. Birth and death certificates are available since December 20, 1908, in the Lorain County Health Department. Duplicate copies of these records are also stored in Columbus at the Division of Vital Statistics, Ohio Department of Health.The library also owns duplicate copies of Lorain County birth records from 1867 to 1908, as well as copies of Lorain County death records from 1867 to 1889. Duplicate copies of Lorain County marriage records are available from 1824 to 1901. A separate marriage records index on microfilm is also available at the library, covering 1824-1884.
Update On Ohio Death Records
Ohio Death Records for the period from December 20, 1908 to December 31, 1936 are at the Ohio Historical Society. The OHS mailing address is: 1982 Velma Ave., Columbus, OH 43211-2497. For 1913-1937 the OHS has a searchable online database:
Death Certificate Index, 1913-1944.
The URL is https://www.ohiohistory.org/learn/archives-library/death-records The death record indexes and death records for all years after 1944, are at the Bureau of Vital Statistics, Ohio Department of Health. The mailing address is: P.O. Box 15098, Columbus, OH 43215-0098. Phone 1-614-466-2531. The physical location is 35 E. Chestnut, 6th floor, Columbus, OH. Write OHS for a form to use when ordering death records 1908-1944 by mail. Current forms and fees are available online at the Ohio Department of Health. In person, you may use the microfilm of those records at the OHS Archives Library, Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 am-5:00pm. There is a microfiche index. Source: OGS Report 35:1 (1995) Spring
Lorain Public Library has the following Census Holdings On Microfilm*
1820: Huron (includes part of Lorain County), Cuyahoga (includes part of Lorain County) and Medina (includes part of Lorain County).
1830: Lorain (includes Medina), Huron (includes Erie County area), Highland, Harrison, Hancock, Holmes, Logan, Marion, Meigs.
1840: Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina.
1850: Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lawrence, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Portage, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.
1860: Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina.
1870: Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina.
1880: Erie, Huron, Lorain, Medina.
1900: Ashland, Ashtabula, Clinton, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Erie, Fairfield, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Huron, Knox, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross,Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Washington, Wayne, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.
1910: Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Darke, Cuyahoga, Erie, Fairfield (part), Geauga, Greene, Guernsey (part), Holmes, Huron, Lake, Licking, Logan, Medina, Lorain, Mahoning, Mercer, Portage, Richland, Preble, Putnam (part), Ross (part), Sandusky, Seneca (part), Vinton, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Warren, Wood, Wayne, Wyandot, Williams.
1920: Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Ottawa, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne, Wyandot.
1930: Lorain County.
*Print indexes up to 1860 are available in Special Collection SC 929.3019771 Oh.The 1870 Census Index for Lorain County is shelved in Special Collections.The 1880 Census Index for Ohio is available in the Microfilm Area.
Microfilm Available at the Main Library
Film #1 Birth Record 1898-1908, Marriage Record Index 1824-1884, Death Record 1867-1889.
Film #2 Birth Record 1867-1897 (an index precedes each volume).
Film #3 Marriage Application Record 1872-1884 (no index - grooms grouped by last initial).
Film #4 Marriage Application Record June, 1875 - March, 1884 (no index, records arranged chronologically).
Film #5 Marriage Application Record May, 1884 - August, 1894 (groom index at front of tape, records arranged chronologically)
Film #6 Marriage Application Record 1894-1901 (groom index for each volume).Genealogical Data Relating to Women in the Western Reserve before 1840 (1850) (grouped by township, covers Ashland,Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties - contains married name, maiden name, year of arrival, where from and last residence. There is an index to this microfilm in the Special Collection - Index - Women in the Western Reserve Before 1840 SC 929.3 We.
Local Groups and Organizations
Black River Genealogists
Contact Jeff Sigsworth (President) or Joe Jeffries (Library Liaison)
at 440-244-1192 (Lorain Public Library)Meetings: 1st Thurs. of each month 7:00 pm at Lorain Public Library.
Cleveland Branch Library Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints (Mormons)
25000 Westwood Road
Westlake, Ohio 44l45
(440) 777-1518 Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Evenings Tues., Wed., Thurs. 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
(Call before going - Volunteer staff)
No Admission Charge.
