Birth and Death Records
The early records are in the Probate Office at the courthouse. A volume with the title "Births, Deaths and Marriages" located in the marriage department, contains these records for a one year period: 1 April 1856 through 31 March 1857. Births and deaths were not recorded again until 1 April 1864. The records were kept by the County until 20 December 1908. Then after 20 December 1908 they were recorded at the County Health Department.
In Mahoning County the records (after 20 December 1908 until the present time) are available at the City of Youngstown Vital Statistics Office, Located at the Renaissance Center on Oak Hill Ave.
The pre-1908 births and deaths were reported by the attending physician (if there was one) a neighbor, a parent, a friend, whoever might be going to town and would stop at the court house and tell the clerk of the event. The law about recording these events was not enforced THERE ARE / WERE NO CERTIFICATES! prior to 20 December 1908.
Eventually (in the 1880's) the tax assessor of each township started recording the births and deaths. While he was going around assessing properties he would ask if anyone had been born or had died in the last year in the family. If no one was home, the birth or death wasn't recorded, so there are many cases where there is NO RECORD, although you know a person was born or died here. The assessor wrote the information on whatever piece of paper he had handy. When he arrived at the courthouse he gave it to the clerk, who recorded the information in large volumes. Each entry was written across two pages and the large books are impossible to photocopy. If the tax assessor or clerk had poor handwriting, or the clerk was very busy, mistakes were made in the transcribing. The mistakes made may only be corrected by the individual concerned. If that individual is deceased, the mistake stands. The clerk cannot change it now. Errors are still made today, when vital statistics are recorded.
Early death records seldom mention parents' names. They were not required unless the deceased was an unnamed infant.
In the 1930's the W.P.A. indexed the ledgers and the data on the ledger pages was entered on 3x5 cards. The index cards make it easier to check the records. Because of poor handwriting, faded ink, or unfamiliarity with the names, sometimes an indexer couldn't decipher a name. In which case there was no card made for the entry and that persons' name/event did not make the card file. Plus, in the years since the cards were generated some researchers have taken cards, so please respect those researchers who will follow you and return the cards to their proper place. You must be aware of the possibility of mistakes and use the records carefully. Be sure to allow for variant spellings. If you know the approximate date of the event, the ledgers can be checked. The information in the ledgers was entered chronologically, not alphabetically, so you must have a month and year date at least. If an index card is found with the information you need, you will receive a copy of that card. The copies are accepted by most lineage societies.
From 1892 to 20 December 1908, Youngstown City deaths were recorded by the City Health Department and can be found in the Vital Statistics Office, in Youngstown. County deaths from 1922 will also be found in the City Health Department. Any records kept by individual cities are now kept at the City of Youngstown Vital Statistics Office, Located at the Renaissance Center on Oak Hill Ave.
Marriage records have been kept by the county since its beginning in 1846. Please be aware, in Ohio, parents names were not required until 1 January 1899. If either the bride or groom was under age, parents or guardians were required to give their consent. Infrequently, the parent's names were recorded. But usually the record just says, "Parent's consent given in open Court," without naming them. The one exception before 1899, is the little book mentioned earlier, Births Deaths and Marriages, which sometimes names the parents.
MARRIAGE LICENSES WERE NOT REQUIRED UNTIL 1945. A couple could be married by any licensed clergyman if "Bans" were published in the church three times before the marriage. If the officiating clergyman didn't 'return' the marriage to the courthouse - THERE IS NO RECORD at the official level.
Guardianship, Adoptions and Probate Records
Guardianship records are in the Probate Office, from 1846 to date.
ADOPTIONS ARE SEALED AND ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR RESEARCH.
Probate records (Wills and Estates) have been kept from the time of the county's formation and are available on microfilm and microfiche. Copies may be made from the reading machine and are 5 cents each page. The original Probate Records (1846 though ca 1900) are at the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Tyler History Center, 325 W. Federal St. Youngstown, Ohio 44503, and may be copied there.
Land Records, Service Discharges - Grave Registrations - Naturalization
They are found in the Clerk of Courts Office at the Court House.
The deeds, for the land that became Mahoning County, were copied from the original records in each of the parent counties. Deed copies are 10 cents per page and are made from the microfilm. If the staff is busy, you may have to order the copies and return for them later. They are found in the Clerk of Courts Office at the Court House.
We do not recommend phone calls to the various departments. The clerks are busy with today's business and can't be much help over the phone. There are volunteers from the local genealogical society in the courthouse on most Thursdays. They will be glad to help you locate the records you are seeking. The courthouse is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:30 pm and is closed on all government holidays.
Naturalization information is in the Clerk of Courts Office in the Renaissance Center, 345 Oak Hill Ave.
Other Places for Research
We have provided addresses for the libraries, etc. that have genealogical research material within their holdings, they can be found on the Research Tools Page.