Search in:
    Find:

    Death Notices, Obituaries, and Death Certificates

    How To Obtain Cleveland-Area Death Notices and Obituary Articles (1830s to present) and Ohio Death Certificates (1908-1953)


    CLEVELAND-AREA DEATH NOTICES
    AND OBITUARY ARTICLES, 1830s to PRESENT
     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEATH NOTICES AND OBITUARY ARTICLES
    Death notices are notices of death that are placed in the newspaper by family members or funeral homes. They can include as much or as little information as the family would like to supply. Since there is a fee charged for their publication and they are not prepared by news reporters, these notices are considered paid advertisements by the newspaper industry. Obituary articles (news obituaries) are prepared by reporters, include a biographical sketch of the deceased, and are subject to the editorial process of the newspaper in which they appear.

    HOW TO LOCATE CLEVELAND-AREA DEATH NOTICES AND OBITUARY ARTICLES FOR...

    The last few months
    As published in the Plain Dealer, visit the following link:
    http://obits.cleveland.com/obituaries/cleveland/

    RESEARCH TIPS: 
    It is common practice today for funeral homes to provide extended death notices on their websites.

    For information on locating a date of death, see the paragraph titled "How to locate a date of death using available indexes" below in section on Ohio Death Certificates. 

    The period 1976 to the present
    Cleveland Public Library maintains an up-to-date index of all death notices and obituary articles that appeared in the Cleveland Press (1976-June 1982) and Plain Dealer (1976 to the present). The online index is accessible at: Cleveland News Index  (This is an index only; full-text is not included. Please see the "Obtaining Photocopies" section at the bottom of this page for complete information about obtaining copies of actual death notices and/or obituary articles. The research tips below may also be helpful to you.)

    RESEARCH TIPS:
    Library users may search the online Plain Dealer database for obituary articles (news obituaries) published since 1991. The Plain Dealer database includes full-text of articles published from 1991 to the present, but does not include any death notices or images. 

    The Library also offers the Cleveland Call & Post as a digitized, full-text searchable database (with images included) for the period 1934-1991, as well as partial content from 1992 to the present through the Ethnic Newswatch database. 

    Please refer to the list of Research Databases on the Library's Genealogy page for details about access to these databases, as well as for a list of other Ohio & U.S. full-text-searchable newspapers offered by Cleveland Public Library.  

    The period 1833, 1847-1848, 1850-1975
    Prior to 1976, Cleveland Public Library clipped death notices from the local newspapers and maintained a file of notices known as the Cleveland Necrology File. The Library later converted this file to a full-text database, which can be accessed free-of-charge by anyone with Internet access: The Cleveland Necrology File. The database permits searching by name (last name/first name or last name only) or by keyword. Using the keyword search, you can search for combinations of names and words (such as addresses or funeral home names) that may have appeared in a death notice. Search results can be sorted by date or alphabetically by last name. NOTE: The Cleveland Necrology File database includes the complete full text of death notices as published.

    RESEARCH TIPS:
    To determine if an obituary article (news obituary) on the person you are researching appeared in the newspaper prior to 1976, please email the Library's History & Geography Department at history@cpl.org for additional research. Provide the full name of the deceased and birth and death dates (or years) as known. Please note that, historically, obituary articles were written only for prominent individuals. 

    Refer to the Research Tips above (for the period 1976 to present) for information about access to full-text-searchable historical newspaper databases at Cleveland Public Library.

     

    OHIO DEATH CERTIFICATES (1908-1953)
     

    Cleveland Public Library patrons can view and copy any death certificate issued in the state of Ohio from December 20, 1908, through December 31, 1953. Death certificates may include: place of death; gender; race; marital status; date of birth; age; occupation; birthplace; parents; date of death; cause of death; place of burial; date of burial and undertaker.

    The Library’s collection of Ohio Death Certificates (1908-1953) is on microfilm located in the Microform Center on the first floor of the historic Main Library Building at 325 Superior Avenue. Please see the section on "Obtaining Photocopies" at the bottom of this page for complete information about obtaining copies of actual death certificates.

    How to locate a date of death using available indexes: If you do not know the date of death, first try finding the date in the online Ohio Death Certificate Index, which covers 1913-1944: http://www.ohiohistory.org/dindex/. You may also search the microfilm indexes to the Death Certificates (1908-1953) in the Microform Center to find an exact death date.

    RESEARCH TIPS:
    You may also try searching the Family Search trial database (which features death certificate transcriptions) at the following location: http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#start

    Another option for finding death date is the Social Security Death Index:
    http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

    Obtaining death certificates issued before 1908 and after 1954: Although death certificates were not required by  Ohio law until 1867, death records were often kept. For information on how to obtain records issued before 1908 in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, please refer to page 3 of the Cleveland Public Library’s online Genealogy Research Guide. For information on how to obtain certificates issued in Ohio from 1954 to the present, visit: http://www.odh.ohio.gov/vitalstatistics/vitalstats.aspx

     

    OBTAINING PHOTOCOPIES
     

    HOW TO OBTAIN COPIES IN PERSON
    Anyone may visit the Library’s Microform Center (Main Building, First Floor) during open hours and make self-serve copies for 10 cents each.

    HOW TO OBTAIN COPIES BY EMAIL, TELEPHONE, OR POSTAL MAIL
    Each request must contain the following information as appropriate:

    Death Notices & Obituary Articles (1976 to Present)
    1. Name of the deceased
    2. Date of death (If exact date is not known, give the approximate date.)
    3. Citation information from Cleveland News Index (newspaper, section, page.)

    Death Certificates (1908-1953)
    1. Name of the deceased
    2. Date of death (If exact date is not known, give the approximate date.)
    3. Last known place of residence (city, village, township, etc.), if known
    4. Death Certificate Number, if known. (See section above titled “How to locate
        a date of death using available indexes.”)
    Note: The Library provides only uncertified copies of death certificates.

    Copies for Ohio Residents (3 or Less Copies)
    If you need 3 or fewer certificates within any 4-month period: Please contact the Microform Center directly by e-mail (fastest): microform.center@cpl.org or by regular mail: Microform Center, Cleveland Public Library, 325 Superior Ave., NE, Cleveland, OH, 44114. Copies will be mailed to you free-of-charge. Please remember to include your regular mailing address in any e-mail request.  We regret that we cannot accommodate telephone requests for free copies.  Please include the required information as outlined above.

    Copies for Ohio Residents (More Than 3 Copies)
    If you need more than 3 certificates in any 4-month period: Please contact our Photoduplication Office via e-mail at photodup@cpl.org (preferred) or telephone (216-623-2901). Please include the required information outlined above. Photoduplication Office will provide you with a cost estimate and will request payment before any copies are made.

    Copies for Out-Of-State Residents
    Please contact our Photoduplication Office via e-mail at photodup@cpl.org or telephone (216-623-2901). Please include the required information outlined above. Photoduplication Office will provide you with a cost estimate and will request payment before any copies are made.

    Alternative Option: Ohio Death Certificates from the Ohio Historical Society
    You may also wish to order your copies of Ohio Death Certificates (December 20, 1908-1953 only) from the Ohio Historical Society, which provides an easy online form for ordering multiple copies: http://www.ohiohistory.org/resource/database/odci_faq.html