320 Washington Avenue
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Genealogy Collection located in the Ohio Room.
Fairview Park Regional Library - Cuyahoga County Public Library
21255 Lorain Rd
Fairview Park, Ohio 44126
fax - (440) 333-0697
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Fri., Sat. 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Lorain County Chapter Ohio Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 865
Elyria, Ohio 44036-0865
Meetings: 2nd Monday of Month, 7:00 p.m. at the North Ridgeville Branch of the Lorain Public Library System, 35700 Bainbridge Road, North Ridgeville, Ohio 44039, 440-327-8326. Contact person: Pete Hritsko at 440-967-8002.
(Call ahead to confirm meeting place.)
226 Middle Avenue
Elyria, Ohio 44035
Probate Court 4th Floor
(440) 329-5175 (Elyria)/(216) 244-6261 (Lorain)
Marriage records since 1824.
Birth and Death records 1867-1908.
Lorain County Health Department
9880 S. Murray Ridge Road
Elyria, Ohio 44035
(440) 322-6367 (Elyria)/(440) 244-3418 (Lorain)
Birth and Death records since 1908, including Elyria and Lorain.
Lorain County Historical Society
284 Washington Avenue
Elyria, Ohio 44035
(440) 322-3341 (Elyria)
Fax - (440) 322-0893
Library Hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Admission: Adults $5.00
P. O. Box 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215-0098
Birth and Death records since Jan. 1, 1937
Ohio Genealogical Society
611 State Route 9 West
Bellville, Ohio 44813-8813
Ohio Historical Society History Center
800 East 17th Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43211
Birth and Death Records Dec. 20, 1908 - Dec. 31, 1936.
The Western Reserve Historical Society Research Library
10825 East Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Periodical Holdings In The Special Collection
1974 - present
Detroit Society For Genealogical Research Magazine
1973 - 2014
1962 - present
The Firelands Pioneer Old Series
Books 1 & 2; New Series Vols. II, VIII, X, XI, XIII, XIV, XVII, XX-XXV; Third Series Vols. I-VI.
Gateway To The West
1968 - 1978
1956 - 1959, 1974 - present
German Genealogy Digest
1989 - present
1982 - present
Lorain County Researcher
1984 - present
National Genealogical Society Newsletter
1975 - present
National Genealogical Society Quarterly
1957 - 1959, 1963 - 1971, 1973 - present
New England Historic Genealogical Society Register
1847 1982 microfilm; 1974 present; bound
New York Genealogical And Biographical Record
1974 - present
Newsletter Of The New England Historic Genealogical Society (Nexus) 1979 - present
Ohio Genealogical Society Newsletter
1970 - present
Ohio Historical Quarterly
(formerly: Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society Publications) 1955 - 1961
(formerly: Ohio Historical Quarterly) 1993-2010
Ohio Records And Pioneer Families
1960 - present
Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine
1973 - present
The Report (OGS)
1971 - present
1985 - present
Old Lorain County Newspapers - Lorain Public Library
This list contains the names (and dates available on microfilm) of some of the many newspapers published in Lorain County, beginning in 1829. All were published in Elyria, the county seat, except for the Times-Herald, Daily News, Daily Democrat, Lorain Labor Leader, and Lorain Journal/Morning Journal (all published in the city of Lorain); and the Amherst Weekly News and News-Times (published in Amherst).
All of the following newspapers are available for public viewing on rolls (or reels) of microfilm which are kept (and used) in the Computer Resources room, located on the second floor of the Lorain Public Library System Main Branch Library.
These rolls of microfilm are stored in individual boxes, arranged in microfilm cabinet drawers by Groups (also listed below). Copies of articles from these newspapers can be made on the microfilm reader-printer, at a cost of 10 cents per copy (allow about 2-6 copies per full newspaper page). CAUTION: Occasionally, there may be one or more issues missing from a roll of newspaper microfilm.
