Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library (CHPL)
Formerly the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (PLCH)
800 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Genealogy and Local History Department: 513-369-6905
Magazines and Newspapers: 513-369-6973
- 19th Century U.S. Newspapers
- Ancestry Library Edition (use in CHPL branches only)
- Biography and Genealogy Master Index
- Findmypast (use in Main library and Harrison branch)
- Fold3 History & Genealogy Archives
- Newsbank: Cincinnati Post
- Newspaper Archive
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Cincinnati Enquirer (1841-1922)
- ProQuest Obituaries
Visiting the Library
Main Library hours: Monday – Tuesday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.
Disabled patrons may use a CHPL parking lot on Ninth Street between Vine and Walnut Streets. Other patrons may park on the street at meters (free on Sundays and after 5 p.m.) or park in the Garfield Garage on Ninth Street ($2.00 on Saturdays).
Hamilton County genealogical records in CHPL
The Genealogy and Local History Department at CHPL (on the third floor) has one of the five largest genealogical collections in the U.S. The scope of the collection goes far beyond Cincinnati and Hamilton County to offer materials from all fifty states and many foreign countries. For this page the focus is on Hamilton County. Use the CHPL catalog to find specific books and microforms, and note the special resources below.
Note: The Genealogy and Local History Department is temporarily housed in the Cincinnati Room and only a limited number of books are on view. Make an appointment and request material in advance to ensure materials are available when you arrive.
African American collection
Census holdings for Hamilton County
- Population census schedules, 1820-1940
- Agricultural census schedules, 1850-1870
- Mortality schedules, 1850, 1860
- Industry/manufacturing schedules, 1850, 1870, 1880
- Defective, dependent and delinquent schedules, 1880
- Veterans census schedules, 1890
Family histories and surnames
CHPL has over 12,000 family histories. Surnames are indexed in the catalog if mentioned at least three times in a book’s index.
The Genealogy and Local History Department houses the Surname Index, a cabinet with hundreds of file cards that index many of the older family histories in the collection (these surnames are not indexed in the online catalog). The Coat of Arms Index in this cabinet is a surname index to books on family crests, shields and other heraldic materials.
The Department also has a Surname File of information submitted by researchers. Ask a librarian for the file drawers with the names you’d like to see.
Hamilton County Probate Court records
Microfilm including administrations, guardianships, birth and death records, inventories, marriage banns and indexes, probate entries, will indexes and wills
Local History Index in the Genealogy and Local History Department
About 60 years ago, a group of librarians resolved the problem of poor or no indexing in dozens of older Hamilton County history books by reviewing these sources word for word and creating index cards listing people, places, businesses, historic events and general topics. Each card provides the book title, call number and page number for locating the information.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1887-1950 (very detailed; the 7,500 sheets for Hamilton County have a scale of one inch to 50 feet)
- Library of Congress Land Ownership Maps
- 19th century cadastral or land-ownership atlases (U.S.), including Hamilton County maps for 1847, 1856, 1869, 1884
- By-area indexes to deeds and mortgage transfers, 1789-1903
- NEWSDEX indexes Greater Cincinnati obituaries, death notices and news articles
- 66 Cincinnati and Hamilton County newspapers (including locally published German and religious newspapers), on microfilm . For information contact the Information and Reference Department at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- “Historical Cincinnati Newspapers (microfilmed)” has alphabetical and chronological lists of newspapers held by PLCH, starting in 1793
Other Hamilton County record collections
- Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati collection
- 8,000 Veterans Grave Registration Cards
- Cincinnati Bicentennial Microfilming Project, including records of 122 Protestant churches, cemeteries and funeral homes. See the complete list in A Guide to Genealogical Resources in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
- Registered Voters of Hamilton County, 1886-1978, including the 1890 list in the Digital Library
Yearbooks including many more added since 2003