More than 1 million Hamilton County (Ohio) documents - some dating to 1791 - now available online from the Probate Court that will be a boon to genealogy buffs, history researchers and anyone trying to see what happened to great grandpa's belongings when he died. The newly available documents, some 219 years old, include birth, death, marriage, estate, naturalization and other records.
The project started after Probate Court Judge James Cissell took office in 2003 and decided to preserve 1,600 books, each weighing 30 pounds, and their 1.1 million pages by digitizing them and putting them online. Before this, only documents after 1983 were available online. All of the work to place the 1.1 million documents online was done by Probate Court workers except for the $95,000 cost of a private contractor to digitize each page.
The documents are as mundane as guardianship records from the late 18th century to tidbits that mark personal moments of Hollywood stars. One of the interesting documents rediscovered during the digitization was the marriage license - much of it handwritten - of Spencer Tracy.
The new digitized documents also serve a more practical purpose. Many documents are stored in ways that physically won't last.
"If we don't do it shortly we may lose it because all that microfilm is wasting away," Cissell said. "We have 4,000 rolls of microfilm of records which are quickly disintegrating. "Once that's done, everything we have here will be available on the Internet."
The Documents are available at http://www.probatect.org/case_search/index.htm. Click on ARCHIVE SEARCH to find the older records.
You can read more at http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20091229/NEWS01/912300329.