Lorain Gazette July 1829 - November 1831 Group K
Ohio Atlas, Elyria Advertiser, Elyria Republican, (and) The People's Banner 1832 - 1843 (incomplete) Group K
Lorain Standard April 1840 Group K
Old Tip's Broom June 1840 Group K
Independent Treasury November 1841 - 1842 Group K
Lorain Republican November 1842 - December 1844 Group K
Buckeye Sentinel June 1844 - July 1845 Group A
Elyria Courier November 1846 - January 1854 Group B
Lorain Argus 1848 - 1855 Group A
Lorain County Eagle March 1857 - May 1861 Group H
The Budget June 1860 Group K
Lorain Constitutional October 1866 - March 1872 Group G
Elyria Constitution March 1875 - September 1887 Group G
Elyria Astonisher August 1878 - November 1879 Group K
The Weekly Times October 1881 - March 1882 Group K
Elyria Daily Telephone April 1886 - December 1887 Group D
Lorain County Reporter January 1892 - November 1898 Group I
Elyria Daily Reporter September 1898 - December 1901 Group C
Elyria Weekly Reporter December 1898 - December 1905 Group F
Lorain Daily Democrat - October 1900 - June 1903 Group M
Lorain Times-Herald May 1901 - December 1932 —
Lorain Times-Herald - January 1903 - March 1907 Group P
Elyria Reporter January 1903 - April 1907 Group E
Lorain Daily News January 1904 - August 1918 Group J
Amherst Weekly News - July 1914 - May 1919 Group O
Elyria Evening Telegram - January 1916 - June 1919 Group N
Amherst News-Times - May 1919 - August 1924 Group L
Lorain Journal/Morning Journal - beginning 1922 - —
Lorain Labor Leader - May 1943 - December 1946; (and) January 1981 - December 1982
In addition to the classified Special Collection books, the following materials may be useful to the genealogy researcher or local historian:
Pamphlet Files for the city of Lorain, Lorain County, and Ohio
Newspaper clippings, pamphlets, reports, and other documents, filed alphabetically by subject or category.
Lorain Journal - The Library has an index to the Lorain (Morning) Journal for 1970, 1974 - present.
Newspaper Microfilm Includes 20-25 miscellaneous newspapers published in Elyria, 1829-1905 (county- (Periodicals) wide coverage); plus the Lorain Daily News, 1904- 1918; Lorain Times-Herald, 1901-1932; Lorain Journal (later named The Morning Journal), 1922- present
Census Microfilm Lorain, Erie, Huron and Medina Counties, 1830-1920 (complete); Cuyahoga and 17 (Periodicals) other northeast Ohio counties, 1850, 1900, 1910, and 1920 (the Western Reserve area);' additional census microfilm, as well as theSoundex or Miracode (a microfilm index to the 1880, 1900, and 1910 census) are available through inter-library loan (ILL) or at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland.
Lorain County Six rolls of microfilm, listing birth and death records (1867-1908, indexed) and (Periodicals) Court Records marriage records (1824-1900, indexed), from the Lorain County Probate Court.
New England - The entire run of this magazine, from 1847, is on 25 rolls of microfilm (including Historical & an index for the first 50 years of publication); recent issues are in Special Genealogical Collections.
Ohio counties were established by the legislature. Often they were attached to older counties until they were organized. While Ohio law required counties to keep local records, younger counties were permitted to copy records from the parent county.
List Of Cemeteries In Lorain County That Have Records Not Listed In Cemetery Inscriptions Of Lorain County, Ohio 1980.
41600 Oberlin Rd., Elyria, OH 44035 (440) 322-3896
555 N. Ridge Rd., W., Lorain, OH 44053 (440) 233-5117
Elmhurst Park Cemetery
32787 Detroit Rd., Avon, OH 44011 (440) 937-5061
640 W. North Ridge Rd., Lorain, OH 44053 (440) 233-5115
33601 Detroit Rd., Avon, OH 44011 (440) 937-5363 (Church)
Resthaven Memory Garden
3700 Center Rd., Avon, OH 44011 (440) 934-6555
Ridge Hill Memorial Park
44805 N. Ridge Rd., W., Amherst, OH 44001 (440) 233-5113
Ridge & Gulf Rd., Elyria, OH 44035 (440) 322-2390
St. Mary's Cemetery
7284 Lake Ave., Elyria, OH 44035 (440) 324-2675
Wellington Union Cemetery
101 Cemetery Rd., Wellington, OH 44090 (440) 647-7671
Morgan St., Oberlin, OH 44074