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Cuyahoga County Genealogy Tips

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The following tips and links are some of those found most useful to the genealogist researching in Cuyahoga County. Cuyahoga is a marvelous county for its wealth of online research sites.



  • Name not found in Census
If your ancestor had a surname that was subject to misspellings by the Census taker, there may still be a way to find him.
  1. Using one of the online services such as Heritage Quest or Ancestry, first find a census entry that DOES contain your ancestor. For instance, he is found in the 1920 but not the 1910 and you know he should already be here in your city.
  2. Next look around on the 1920 Census page for someone who owns their property and has stated that they arrived in the U.S. prior to the Census year you are having problems with (such as 1910). It helps to find a property owner whose name is easy to spell, then it is less likely that the Census taker would have written it down wrong.
  3. Armed with this property owner's name, search the 1910 Census for him. If you are lucky, your ancestor will be found living nearby.
Presently, the censuses from 1820 thru 1930 are available online (some only on pay sites). The 1940 Census should be released to the public on April 1st or 2nd of 2012 following a 72 year privacy mandate.

  • Using Obituaries to Find Missing Ancestor
So the technique above wasn't helpful? An alternative is to search the Cleveland Necrology database for an obituary that mentioned the street where your ancestor lived. Preferably, you want the name of a person who died around the right timeframe (ie. 1910 as in our example above). Use the keyword option and remember that the necrology's search function doesn't allow you to search for phrases, so a search for 3546 Main Ave. would have to be done in two phases. First search for 3546 as the keyword, then refine you results with the keyword Main.
Now you may have the name of someone who rented a house near your relative, so back to the Census search and use this new name you've found.

These techniques aren't always successful, but at least it gives you a couple of additional weapons in your arsenal. Sometimes you just have to be a detective in genealogical endeavors.

Where to Look

  • Date of Birth
The following documents usually contain an individual's birth date
Birth certificate
Death certificate
Elementary School Permanent Record Cards
Social Security Death Index
Naturalization documents
WWI Draft registration
WWII Draft registration
  • Date of Death
The following documents can contain an individual's date of death
Death certificate
Deed transfer upon death
Obituary (usually gives month and year, occasionally actual date)
Social Security Death Index
  • Name of Parents
The following documents can contain the parent's names
Birth certificate
Death certificate
Elementary School Permanent Record Cards
Marriage license
Social Security application
Obituary (occasionally)
  • Place of Birth
Social Security application
Death Certificate (occasionally)
Birth certificate

Genealogical Resources

Early Birth Records

Cuyahoga County Archives
Email requests to archive@cuyahogacounty.us
Documents are called "Return of Births"
Years available: 1867-1908

Marriage Records

Probate Court of Cuyahoga County
1 Lakeside Avenue - Cleveland, Ohio 44113
216-443-8764 or 216-443-8765
E-mail - pccpc@cuyahogacounty.us

Death Records

The Church of Latter Day Saints (Ohio Death Certificates from 1908 to 1953).
View the actual image online. Ability to zoom and pan, also to save a copy to your harddrive. No fee. Searching has multiple optional filters. Also, names are returned that are sort of like what you entered. What is nice about this is that if you are searching for a Polish given name of Wincenty, the search engine is smart enough to recognize that that is the equivalent of Vincent and adds those into the results.

The Stark County Library (certificates from 1908 to 1953)
While the Stark County Library is obviously not in Cuyahoga County, however, it is still a valuable resource because they have the microfilm collection of Ohio death records from 1908 to 1953, and apparently another collection starting at 1867 (Early Ohio Deaths).
Stark County Library

Akron Library or Ohio Historical Society
Look up the death certificate in the online index provided by the Ohio Historical Society.
Fee is $7.00
For a more economical solution, send an E-mail to the Akron Library with the certificate number and date. Include your mailing address. They will send a bill along with the records. Limit is 5 certificates per E-mail and 2 E-mails per month.

The Ohio Health Dept (Certificates after Dec 1953)
Fee $16.50

Cemetery Records

  • Catholic
Records for all the west side Catholic cemeteries can be found at:
Holy Cross Cemetery, 14609 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, OH 44142
Lat: 41° 24' 49"N,
Long: 81° 47' 49"W
Some Holy Cross transcriptions

City Directories

Cleveland - 1837
Cleveland - 1837, 1845, 1846, 1848, 1850
Cleveland - 1863-64
Cleveland - 1900


(< 1975) -- Full text
A collection of obituaries prior to 1975 can be found on the Cleveland Public Library's Necrology site. OCR (optical character recognition) was used to scan the Cleveland Press obituary columns so expect that some artifacts may have creeped into the text. Names can be mis-spelled and dates may be in error. You have a variety of ways to search the database: By Name, by keyword, by date, etc. Then you can also sort the records by either name or date.

(> 1975) -- Index only
Some fairly current obituaries can be found on the Cleveland.com website.
They actually have three separate sections.
  • One is the current date's obituaries.
  • Then there's the one for the last 6 months.
  • And lastly, the one for obits that extend back to about 2000. Not every obit is in that latter section.


Akron Library Genealogy Collection
1900 Census
1900 Census files
1930 Census tips
1907 Voters Reg.


Index to Naturalizations



Early Settlers Association of the Western Reserve

West Side

Bay Village Historical Society
Berea Historical Society
Brooklyn Centre Community Association
Brooklyn Historical Society Museum
4442 Ridge Road
P.O. Box 44422
Brooklyn, OH 44144-0422
Lakewood Historical Society
Middleburg Heights Historical Society
Olmsted Historical Society
Rocky River Historical Society
Westlake Historical Society
West Park Historical Society

East Side

Bedford Historical Society
Brecksville Historical Society
Cleveland Heights Historical Society
Cleveland & Eastern Interurban Historical Society & Museum
Garfield Heights Historical Society
Slavic Village Historical Society
Western Reserve Historical Society


Polish Genealogical Society
Slovenian Genealogical Society

World War I Draft

All males born between 18 Sep 1872 and 12 Sep 1900 had to register for the draft. This registration included not only United States citizens, but also all Aliens.



Geauga County Auditor
Geauga County Court
Lake County A wealth of information here.
Lorain County Auditor
Medina County Auditor
Summit County Auditor


David Rumsey Maps (18th and 19th century maps)
University of Alabama Map Collection
Brown University's rare map collection
U.S. Land Patents and Plat Maps
An exciting new set of records are available that show you early land patents (deeds). In addition, this site also allows viewing of Plat Maps (Federal Lands). Not all states have been scanned in yet. The detail on some plat maps is very enlightning. A map for a ranch in Idaho showed the house, barn, corral, stream, marsh, etc.

Common Given Names by Nationality

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