Important Information for Genealogists
We have three major collections of interest to genealogical research:
Note: The records of Highland County Ohio have been returned to that county. Inquiries regarding those records should be directed to Highland County Government Offices - http://www.highland-co.com/ or to the Ohio Historical Society - http://www.ohiohistory.org/
Q: How can I contact the Library?
A: You may contact the library via email, regular mail service, or phone, for a variety of general reference questions. However, we do not answer genealogical questions by email or phone. You must still send genealogical requests to the library using regular mail service and the genealogical records request form.
Our contact informaion:
Mail: Archives & Rare Books Library
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210113
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0113
Q: Do I need to make an appointment to use the library's collections?
A: Yes. Because of limited staffing, appointments are required, particularly if you are traveling a distance or intend to conduct extensive research. Please call 513/556-1959 to schedule an appointment. The staff can prepare materials in advance, and some materials are located in remote storage centers, requiring several days to retrieve.
Q: Is the library closed during the lunch hour?
A: No, the library remains open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Q: Is genealogical research service available?
A: No. We will provide records from the three specific record sets of genealogical interest noted above. However, we do not conduct general genealogical research. We offer a mail records request service for those patrons unable to visit our facility. Print, complete, and mail the genealogical records request form, to the address listed on the form. We do NOT accept genealogical requests via email or phone, though you can contact us in those ways for more information about making a request.
If you wish research to be conducted in collections beyond those available through our mail service but you cannot visit personally, we recommend consulting the Hamilton County Genealogical Society website at http://www.hcgsohio.org/research.shtml for a list of professional researchers.
Q: Do you have birth and/or death records?
A: Yes. We have birth records for the City of Cincinnati covering 1874-1908 and death records for the City of Cincinnati covering 1865-1908. These records have been digitized and are now available online.
Births and deaths inside the City of Cincinnati corporation limit after 1908 may be obtained by contacting the Cincinnati Health Department:
Vital Statistics Office
1525 Elm Street, 4th Floor, West
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (513) 352-3120
Fax: (513) 352-1420
Births and deaths before 1909 in Hamilton County but outside the City of Cincinnati may be obtained through the Hamilton County Probate Court. These records have been digitized and are freely available online at http://www.probatect.org/courtrecordsarchive/bukcats.aspx.
Brths and deaths after 1908 in Hamilton County may be obtained by contacting the Ohio Department of Health:
Ohio Dept. of Health, Vital Statistics
35 E. Chestnut St.
P.O. Box 15098
Phone: (614) 466-2531
Q: I know that the person I'm looking for was born or died in Cincinnati within the dates of your records. Why is there no record available?
A: Before the State of Ohio assumed responsibility for recording births and deaths in late 1908, there was no requirement for recording such events. We find that about fifty percent of these events were actually recorded. The absence of a record in this collection does not necessarily mean that the event did not happen here. To document these events, you can try searching for church records as described in the next question.
Make sure that the area you are interested in is indeed within the city limits. Due to annexations, the boundaries of Cincinnati changed many times through the years. A Cincinnati neighborhood map is available here and a map showing annexation dates up to 1944 is available here. St. Bernard and Norwood are within the border of the City of Cincinnati but were never annexed into the city and maintained their own records.
Q: Where can I find birth and death records for Cincinnati before 1865/1874?
A: The City of Cincinnati did not keep death records before 1865 or birth records before 1874. For events before these dates church records or cemetery records are a good source. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's Genealogy and Local History Department has some published indexes for baptisms and burials that may be helpful. Two major Cincinnati cemeteries have their records available online, Spring Grove and Walnut Hills. You can also check our will index, which goes back to 1791, for death information.
Q: What do those "cause of death" terms mean on the late 19th and early 20th century death certificates?
A: Genealogy volunteers created this list of medical terms explaining what the late 19th century medical terms mean and how these translate into modern language usage.
Q: Do you have citizenship records?
A: We have Declarations of Intention for Hamilton County Ohio covering 1837-1916. A transcription and an index are available online: Hamilton County Ohio Citizenship Records, 1837-1916. The original records cannot be photocopied, however you can visit the Library and take non-flash photographs of the records. The transcriptions contain the complete information from the original records.
