The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center's popular online Ohio Obituary Index became even more popular Jan. 7, when Ancestry.com merged the index with its huge online database. Even though the Ohio Obituary Index remains on the Hayes Web site, http://www.rbhayes.org/hayes/index/, where access always is free to the public, the duplication on Ancestry.com has become popular in the genealogy community.
Because of the merger with Ancestry.com, orders for obituary records at the Hayes Library have quadrupled compared to last year. Orders are coming in from all over the country and the world.
The Ohio Obituary Index was compiled from original newspapers by Hayes Presidential Center Library staff and volunteers. Starting in 2001, other Ohio libraries joined the effort by entering data into the index, extending its scope beyond the holdings of the Hayes Center Library. To date, 42 libraries are partners in the Ohio Obituary Index. All 42 are indexing old and current newspaper entries, adding up to more than 1.5 million obituaries covering the years 1810-2010.
In its infancy, the Ohio Obituary Index contained a complete index of newspaper obituary notices from Sandusky County. Now, it includes indexed information from almost every northwest Ohio county. Other Ohio counties with significant index entries include Wayne, Washington, Auglaize, Ross, Gallia, Belmont, Highland, Franklin and Clark counties.