Ohio Public Records

Ohio’s has two versions of a freedom of information act. The Ohio Open Meetings Law, Ohio Rev. Code § 121.22 et seq. is Ohio’s version of a sunshine law and mandates that public meetings have to be conducted in a certain way, and that many public meetings must be open. However, certain types of public meetings are exempt, including parole meetings, medical board meetings, real estate transactions, some types of law enforcement meetings, and certain types of personnel matters. The Ohio Open Records Law, Ohio Rev. Code § 149.43 lists what type of records are available for inspection or copying under the law, what agencies are impacted, the fees those agencies can charge, and who can ask for records. Anyone can request the records, requests can be made anonymously, and there are no restrictions on the use of the records. The law also contains exemptions, including personal bank records, adoption records, medical records, probation and parole records, and certain law enforcement investigative records.

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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Ohio

More About Ohio

Ohio is the nation’s seventh-most populous state. In 2016, its population was estimated to be 11,614,373. The largest city in Ohio is Columbus. Ohio has a thriving economy and is considered a good location for business for a number of reasons, including a favorable business tax structure. It also plays an important role in manufacturing. Ohio’s emerging bioscience sector means that people from around the globe are drawn to Ohio for business opportunities. Like many other highly-populated states with thriving economies, Ohio has many residents who are from out of state. Therefore, keep in mind that if you are running a background search on someone who is currently in Ohio, you may need to include other states or even other countries to get a full picture of that individual’s background.


Public Records in OH

The state of Ohio does not maintain a single repository of public records, but most of its public records can be found by looking through multiple databases. There are three main categories of public record in Ohio: vital statistics, land/property records, and criminal histories.

Property Records

Property records refer to any type of record that impacts the ownership or characteristics of real property. These records may describe the property, describe conditions placed on the property, discuss the tax liability attached to the property, or describe ownership.

Land Records

Ohio does not have a state-wide database of land records. Even historic land records need to be found in the county in which the land is located.

Property Tax Records

In Ohio, each county maintains its own property tax records. These are handled through the county auditor’s office, and the county auditor maintains records of land descriptions and the tax history and taxes due on each parcel of land. This includes a GIS mapping system of parcels in the county and a history of transfers and conveyances.

Deed Records

In Ohio, the county auditor does not only handle tax information, but is also in charge of recording transfers and conveyances of real property. Therefore, deed and title history can be found through the auditor’s office.


OH Vital Records

In Ohio, the health department, which is called the Ohio Department of Health, is responsible for maintaining vital statistics, including: birth certificates, death certificates, marriage, and divorce records.

Birth Records

The Ohio Department of Health has several ways for people to obtain birth certificates. Individuals can obtain birth records from the city or county vital statistics office where the event occurred. Except for sealed adoption records, Ohio birth records can be obtained at any Ohio vital statistics office. In addition, they can be ordered online or in the mail.

Death Records

The Ohio Department of Health allows people to request death certificates in the same way as birth certificates. Individuals can obtain death records from the city or county vital statistics office where the event occurred. Ohio death records can be obtained at any Ohio vital statistics office. In addition, they can be ordered online or in the mail.

Marriage Records

While the Ohio Department of Health does maintain a marriage registry, which allows people to verify whether a marriage occurred, it does not maintain copies of marriage licenses or certificates. That information is located with the county clerk in the county where the license was issued or the marriage occurred.

Divorce Records

The Ohio Department of Health does maintain a divorce registry, which allows people to verify whether a divorce occurred but does not maintain copies of divorce decrees or any type of divorce certificate. The divorce decree can be found by going to the clerk of the court that granted the divorce.

Learn About Criminal Records in Other States


Learn about Ohio criminal records or read about public records in another state from the list below: