Research Library

The Library at the Portage County Historical Society contains a wealth of information on Portage County. The Library is non-lending and much of the material is one of a kind. It is important to handle material with extreme care. We are always looking for donations of family histories and Portage County related material. Please call (330-296-3523), write or email- you have something that would be of interest to a fellow researcher. The library depends on donations of material to continue to offer the researcher information on history and genealogy. Thank you for supporting us.

The Archival Library is available to Society Members Only. Special collections, photos, maps and ledgers are available to the serious researcher. Appointments are necessary to view any of this material.

Portage County Historical Society, 6549 N. Chestnut St. Ravenna OH 44266


Thursday 2-5 pm and Saturday 9:30 to Noon (Closed First Saturday of the month.)


Please read our Library Use Policy before your trip.

If a request for research of family or Portage history is sent please note that it may take up to 6 weeks or longer for a reply. Our staff is all volunteers and our hours are very limited. If the request is mailed you must include a self addressed stamped envelope for a reply. If request is sent by e-mail,, a volunteer will do limited research and you will be notified of any costs.

The following is a partial listing of some of the topics on the shelves and in the files.

Family Histories and Genealogies - Includes Books & Papers from over 950 families. Surnames files may contain papers, photos, personal papers, hand written notes, newspaper clippings and more.
Alphabetical list by book title
The books on this list are not for sale. Copies can be made of almost any item in the files and from the books. Copies are 25¢ per page. Entire books are not copied due to copyright laws.

County History Material - Books, papers, personal notes, court material. To see a listing of books featuring Portage County that we have available for purchase click here

Scrapbook Index (The index listed on this web site is of surnames only.)
Index to over 180 scrapbooks located in the library. Notebooks in the library contain a complete index of each scrapbook by page number, not in alphabetical order.

Township Histories - Books on shelf & each of the 20 townships has a file drawer with material. Files may contain 1930 cemetery readings, hand written historical papers, photos of people, information on businesses, parks, and other general items.

There are file drawers for the city of Kent and Ravenna, Businesses within the entire county and for Portage County Schools, Organizations, and Churches. Military files includes lists of Portage County soldiers, news items and more.

If you are researching a home or property be advised that we do not have land deeds at our facility. We do not have a historical program in place for historical or century homes. We do not have financial aid available for restorations. The Ohio Historical Society has a program under historic preservation.

Marriage licenses from 1808-1852 - Not every year & not all licenses within year. The County Probate office will have the complete records.

Probate Court Records-- Wills & Estates 1817-1900+
[Not every year & not all wills or estates within year.] There is an index available for all wills and estates within our facility. For complete information go to the Portage County Probate Court office. An index book published by the Portage County Chapter Ohio Genealogy Society is available for purchase.

Early Tax Records of Portage County--We no longer have these records. They are now at the County Archives.
The Portage County Archives/microfilm is located at 7988 Infirmary Rd., Shalersville Township
The phone number is 330-297-3849.

Cemetery Books - For all townships within the county, Volumes I - XIII

cemetery books for sale
by Portage County Chapter Ohio Genealogical Society

Obituaries From Newspapers 1994-2004 - The library also has scrapbooks containing miscellaneous obituaries with no set dates or time periods.
Poll Book Transcriptions- list of voters over age 21, various townships and years
Tavern Licenses Transcriptions-various townships

Diaries - Indexed by Author Only and date if known

Census Microfilm for Portage County

Ohio Federal Census Indices for 1820-1880--(1870 only for Portage County) no index for 1840.

Newspaper Microfilm
Garrettsville Journal 1867-April 1910
Western Courier 1837
Ohio Star 1852-1854
Ohio Star with anti-Masonic Jan 1832-Dec 1833
Kent Courier 1889-1929 [many years missing]
Portage Sentinel Jul 1845-Apr 1861--Nov 1861-Feb 1862
Portage County Democrat Apr 1863-Mar 1964

Ohio History, Western Reserve History and a few books from Trumbull and Summit Counties are included in our library.

For additional County information check the following sites:

The Portage County Archives/microfilm is located at 7988 Infirmary Rd., Shalersville Township
The phone number is 330-297-3849.

Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland,Ohio
Reed Memorial Library in Ravenna Ohio
Kent Free Library
Hudson Library
Akron-Summit County Library

Warren-Trumbull County Library Warren, Ohio
Ohio Memory Project

The Ohio Historical Society's Ohio State Bicentennial Project