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Probate Court Records

Normally, when it comes to Court records, the Clerk has the responsibility of maintaining Court records. Under Ohio law, the Probate Judge serves as his / her own Clerk, and is responsible for the care and safekeeping of all Probate records. The Court maintains many records that are open to the public. The following is a guide that will assist you in searching for Probate records, as well as provide alternate sources for obtaining records. These alternate sources primarily serve those persons conducting genealogy research.

Guide to Probate Records

What are Probate Records?

Probate Records are documents and/or filings, which chronologically records proceedings in the Probate Court. Typically, parties on their own behalf or with the help of an attorney, file an Application or Motion to open a matter under the jurisdiction of Probate Court. The Court then responds to these filings in the form of Entries (Orders).

Where are the records for Probate Court located?

The Probate Court’s address is as follows:

Shelby County Probate Court
100 E. Court Street
Courthouse, Second Floor
Sidney, Ohio 45365
Operation Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
General Information Number: 937-498-7263

What does the Court’s record inventory consist of?

Marriage records 1825 to the present
Estates, guardianships, etc. 1825 to the present
Birth and death records 1867 through 1908

For death records from December 20, 1908 thru December 31, 1944, contact the Ohio Historical Society www.ohiohistory.org or 1-800-653-6446.

For birth records from December 20, 1908 to the present, and for death records from January 1, 1945 to the present, contact the Ohio Department of Health www.odh.ohio.gov or (614) 466-2531.

Please go to Links for additional genealogical research sources.

The following is a list of the types of cases one would find in Probate Court:
  • Adoptions
  • Birth Certificate Corrections
  • Birth Records
  • Chiropractors’ Licenses
  • Concealment of Assets
  • Construction of Wills
  • Declaration of Validity of Wills
  • Declaratory Judgment
  • Delayed Birth Registrations
  • Determination of Heirs
  • Estates
  • Guardianships
  • Land Sales
  • Legitimizations/Acknowledgement of Paternity
  • Marriage Licenses
  • Medical Registrations
  • Mental Illness
  • Midwife Records
  • Minor Settlements
  • Names Changes
  • Naturalizations
  • Physicians Certification
  • Presumption of Death
  • Registration of Doctors
  • Registration of Nurses
  • Trusts
  • Will Contests
  • Wills on Deposit
  • Wills

 

In what format are records maintained?

Active cases:
Cases that are currently active in our court consist of the actual case file, as well as being able to view party information and the docket through the Court’s case management system. There is a public access computer set up in our lobby for this purpose.

Closed cases:
The actual case file for closed cases can be found in our office for the previous 12 years only. However, closed cases can be viewed on either microfilm or microfiche in our lobby.

Adoptions
Adoptions granted prior to January 1, 1964 are not confidential, however, they are not open for public viewing. An adult adoptee, at least 21 years of age, is entitled to receive the contents of their file maintained by the Department of Health. The Department of Health must be contacted directly by the adoptee in order to obtain the proper form and instructions on filing.

Adoptions granted January 1, 1964 and after are confidential. An adult adoptee, at least 21 years of age, may file a Petition for the Release of Adoption Information with the Probate Court that granted their adoption, if possible. If that Court is unable or unwilling to process the Petition, the adoptee may also file their Petition in either 1) the county where the adoptee resides within the State of Ohio, or 2) any county in the State of Ohio if the adoptee does not know if he was adopted in any court in the State of Ohio. Whether or not any information can be released depends on if a Release was signed and filed by the birth parent(s).

Shelby County Probate Court charges a fee of $50.00 to file a Petition for Release of Adoption Information, which is non-refundable if no information is found or if no information is permitted to be released.

Birth and Death Records
These records are found in docket books located in our lobby.

Civil actions
These records can be found on microfilm or microfiche in our lobby.

Marriage records
These records are found in docket books located in our lobby.

Mental Health records
All case documents are confidential and are not available for viewing.

Naturalization Records
These records are found on index cards in a container in the Clerk’s Office. Please ask the Clerk to view these records.

Medical Registrations, Midwife records, Physicians Certification, Registration of Doctors, and Registration of Nurses
These records, dated 1928-1977, may be viewed on microfilm or microfiche in our lobby.

Other public records
Case files that are public records can be found in the Clerk’s Office (we maintain actual case files in our office for the past 12 years only), and all are available for viewing on microfilm or microfiche in our lobby once they are closed.

How can I obtain copies of records and what are the fees?
You may come into our office during normal business hours and locate the record you are searching for. If you need assistance in locating your record, we will be happy to assist you.

Once you find the record you are searching for, if that record is on microfilm or microfiche, you can make copies directly from the microfilm/microfiche reader, that is located in our lobby. If the record is located in a docket book, we will make the copy for you.

If you cannot come into our office to do your research, you may send us a request in the mail. You must tell us the type of record you are looking for, the name of the person, and the approximate date of the record. You will need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for us to mail any copies back to you. If you are unsure of how many pages the record will consist of, you may first email your request to the Court (juvenileprobate@shelbycoprobate.org), and we will then reply back via email with the total number of pages and what the exact cost will be. You will then need to send payment for the copy costs as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Upon receipt of those items, the Court will mail your copies to you.

Copy costs are $0.10 per page. A certified record is $3.00. A personal check will be accepted ONLY for Ohio residents; all out-of-state customers must pay by certified check or money order.

How long does the Court retain records?

Rule 26 of the Rules for Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio mandates the guidelines for retention of court records. These guidelines for retention are as follows:

Adoption records – retained permanently.

Birth and death registrations – registrations dated prior to 1908 shall be retained permanently.

Civil commitment records – retained for three years after the case is closed.

Dockets, records of documents, journal and indexes - retained permanently.

Evidence filed in support of expenditures or distributions – three years after the date of filing.

Marriage license records - retained permanently.

Trust accountings - twelve years after the date the accounting was approved.

All other records - twelve years after the date the case, cause, proceeding, or matter is closed or completed.

Temporary estate tax orders – Divisions (D) and (E) of this rule do not apply to records of estates in which temporary estate tax orders are pending.
Court Records
Certified records

How to Request Certified Copies

You may come into our office during normal business hours and locate the record you are searching for.

Once you find the record you are searching for, if that record is on microfilm or microfiche, you can make copies directly from the microfilm/microfiche reader, that is located in our lobby. If the record is located in a docket book, we will make the copy for you. The Clerk will then either stamp your document with our certification stamp and seal, or will prepare a computer generated form that is a certification of the record.

If you cannot come into our office to do your research, you may send us a request in the mail. You must tell us the type of record you are looking for, the name of the person, and the approximate date of the record. You will need to provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for us to mail any copies back to you. If you are unsure of how many pages the record will consist of, you may first email your request to the Court (juvenileprobate@shelbycoprobate.org), and we will then reply back via email with the total number of pages and what the exact cost will be. You will then need to send payment for the copy costs as well as a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Upon receipt of those items, the Court will mail your copies to you.

Regular photocopy costs are $0.10 per page. A certified record is $3.00. A personal check will be accepted ONLY for Ohio residents; all out-of-state customers must pay by certified check or money order.