Mining Accidents and Fatalities: Clues for Genealogists

Have you ever run into a dead end concerning an ancestor who lived in Southeast Ohio? If it is possible that a member of the family worked in one of the hundreds of mines in the area, then the Annual Reports of the Inspector of Mines may be a treasure trove for you. OHS has several sources that can be used to try to trace mining accidents or fatalities. The depth of the information depends on the year when the accident occurred. There can be obstacles to finding this information; many mines existed in remote areas without real “towns” and trying to relate these mining camps to current maps can be difficult.

If the death occurred before 1909, then you will need to have a specific geographic location for the death or face the prospect of a multi-county search. To track a death record before 20 December 1908, you would need to know the county where it happened. From 1867 through 1908, county probate courts recorded deaths as line entries in ledger books. There is no statewide index to the county death records during this time frame. OHS hold some of these county probate court death records, but not all of them for each county in Ohio.

If you do not know where the death occurred, there is another option for identifying where and when the accident or death happened. The Office of the Inspector of Mines was created in Ohio in 1874. Each year the Inspector of Mines made a report to the Ohio Governor’s Office. The report listed the names of fatalities and major accidents and the mine and county in which the accident/death happened. We have the Inspector of Mines Reports for 1874-75, 1882, 1890-92, 1898-99, 1901, 1904, 1910, and 1912-13 (call number Ohio Docs OIN 146.1:874), and the Governor’s Executive Documents (call number: Ohio Docs 328.7714 Oh3e) from 1837 through 1916.

If the accident involved a fatality, the county in which it occurred is listed and the search is on for the corresponding Probate Court death record. If the death occurred after 1909, don’t forget that OHS holds the death certificates for the entire state of Ohio from 20 December 1908 through 1953.

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One Response to Mining Accidents and Fatalities: Clues for Genealogists

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