Title: Restored Hamilton County Marriages 1870-1884
by Jeffrey G. Herbert, Hamilton County Chapter, Ohio Genealogical Society,
Cincinnati, Ohio 1994.
Introduction from published book:
Note to Researchers
On 24, March 1884 a great tragedy struck Cincinnati. A riot started that evening in the downtown area and resulted in the burning of the Hamilton County Courthouse. This fire destroyed many of the records that had been kept previously in the courthouse, one of which was marriage license applications and returns. Apparently many of the 'older' records (before 1860) were stored in another part of the courthouse and did not sustain as extensive damage as those from the period 1860 until March 1884.
The reconstructed licenses from this period at the courthouse today comprise less than 5% of the total licenses applied for during that time period. This index is an attempt to reconstruct as much of that data as possible for the time period from January 1870 until December 1884. During this period, approximately 41,000 marriages occurred in the Cincinnati/Hamilton County area. This index contains over 36,800 marriages or close to 90% of the total number.
The primary base of information for this index is from the Cincinnati Freie Presse, which was a newspaper published in German from 1874 until 1963 for German speaking immigrants of Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Freie Presse, started publishing marriage license applications in November of 1874 and continued publishing this information for many years, however, this index ends in December 1884. Additional sources of information are the Cincinnati Daily Times, which published some license applications starting in August 1873, and the Cincinnati Volksfreund which was used to bridge some missing data in the Cincinnati Freie Presse in the 1880's. For all of these newspapers the date when the notice appeared is under the 'Date' column, and page number where the license appears is in the 'Code' column. In the Cincinnati Freie Presse and Cincinnati Volksfreund, these marriage license notices appear under the heading 'Ehe-Erlaubnißscheine' or 'Heirats-Erlaubnißscheine', which mean 'marriage permit license' or 'wedding permit license'.
These newspaper publications provide the majority of the reconstructed information, however, there are gaps where the reporter apparently didn't pick up the list for a day or the courthouse employees didn't prepare a list for a particular day. Also, as can be common even today, when a list of names appear in the newspaper, there can be many misspellings of names or typographic errors which result in an incorrect spelling of a name. To try to compensate for these errors, and also to help the researcher locate additional sources of information, church records were checked, when available and permitted, and these are so indicated in the code column. In the case where the code indicates a church, this is the actual date when the marriage occurred. When the code indicates a newspaper date, this is the date when the marriage license application appeared in the paper. In most cases, the marriage occurred within a day or two after the license was received.
The issues of Cincinnati Freie Presse, Cincinnati Daily Times and Cincinnati Volksfreund are located in the History Department of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County located at 8th and Vine Street. Many of the church records have been microfilmed and are available through any LDS (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) library. These film numbers are listed on the following pages. Copies of the records from Catholic churches in Hamilton County are located at the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
There may be a great deal of spelling variations in the way a first or last name may be spelled. This might be due to the 'americanization' of a name after the immigrant lived here for a few years. Also most of the church names where not written in English during this time. All of the German protestant churches kept their records in German and used the old German script style of handwriting, which makes interpretation very difficult. Almost all of the Catholic churches kept their records in Latin. In addition, some common spelling variations to watch for, are the frequent interchangeability of the letters 'C' and 'K' (e.g. Carl/Karl)
The unique German letters and their usual English equivalents are listed below as an aid to the reader. Any unique German letter that was recorded, would be translated as found below.
' ä ' translated into English as 'ae'
' ö ' translated into English as 'oe'
' ü ' translated into English as 'ue'
' ß ' translated into English as 'sz' or 'ss'
Some examples are as follows: (Schäfer = Schaefer), (Schröder = Schroeder) , (Müller = Mueller) , (Bußmann = Bussmann) . Letters with an umlaut are sorted alphabetically* as if they came after the letter 'Z' (i.e. ... u,v,w,x,y,z,ä,ö,ü,ß).
* Note: in the online index, the German letters are sorted with the English.