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Religious Records Research at the Archives & Library of the Ohio History Connection

Religious Records Research

Records from religious institutions contain information about life events such as birth, marriage, and death when government records do not exist. Clues are provided that may lead to other records. They give us a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. We can learn about what was important to them, their church or synagogue, its theology, and its activities, and their community.

These records may contain:

Jewish Birth and Circumcision records

Christian Baptismal and Christening records

Jewish Bar and Bat Mitzvah Ceremonies, Jewish coming of age ceremonies for boys and girls

Christian Confirmation records

Marriage records

Death, funeral, and burial records

Ministerial records- these are important as many ministers recorded every baptism, marriage, or funeral they performed

Individual Church and Synagogue Records

Church and Synagogue histories


Denominational newspapers and periodicals

Church forms, 1936-1941. [State Archives Series 1160] contains listings of Ohio churches, created by the Works Progress Administration. Each form includes church name, address, pastor's name, brief history of church, list of church records, and list of any secondary sources which mention the church.

Our Religious Newspaper and Jewish Newspaper collections are available for research in print and on microfilm our Archives & Library. Some Ohio Catholic and Jewish newspapers have been digitized on Chronicling America.

Getting Started

The best way is to search the Online Collections Catalog. We hold records for a variety of religions, some of which are listed on the pages to the left of this site.  Suggested search terms are included. Individual record sets are linked to our Online Collections Catalog for more information.

You cannot search an individual's name to see all the religious records that might be available concerning the person. You may wish to search by the county and town where they lived such as “Fairfield County “and “Church”. You can also search by the name of the church, the denomination, or the type of record you're seeking.

Digitized materials from our holdings are available on Ohio Memory, a statewide digital library.

If we do not hold records for a particular religious institution, you should contact the church or the denominational archives directly. 

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