Wood County Courthouse Records
Ohio Clerk of Courts
In 1802 the Ohio State Constitution provided for the
appointment of a clerk of courts for each county. The clerk
of courts was appointed by the judges of the court of common pleas for a
term of seven years. The Constitution of 1851 changed the
office to an elective office with a term of three years. In
1936 the term was extended to four years.
The clerk of courts maintains the records of the court
of common pleas and various courts which have exercised appellate jurisdiction
on the county level. The records of the common pleas court
pertain to all civil cases in which the amount or matter in dispute exceeds
the statutory jurisdiction of county or municipal courts, and all criminal
cases except those misdemeanors which are vested by statute in an inferior court.
This court also holds appellate jurisdiction from decisions
of the board of county commissioners or inferior courts, such as mayor's,
county, municipal, or police, located within the county.
Until 1851, the common pleas court exercised jurisdiction
in probate and testamentary matters, when the probate court was established.
The records of the several courts which have exercised
appellate jurisdiction on the county level include those of the supreme
court (1803-1851), the district court (1852-1883), the circuit court
(1883-1912), and the current court of appeals.
The clerk of courts is required by statute to file a
complete record of all cases. In addition, the clerk must maintain an
appearance docket, a trial docket and duplicate trial docket, a journal,
an execution docket, and indices to these records. Throughout
the history of this office, the clerk has acquired additional filing duties,
such as recording notary commissions (1858), partnership agreements (1894),
trademarks and brands (1911), copies of federal court judgments (1898),
special police commissions (1867-1935), certificats of judgment which would
be considered as liens (1935), and motor vehicle ownership (1921).
Additional duties of the clerk of courts is the issuence
of all orders for the arrest of defendants, arraigns the accused and reads
the indictment to him, and administers all oaths and affirmations required or
authorized by law. Further, upon conviction or rendition of judgment, the
clerk prepares an itemized bill of the court costs.
From 1856 to 1867, the clerk of courts maintained a list
of births and deaths within the county and transmitted annually to the
secretary of state an abstract of the list; from 1864 to 1893, the clerk served
as the county supervisor of elections; and currently, the clerk serves as a
member of the county records commission.
Below, various records that have been kept over the last
two centuries are listed by Court, Type, and Retention Schedule. Retention
Legal: A record possesses legal value if it documents or protects the rights
or obligations of citizens or of the agency that created it. Records having
legal value were to be retained until those legal rights or obligations expired.
Historical: A record possesses historical value if it documents an agency's
organization, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities;
or if it contains significant information about people, places, or events.
Administrative: A record possesses administrative value if it is used by the
office or agency to carry out its duties. Administrative value is based upon
how often the record is used by office personnel and whether a program would
be curtailed upon disposal of the record.
Fiscal: A record possesses fiscal value if it pertains to the receipt,
transfer, payment, adjustment or encumbrances of funds, or if it is required
Permanent: If a record possesses permanent value then it refers to permanent
preservation of information. This may be accomplished by permanently retaining
the original records in the office, reproducing them on microfilm, establishing
a county archives, or transferring the records to the appropriate network center.
Those records that are marked Retention Obsolete are the least likely to exist
today, while those with Retention Permanent and Legal are the most likely to
be found in the Clerks records. The description of what information each type
of record contains will be added at some future date. Those types so marked
permanent will be entered first.