Search: Bertillon Cards

Thank you for visiting the Ohio History Connection's Ohio Incarceration Records Index Search: Bertillon Cards. Please refer to the accordion menu below if you have specific questions about using the index.

  • Bertillon Cards, for inmates admitted 1888-1923, from the Ohio Penitentiary and Ohio Reformatory.

Please note: we do not have cards for all inmates admitted to the Ohio Pentitentiary and Ohio Reformatory. Over the years, cards have been lost or destroyed.

Please contact reference@ohiohistory.org and/or check the out our catalog for other incarceration records.

Copies cost $7 per record (Ohio residents pay 7.5% sales tax, so one record would cost $7.53).

Copies of records can be made in-person in the Archives & Library for $0.25 per page.

Generally, Bertillon Cards contain the following:

  • Portrait and profile photographs
  • Hair color, eye color (detailed), skin color, and complexion
  • Height, weight, and build
  • Place of birth and age
  • Various body measurements and descriptions of facial features
  • Parole and discharge dates
  • Date measured, where, and by whom

Please note: some cards may not contain all of the information listed above; sometimes fields were left blank.

Some cards may have more information, such as notes on previous imprisonments, information about the crime comitted (including what, where, etc.), or information about their death.

Not convinced you want one yet? You can see a copy of a card on Ohio Memory: Mattie Brooks Bertillon Card.

Order non-indexed incarceration records by filling out this form: Archives Library Reference Form (scroll down for the form.)

If you cannot find the inmate you are looking for, it might be due to a transcription error. However, in most cases, it is because we do not have a Bertillon Card for that individual. Over the years, cards were lost, damaged, destroyed, and/or scattered, so we have significant gaps in our collection. All the cards we have are in the index. Check out our resources to learn about alternate sources, including our Bertillon books.

You can visit the Online Collections Catalog to do this.

Go to the "Search Collections" box > enter text into the box. Make sure that you enter the institution/government department's name (e.g. Ohio Penitentiary) and/or record type (e.g. admission records), not personal names, into the search to see if we might hold the particular kind of incarceration-related record you in which you are interested. You can enter combinations of search terms/filter results too.

Price may vary! The price depends on how much research must be done to find the records. You can contact reference@ohiohistory.org for pricing information for research and/or copies of non-indexed public record.

You will likely receive a paper copy by postal mail of Bertllion records. At this time, we are unable to offer electronic copies to patrons, save for the select few cards that have been digitized.

If you would like for more items to be digitized and available online, please consider making a donation to help make this possible. Make sure to mention supporting digitization of Archives & Library material in the comments area.

Typically, your order will arrive in 2-3 weeks.

Try "wildcarding" your search an asterisk (*) or alternate spellings of the name. Such as Cha* Smi* instead of Charles Smith or John Saunders instead of John Sanders.

Also keep in mind that over the years, cards have gone missing or have been scattered/destroyed; we might not have a card for that person. Check the Online Collections Catalog to look into our resources to help you with your research.