Ohio Penitentiary Records

The Ohio Historical Society holds the Prisoners’ Register (the admission books) for the Ohio Penitentiary from 1829 through 1973. These records, particularly those prior to 1900, are of real interest to genealogists as they often contain a great deal of personal information about people who are not regularly mentioned on family trees. Aside from the physical description, which includes eye color, hair color and distinguishing marks, there are the notes about behavior. These notes include drinking, smoking and religious habits but will also contain information about close family and friends: the sort of people the prisoner was likely to connect with should he escape.

You can view and make copies of these records at the Ohio Historical Center for 25 cents per page. Or you can write in to the Research Services department and request copies sent to you through the mail. We charge a fee of $12.00 for copies of the admission record if you can provide a specific citation to the admission entry. A specific citation must include the name of the prison, the name of the person being researched, and the year of admission. If you cannot provide a specific year of admission, it will be considered a research request. There is a base nonrefundable fee of $25.00 for research requests. For the $25.00 fee we will search the Ohio Penitentiary admission records for a specified time period of your choosing (within a 10-year range) for the admission entry.

If you are interested in knowing what other types of records OHS holds for the Ohio Penitentiary, access our Online Computer Catalog for information about the items we hold. You can reach our catalog at the following Web address: http://www.ohiohistory.org/occ/menu.htm. You can access our library holdings by choosing to do an “Archives/Library Collections” search. You can do a Browse Author (alphabetical by author) search for Ohio Penitentiary to see what kinds of records we have written by the Ohio Pen organization. You can also do a Browse Subject search for Ohio Penitentiary to see what kinds of items were written about the prison.

This entry was posted in Incarceration Records, Research Tools, State Archives. Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Ohio Penitentiary Records

  1. Tanna Allman says:

    I am looking for records of Wesley Allman who was given a life sentence for murder and sent to the Ohio Pen. in March 1881.

    He was pardoned by Gov.Foraker in Nov. of 1888.

    Tanna Allman

  2. Allman’s admission record should show you information about exact dates, as well as giving you quite a bit of biographical information. You can then use the exact date of pardon to track down records about the pardon process. We would suggest State Archives Series 1322 and Series 661, both of which have pardon records in them.

  3. Autumn Andrea says:

    Looking for Jim Goodridge ( James ? ) From Monroe, MI who we believe was in the Penitentiary around 1955’ish for Forgery……He may have died there or was release and dropped off the face of the planet ….any info would be helpful !

    Thank You


  4. sam says:

    i am looking to find out about sherman bartholomew who shot and killed my grandpa francesco fantin in 1912 in roswell ohio

  5. Sarah Byers says:

    I would like to find records of the dates my father was incarcerated. I believe it was in the late ’30’s or early 40’s.

  6. Billie May says:

    1940 census, Line 33: Daniel S Corey, age 60. In the prison at: The Ohio State Brick Plant ( Pennl Institution), Jackson Twp, Perry County, Ohio. Would like to find information, on why he was here and to know how to receive his files. Any information is sure appreciated.
    Thank you, Billie May
    Email me at rundog8@rap.midco.net with any information.

  7. J C says:

    If I have a Final Release from Parole form from 1941, would you be able to locate more information about the person who’s name is on the form?

  8. Debbie says:

    I’m looking for a Arthur Whitehair. Born abt. 1915 was in Ohio State Reformatory 1940 (census)
    Any info will be helpful.

  9. David Kurtz says:

    I’m looking for the registration for David A. Kurtz 133-482 at Mansfield State with any photographs that may also be available or additional information.

  10. Ronda Carrara says:

    I am trying to find records on my grandmother icy may adams, she entered the industrial school on april 8th 1930. Any info would help.

  11. Cynthia Elschide says:

    These records state you have to have more info than I have currently on my great grandfather Richard Arthur Brooks. I know he was witness and I think he owned the gun that was used by a person with him to shoot another man. Neither man reported it and the man lived long enough to tell what happened. This was done on return home from a trip to stealing chickens which was done often by this group. This happened on December 11, 1931 in Wayne County Ohio and they loved in Summit County Ohio. I have the news article of the actual event but not of any court appearance by my grandfather. My Great Uncle Herman Anderson also was in on this event but not a shooter just witness and stealing chickens.

  12. Chauntel Cole says:

    I’m looking for a man by the name of David (Dave) Shelton. I got the name from my north mother and he is my birth father. He went to jail or prison in Ohio sometime between 87-89 for rape of a 13 year old. I have no other info about him. If anyone could help me I would be grateful.

  13. Colleen says:

    I am doing some family history. I was told by my Dad that his father had a brother who had spent some time in the prison system. He was put in jail because he was considered a professional safe cracker. His name is Wilfred Parle. I am not sure on years he might have spent down there but I am guessing is would have to be in the very late 1800’s or early 1900’s. What I was hoping to find would be a picture and some history on his stay.
    Thank you for your help,

  14. Dennis D McSweeney says:

    I am seeking information on my Grandfather who was an inmate at Ohio Penn during 1911-1912 timeframe. His name was Daniel Charles McSweeney who lived in Willard, Ohio. He was registered to Ohio Penn as a result of an aggravated assault against my Grandmother. Any information, pictures would greatly appreciated. Dennis D McSweeney

  15. Jenni Harper says:

    Hi, I am looking for Roy D. Lauharn who was incarcerated sometime from 1938 to the 1940’s in Ohio. Possible names Dave Roy or Roy Dave Lauharn. He was around 21 at the time.

  16. april says:

    I am looking for the records of William Horse Reed died in the Ohio State Penitentiary in 1932.

  17. Tonia Dimitrova says:

    I am looking for information about a zatvoritsi perished in the fire. His name is George Todoroff, born in Bulgaria. More than 80 years do not know anything about my grandfather. Please help me with information on why he was in prison and there kinship in America. I would appreciate and pictures if possible. Thank you!
    This is his death certificate:

  18. Chris Holcomb says:

    I am helping my step-father research his family history. I’m trying to find information concerning a prisoner named Amiel Carlos Bent. I know he was sentenced to jail for 6 months and a 200 dollar fine in 1936 for beating and hospitalizing his 15 year old son severely after his son had attempted to steal something. This was in Xenia, Greene County, Ohio. Judge S. C. Wright presided over the son’s (Amiel Bent Jr.) hearing.
    However, I recently discovered in the 1940 census record, he is still (or again) a prisoner in Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, OH. He is a somewhat unique character. He was considered a black man in most (but not all) record, but may have been of mixed race. He was born in San Andres, Colombia and immigrated to America in 1916 at age 19 supposedly seeking to go to Meharry College in Nashville, Tennessee according to his ship manifest. He eventually lived in Xenia, Ohio with his wife Ida and several children. The 1940 census gives his prisoner number as 73441. His father (A J Bent) is listed as born in Tennessee and his mother (likely named Meckaela) is listed as “British German” under birth although they seemingly stayed in Colombia. His prior occupation is listed as “Construction – Cement Finisher”. I know he later remarried and was a carpenter in the Dayton, OH area. He had seemingly completed high school and his first language was spanish.
    I thankfully live close to the Ohio History Center, but am unsure how and where to start asking for the prisoner records. If there is a digital version, or just the raw information in a digital format, I would also be greatly appreciative if anybody could point it out. Thank you for any help people can give to me.
    In addition, I’m an archaeological anthropology student at Ohio State University and was curious if there were any current volunteer opportunities. Thank you.

  19. I’m looking for my fathers prison records and arrest in Ohio from 1958-59

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