Hamilton County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 15865
Cincinnati, Ohio 45215-0865
Telephone:  (513) 956-7078

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A chapter of the
Ohio Genealogical Society

Marriages and Divorces

 
 
Marriages: Hamilton County Probate Court (HCPC) began to record marriages in the early 19th Century.  Unfortunately, due to three courthouse fires in 1812, 1849, and 1884 these civil marriage records are incomplete.  The earliest available civil marriage records date from 1817.  Only since the 1884 Courthouse Riot and Fire are these records considered complete, although many of the earlier records had been “restored” from family records submitted to the court in the years immediately after the 1884 fire.  Due to the incomplete nature of the earlier civil marriage records we also utilize church marriage records in our Hamilton County research.
 
Divorces: See the section on Divorces below for Information on divorce records in Hamilton County.
 
Restored Hamilton County Marriages Index 1808-1884
 
Over 128,000 marriages from 1808 through 1884 have been abstracted from the records of 60 Protestant churches, 49 Catholic churches, the HCPC records, and from marriage notices in several newspapers by Jeffrey G. Herbert.  These have been published in five books – Restored Hamilton County, Ohio, Marriages 1808-1849, 1850-1959, 1860-1869, 1870-1884, and Supplements 1850-1884.  Each index entry has the names of the couple, marriage date, the institutional or newspaper source, and the archival or film record source.
 
Members-Only Online Full Index
  • Search the complete index of entries from the five books via the Marriage Index 1808 - 1884 database at this website.  The full index entry will be given in the search results for HCGS members who have logged into this website. If you are not a member you can Join HCGS (for as little as $15/year) and have access to this database.
Public Online Abbreviated Index
  • Abbreviated indexes from the books are available in searchable Acrobat PDF files via the table below according to the first letter of the Last Name of either the Bride or the Groom.
  • An abbreviated index entry consists of names of the couple, year of the marriage, and the institutional or newspaper source.  The exact date of marriage and the archival or film record source are excluded from this index.
 
Other means of obtaining index references
  • Order an index book (if still in print) by using the Shop & Support page.
  • Contact HCGS Research Services to request look-ups for 50 cents per name (members) or $ 1 per name (non-members) and/or $10 for 1 hour research for members ($20 for non-members).
  • Check WorldCat to find the books in other libraries. Click on the specific volume title, scroll down, enter your zip code and click on Find Libraries.
  • For those index books that have been microfilmed, request the microfilm from the Family History Library at Salt Lake City at a Family History Center near you.
Acquiring a copy of the marriage record
 
The method of acquiring a copy of the original marriage record will vary according to its record source: 
  • If a microflim is referenced, such as "LDS 1514042 / PLCH MF929.377178 C744," the original record source is a microfilm available at the PLCH, CHLA, or LDS.  In most cases the LDS and PLCH film catalog numbers are provided in the index.
  • If the record source is "Episcopal Archives" contact the Episcopal Disocese of Southern Ohio. Note, however, that Availabiltiy of current and historical records currently unknown.
Marriages Recorded in Hamilton County, Ohio, 1870 - 1899
 
Twenty nine years of marriages recorded by the Hamilton County Probate Court have been indexed into four books titled Marriages Recorded in Hamilton County, Ohio - 1870-1899, by Kenny Burck. These index books are available as follows:
Once you have found the index of the marriage you can obtain a copy of the marriage record via the methods described in the next section.
 
Probate Court marriage records 1817-Present
 
Copies of all county civil marriage records can be obtained from the Hamilton County Probate Court (HCPC), including those that remain from prior to the courthouse fires.  Digital images are available online for free from the HCPC website for certain time periods.  The Mormon LDS FamilySearch website also has many records in digital image form.
  • If you are looking for a marriage from before 1950 the recommended first step is to use the  Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1950 collection on the LDS FamilySearch website.  This collection has a seachable computerized index.  Enter the names of both spouses for the search.  When the correct entry is found then click on it and then retrieve the image. To retrieve some of these record images you will need to log into the site.  Registration is free if you are not already registered.
  • Secondly, go to the Marriages page on the HCPC website. Read the paragraph under the title Index Books for more detail on using the indexes and obtaining a copy of the marriage record.  Note that for marriages prior to 1984 you will need to use the Marriage License Index (1817-1983) whereas for marriages in 1984 to the present you will need to use the Marriage License Index Search feature.
Probate Court marriage banns 1900-1949 - Updated!
 
