If you are looking for Ohio death records, you shouldn't have much problem. Compared to other states that restrict vital records for privacy, Ohio is an "open record state" which means that all vital records and the information in them are open to the public. You do not need any tangible interest or relationship with an individual in order to get a copy of their death certificate.
Even though they are open to the public, you will still need to make an application to get a copy of an Ohio death record. You just need to fill in the request form and submit it with the proper fees. There are a few options for making these requests.
The main Vital Statistics office in Columbus has the collection of records for the entire state, starting in 1908 when state-wide registrations first started. You can either visit their office in person, or send a mailed in application. Also, you can get a death certificate from any local county health office as long as you are in the county where the death actually occurred. Most local offices have counter service, or you can mail your applications in. Service is usually quicker since they aren't handling the same volume of requests as the main office.
To request an Ohio death record from the main office, you can get same-day service as long as you are there before 4pm. Their physical address is the Ohio Department of Health, Vital Statistics, 225 Neilston Street, Columbus OH 43215. The counter is open Monday to Friday during standard business hours. You can usually get your documents while you wait.
Otherwise, you will have to mail your request to the Ohio Department of Health, Vital Statistics, PO Box 15098, Columbus OH, 43215-0098 USA. When sent this way, you'll have about a 3 to 6 week wait once they get your application.
You can print out the form from the Ohio Department of Health website (http://www.odh.ohio.gov/pdf/forms/hea2709.pdf). Take care to fill out the death record section or you may end up getting records you didn't intend. The same form is used for births as well. You need to identify the Ohio death record you are seeking with the person's full name, date of death, place of death, age or date of birth, and their parent's names if you know them. Also include your own contact information, though you do not need to supply a copy of your ID like you do in most other states.
If you don't know when the date of death was, you can request an additional 10-year search based on a year estimate. There is an additional $3 charge for this service and it will take longer to get your requested record back to you if they need to search.
The standard fee for an Ohio death record is $21.50 USD and you can pay for it either by check or money order. Make your payment out to "Treasurer, State of Ohio". If they can't find your record, you aren't issued a refund because you are paying for the search itself.
If you would like to make a request for Ohio death certificates, follow these steps:
You will need to fill out an Ohio Death Certificate form to make your request.
The last name of the deceased and the time frame are the minimum amount of information required. Keep in mind that additional search fees apply if the exact date is unknown.
Return the completed application, along with a check or money order in the amount of $21.50, to the address listed below.
If you have questions regarding accessing Ohio death records, you can contact:
Ohio Department of Health
P.O. Box 15098
Columbus, Ohio 43215-0098
Ordering Ohio Death Records
The Ohio Department of Health is the department that you will need to contact in order to request Ohio death records. Standard processing times take three to six weeks from the point that your order was received.
Different Ordering Methods
To make requesting Ohio death records easier, there are five different ordering methods from which you can choose. You can visit the local health department where the death occurred or the State Health Department in person and make your request. You can make a request by mail. You can also order online through the Department of Health or through a third party vendor.
Public Record Access
In Ohio, death records are considered to be public knowledge. This means that any member of the public can request Ohio death records, provided that they pay the fee and known the particulars of the event. Additional fees may apply if the exact date or other information is unknown.