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# Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I'm Going to the Courthouse!
Posted by Diane

I've been itching for a chance to do in-person research at the courthouse where my ancestors lived ever since an archivist researcher recommended research there.

My great-grandmother spent two years in the Cleveland State Hospital before her death in 1926, and I requested a search of hospital admission and discharge records at the Ohio state archives (the hospital registers are closed to the public, so I couldn't view them myself). The archivist sent copies of the records (all names obscured except my ancestor's) with a suggestion to check the Cuyahoga County probate court for a commitment hearing.

The probate court handles wills and estates, marriages, guardianships and adoptions. When I contacted the court, I was told the staff doesn't fulfill research requests, but I was welcome to go in person to look for the record.

So my chance is coming up with the Ohio Genealogical Society conference April 12-14 in Cleveland! I'm super-excited—it's been awhile since I've done hands-on research.  

I figure while I'm there, I also can look up some other records: a great-uncle's marriage that's just a hair too recent to be on Family History Library microfilm, as well as some relatives' probate files.

I looked up the courthouse website and called to verify research hours and find out about any special requirements.

I also searched for case file numbers in the probate court online Case Records Search System an index that provides information including names of parties, dates and case numbers. (Not all courts have this type of index, but a web search on the county and court should find one if it does exist.) That should make most of my searching relatively easy, knock on wood.

But the index doesn't go as far back as 1924, when the commitment hearing would've happened, so I'm crossing my fingers hard that a hearing took place. I'll keep you updated on how it goes.


court records | Genealogy Events
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 4:48:58 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [2]
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:37:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Good luck on your research trip. I went to the courthouse in Sunbury, PA to do some research. I went on a whim since I was already in PA visiting my family. I learned a few things. 1) Go by myself. My mom went along and everytime she found someone with the last name I was researching, she would point it out to me. 2) Make sure I am better prepared. I could have printed a family group sheet prior to making the trip.

I did learn that some of the records I will need to look at are in the basement of the courthouse. That should be a fun experience.

Amy
Amy
Saturday, January 21, 2012 6:16:03 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Diane,
As a Cleveland area native I am excited to hear you will be researching in my neck of the woods. If you have time, may I suggest you visit the Special Collections Dept. at Cleveland State University. They are open from 10-5, M-F. In their Cleveland Press photo collection is a large folder of photos from the Cleveland State Hospital. If I remember correctly there are several photos of patients around the time period your grandmother would have been living at the hospital. I did quite a lot of research on this facility for my master's thesis. It had a long and interesting history. Hope to see you in April!
Judy MacKeigan
Avon, Ohio
Judy MacKeigan
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