Cuyahoga County OHGenWeb


Cuyahoga County is made of immigrants who came for jobs, for freedom, for religion, and many other reasons. Many settled in neighborhoods with the people who shared their language and social customs. Many restaurants and other businesses, churches and schools sprang up adding to the special ethnically diverse and yet cosmopolitan urban climate.

Photos by Laura Hine. Left Lighthouse at Whiskey Island. Right Erie Canal Terminus at Heritage Park.


Manifests were created when people bought tickets or boarded the ships. Few of these are available, although some, like the Hamburg Passenger Lists have been made available. Bremen Passenger Lists (recreations) are here. Be sure to click "English" on the bottom left. Some British Departure lists and others are also available.

Records we normally use are the passenger arrival lists. Created by the ship Captain, this list was created for those disembarking the ship. These lists were required to be kept by the U.S. ports since 1820.

US Ports of Arrival and their Available Passenger Lists by Joe Beine - start here to see all the passenger arrival lists organized by State.

FamilySearch - go to this site and check each State name to see what they have in the way of passenger lists.

One Step Webpages by Steve Morse has great searchers for passenger lists which filter and can search with different criteria.


Naturalization was the process of a non-citizen becoming a citizen with all the rights and responsibilities of a native-born citizen. Very early it entailed taking an oath of allegiance. Processes became more complex as time went on, and the more recent the records, the more information is on them. Generally the person was required to be in the country for a certain amount of time like 1-2 years and then he made his Declaration of Alien Intent - "DOA" or "First Papers." When he had resided in the country for 5 years (different in certain time periods, and for circumstances such as soldiers and minors) he could petition for citizenship. For many years documents could be done in any court of record with a seal and a clerk.

A good place to start is the indexes done by Computer Assisted Genealogy Group and other volunteers:
Cuyahoga County Probate Court on GenWeb Archives
If a record of interest is found, visit or email the Cuyahoga County Archives for copies.

The Common Pleas Court and U.S. District Court naturalization index by CAGG has been lost. However, the cards that were indexed are on FamilySearch. Go to "Ohio, County Naturalization Records 1800-1977." If you use the search box here, you will find the index cards for Probate discussed above. But near the bottom, select Browse through over a million records. Select Cuyahoga, then go half way down the page to Naturalization Cards. Many of the actual records indexed are in this same record group.

There are two volumes of Naturalization abstracts on FamilySearch in the same place that give the name, place of origin, arrival month and year, and date and place of D.O.A. from 1820 to 1854.

Records are rapidly becoming available on FamilySearch, often searchable, as a result of a huge community indexing volunteer group.

Laura Hine has created a finding aid for the naturalization records on FamilySearch as of August 2014 which is very useful.

An index to naturalization records created in the United States District Court, Cleveland, 19071946 is on Original images are available on Fold3. (If you have a Cuyahoga County Public Library Card you can access these records for free from home on Fold3. Go to: and click on Research, then Electronic Resources, enter your library card number and password, choose Genealogy on the left, then Fold3. Once you are on the Fold3 page, on the far right click Browse and then choose Naturalizations, then documents, then Naturalizations OH Northern, and then choose a letter for the last name you are interested in.)

Cleveland and its Neighborhoods

Following is a list of ethnicities with links to a great website by Laura Hine and Richelle Emery.

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This page was created 14 October 2013 last updated on 26 January 2015.

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