Births & Baptisms
Since December 20, 1908, Ohio state law has required the recording of all births on standard birth certificate forms. Prior to that date Ohio counties and some cities began keeping birth records. Birth records at Hamilton County Probate Court run from 1863 to 1908. The City of Cincinnati also created birth records from 1874 to 1912. Many births were not recorded, but registration improved by the turn of the 20th century. Church baptismal records provide supplemental information, particularly for births prior to these dates and births not registered. Birth dates and parentage can sometimes be determined from Death Records, Death Notices and Obituaries, and Cemeteries.
19th century baptismal records
The five HCGS books, Selected Hamilton County, Ohio, Church Baptism Records – Early through 1899, contain indexes of Protestant baptisms in Hamilton County, mostly in Cincinnati. Roman Catholic baptisms are not included in this series. Each entry in the index includes a reference to the source microfilm. To obtain information from these books:
See "To obtain a copy of the original record" below.
Roman Catholic Baptisms
HCGS has published three indexes of baptisms from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, two of baptisms in Hamilton County and one of baptisms outside Hamilton County:
Archdiocese of Cincinnati Roman Catholic Baptism Records - Early – 1859 Excluding Hamilton County.
Authored by Jeffrey G. Herbert and Julie M. Ross. Published 2019. This index contains the names of over 18,800 Roman Catholic baptisms recorded in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati prior to 31 December 1859. The present archdiocese is located in the western and southwestern portion of the State of Ohio. The source material for this work is the microfilm copies of original baptismal registers which were kept by the individual parish churches and are stored at the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. This index contains baptismal records of all existing Roman Catholic Churches in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati except for Hamilton County, Ohio, which is covered in a separate set of publications (below). There are 19 counties in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, of which one is Hamilton County. Early records from the town of Minster, Ohio, in Auglaize County list the place of origin in Germany for many of the founding families. This information has been extracted as a separate list and is included in the introduction to the publication.
Hamilton County, Ohio Roman Catholic Baptism Records - 1850 – 1859.
Authored by Jeffrey G. Herbert and Julie M. Ross. Published 2018. This index (two volumes) contains the names of over 42,300 Roman Catholic baptisms recorded in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio between January 1850 and December 1859. The source materials for this work are the microfilm copies of original baptismal registers which were kept by the individual parish churches, and are stored at the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. This index contains baptismal records of all twenty-five existing Roman Catholic Churches in Hamilton County, Ohio between January 1850 and December 1859. Due to the size of the publication, it has been divided into two books. Part 1 (412 pages) covers the last names beginning with the letter “A” through “L”, and Part 2 (328 pages) covers the last names beginning with the letter “M” through “Z”.
Hamilton County, Ohio Roman Catholic Baptism Records - Early – 1849.
Authored by Jeffrey G Herbert. Published 2018. This index contains the names of over 17,500 Roman Catholic baptisms recorded in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio prior to January 1850. The source materials for this work are the microfilm copies of original baptismal registers which were kept by the individual parish churches, and are stored at the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Although the diocese was founded in 1821, the oldest surviving records in Hamilton County are for Holy Trinity Church and date to 1834. The surviving records for the first church, St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, begin in 1839. This index contains baptismal records of all ten existing Roman Catholic Churches in Hamilton County, Ohio prior to January 1850.
Published Full Indexes
The full indexes are published in the books and contain for each baptism: name of child, date of baptism, father's and mother's names if available, church, and record page if available. The books are available:
- The Hamilton County Early-1849 volume and the Hamilton County 1850-1859 volumes are available as reference works at the downtown Main library (3rd floor) and the Madeira, Anderson Township, and Green Township branches of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH). The Archidocese of Cincinnati Early-1859 Excluding Hamilton County volume will be available at the PLCH libaries in the Spring of 2019.
Public Online Abbreviated Indexes
Abbreviated indexes are available online at the followng links that contain the name of each child and the year of baptism for each baptism:
From the record found in the abbreviated index a search can more readily be made of the published full index described above to find the actual date of baptism, parents' names, and the specific church.
To obtain a copy of the original record (Protestant or Catholic)
For Protestant baptisms indexed in the "Selected ..." series of books visit the PLCH, CHLA or LDS Family History Center to view and copy the original baptismal records from microfilm. The source microfilms referred to in the index for the original baptismal records are available at the PLCH, CHLA, and LDS. NOTE: The LDS is digitizing their microfilms and placing them online on their FamilySearch.org website. These are available to registered users of the website (free). Some of the microfilms referenced in the Selected... series are now available online. Go to the FamilySearch.org catalog search page, log into the website, click on Film/Fiche Number under Search For and enter the film number in the box. In the resultant search if the film number has a little camera icon click on that.
- Obtain copies of Roman Catholic baptismal records from the Historical Archives of the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
1863 - 1908 civil birth records
Images of birth record index cards for the City of Cincinnati from 1874 to 1912 are in a searchable database, Cincinnati Birth and Death Records, 1865-1912, created by the University of Cincinnati Archives & Rare Books Library.
Hamilton County Probate Court recorded births from 1863 to 1908. The best source for these records is Ohio, County Births, 1841 – 2003, a searchable FamilySearch database. Probate Court’s Birth Records (1863-1908) has a typed index rather than a search engine. Each record spans a single line across two pages, so scroll down to see the next page.
Delayed birth registrations for births as early as the 1860s are in Ohio, County Births, 1841 – 2003. Filed between 1941 and 1964, these records contain extensive details. The FamilySearch index brings up the first page of the record. Go forward one page to see the second page of the record and more information.
Post-1908 birth records
- The Ohio Department of Health holds birth certificates from December 20, 1908 to the present. Vital Records has instructions and forms for ordering a birth certificate from the state office. However, if you know where the person was born within Hamilton County, such as within the cities of Cincinnati or Norwood or elsewhere in the county, you can also order the certificate from:
page modified: 01/17/2019 RTB