Marriage Banns are records of marriages that were solemnized at a church with the notice of marriage having been first published on two different days of public worship.  15,882 Marriage banns recorded in Hamilton County Probate Court (HCPC) between 1900 and 1949 have been indexed by HCGS members.  Note:  Banns for the years 1900 - 1903 are now included (as of 18 November 2015).  23 Banns of marriage occurring before 1900 were recorded in these later volumes. These are sorted into two searchable PDF indices:
Marriage banns prior to 1900
 
HCPC Marriage banns from 1883 through 1899 have been indexed and complied by Kenny R. Burck in the five-volume series Marriages recorded in Hamilton County, Ohio (Little Miami Publishing) which are for sale in the Shop and Support section of our website and are available as reference volumes in the Genealogy and Local history Dept. at the Downtown and Anderson branches of the PLCH.
 
Acquiring a copy of the marriage bann
  1. Note the Volume and Page numbers.  
  2. Go to the Marriages page on the HCPC website.
  3. Click the radio button before the title Marriage Banns 1883-1953.
  4. Enter the Volume and Page numbers and click on the GO button.
  5. Note that each page contains two banns (may need to scroll down). 
Divorce records
 
Divorce cases are handled by the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.  Divorce records start in 1840 and are quite complete beginning after the 1884 Courthouse Riot & Fire.  Records are maintained by the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts for the Court of Common Pleas at the following location in the Hamilton County Courthouse:
 
Hamilton County Clerk of Courts
Common Pleas Paper Room
1000 Main Street, Room 315
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Phone: 513-946-5692
Fax: 513-946-5690
Hours: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
  • When requesting a copy of a divorce case record it is best to retrieve/request all record pages from the Divorce Petition through the Divorce Decree in order to gain the most information.
  • An index of 19th Century and early 20th Century divorce cases is contained on microfiche in a file cabinet in the Paper Room in Room 315 of the Courthouse. This index is not available online.  If you find a case number in the microfiche index ask one of the clerks there for assistance in finding the record on the microfilms.  You may be asked to complete a Document Request Form (see item below).
  • Divorce cases from the mid-20th Century to the present are indexed on the Clerk of Courts website. You can search the Clerk of Courts case number index online via the Name Search feature.  It is recommended to use the Comprehensive Name Search. Divorce cases will be among those under the Common Pleas Case # column, older case numbers beginning with the letter "A", later cases with the letters "DR".   For the A cases click on the case numbers one-by-one since some of these will be other types of cases.  For each A case number click on the Party/Attorney Information link on the right.  If the names of the spouses only are shown as the Plaintiff and the Defendent then the case is likely a divorce.   DR cases are always divorces and the names of the Plaintiff and the Defendent will appear next to Case Caption.  Make note of the Case Number, date, and names of parties, then retrieve a Document Request Form.
  • A Document Request Form can be found on the Common Pleas Forms page.  Click on the Document Request Form link to obtain the latest version of the form.  Once completed you can submit the form in person in Room 315, by postal mail, or via fax.  If submitted via mail or fax and you want to pick up the pages in person when the copies are ready be sure to provide your phone number.
  • The Ohio Department of Health also has an index of divorce cases from January 1, 1954 to present.  Contact customer service at the phone number given for search assistance.
  • Members of the Ohio Genealogical Society can also search a statewide Ohio Divorce Index covering cases from January 2, 1962 and December 31, 1996
 
 
 
page modified: 05/18/2017