Q: Do you have wills and estate papers?
A: We have wills for Hamilton County covering 1791-1901. An index is available. Our records include the will and may include some probate documents. However, we do not hold the estate or administration papers for these wills. The Hamilton County Probate Court has estates freely available online at http://www.probatect.org/courtrecordsarchive/bukcats.aspx.
Q: My ancestor attended the University of Cincinnati. What records do you have that could be helpful to genealogical research?
A: Each issue of the Cincinnatian yearbook has been digitized and is available online at http://drc.libraries.uc.edu/handle/2374.UC/658/browse?type=title as a searchable PDF file. Alumni directories, student directories, and student newspapers are available by visiting the Library. The News Records from 1960-1970 have been digitized and are available and searchable at http://digitalprojects.libraries.uc.edu/newsrecord/.
The Archives and Rare Books Library does not have student academic records, which are still maintained at the Registrar's Office. Release of historic student records is done at the discretion of the University Registrar. Contact information can be found on their web page.
Q: Do you have marriage records?
A: No. You should contact the Hamilton County Probate Court Records office, which has microfilm of all marriage records. Phone: (513) 946-3551. The Probate Court has digitized many of its marriage records and has made them freely available online at http://www.probatect.org/courtrecordsarchive/bukcats.aspx.
Q: Do you have census records?
A: No. Census records are available at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's Genealogy and Local History Department.
Q: How do I obtain a copy of a record?
A: Complete the Genealogical Records Request Form and remit a check or money order for $10.00, payable to the University of Cincinnati, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Response time is typically 2-3 weeks. The $10.00 fee is the minimum amount we assess and will cover 1-40 pages of photocopies. For more than 40 pages, you will be billed for the additional amount when we send your documents. You may also visit the department in person and obtain copies for 25 cents/page.
Patrons must sign in for the day on the register at the reference desk. By signing the register you indicate an understanding of these library rules and a willingness to abide by them. A photo I.D. is required, and will be held while research is being conducted. Coats, briefcases and other belongings, other than papers, pencils and reference material are not allowed in the reading room. Personal belongings may be kept in lockers provided for that purpose.
All cell phones and pagers MUST be turned off while in the Archives & Rare Books Library.
UCLID printouts or call slips are to be presented for materials to be retrieved. Call slips can be obtained from the reference desk.
Materials in the library do not circulate and are to be used in the reading room or reference area.
Smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited.
Materials must be handled with particular care. Many of them are old, rare, valuable, unique, and are easily damaged. Lay books flat on the table. Books must be supported as evenly as possible to prevent strain on the bindings. Never rest books against the edge of a table, prop them against a pile of other books, hold them up off the table by the corners of the boards, or place them in your lap. Do not keep a book open with other objects or rest your hand or arm on the pages. Acid from skin can be damaging to the paper. Heavy weight on a binding can place undue stress on the spine. Never lay open books face down on the table or piled up on top of one another. Turn pages slowly and carefully.
If you find uncut pages, please take the item to the reference desk. Never try to cut them yourself. In some instances the uncut state is bibliographically significant and an alternate copy of the item may have to be supplied.
Clean, acid-neutral strips of paper to be used as markers are available at the service desk. Never use ordinary paper for a marker or an insert; the acid in it can migrate to the pages of the book.
Only pencils may be used in the reading room and will be provided if needed. Never mark pages or write on paper laid on top of a book or other library materials. Tracing of maps or illustrations is not allowed. Laptop computers may be used but are not supplied. Wireless network is available.
It is important that manuscript and archival materials are maintained in their processed order. Please do not rearrange or remove items from a collection, and report any materials which are out of order.
Photocopying services may be requested. Some materials may not be copied because they are fragile or because of legal or contractual reasons. Requests may be made up until 4:30 p.m. Requests made after that will either be mailed or can be picked up the following day.
We would be grateful if you would bring any damaged material to our attention so that we can arrange for repairs.
When you finish with your materials, please return them to the reference desk.
Retrievals and photocopies will not be made after 4 p.m. and are always contingent on staffing levels. For this reason, it is advisable to call in advance of your visit.