Old Pa. birth, death records available online beginning Feb. 15

Old Pennsylvania birth and death records will be accessible beginning Feb. 15, two state agencies said.

The state health department and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission are putting birth certificates from 1906 and death certificates from 1906-1961 online at the health department’s website; once on the site, click on “Birth and Death Certificates.” Each year, a new year’s worth of records will be added to the site.

Records before 1906 will be at the county level, according to a news release from the state.

The online records will also be available at the state archives, 350 North St. in Harrisburg. They’re being made public under a law, which Gov. Tom Corbett signed in December, that makes birth certificates public records 105 years after they’re issued and death certificates public 50 years after they’re issued.

The state says researchers who go to the state archives should know the year of the event, spelling of the name they’re looking for and/or the county of birth or death.

Access is free, but it will cost $3 to order non-certified copies through the health department’s website. The state archives could charged copying fees, or research fees for mailed or emailed search requests.

About Scott Blanchard

Sunday editor at the York (Pa.) Daily Record/Sunday News. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.
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3 Responses to Old Pa. birth, death records available online beginning Feb. 15

  1. Pingback: Buffy's World | Don’t miss: Summer camps to dinner and movie in Glen Rock to Penn State football reporter Frank Bodani

  2. James A Smtih says:

    They posted indices NOT actual certificates. You still have to mail them or go in person. Really a crying shame because Missouri has a digital archive website and it’s AWESOME for doing genealogy research. They have pictures, coroner reports, maps of counties with the names of property owners right on the piece of the map they owned, on and on, and really wonderfully done. I’m lucky to have tons of Maternal relatives there, but my Paternal lineage is in PA and they make it absurdly difficult to obtain information without spending hours and hours to acquire it. I wonder how much they are profiting from this racket of keeping our dear grand dads records from us until we pay.

    • James, good points. In Pennsylvania, seems like there’s always a quandary: Do you view it as a sign of progress when Pa. dips its toes into something that many other states have been comfortable with for years, or do you criticize the small steps Pa. takes as not enough?

      I could probably answer “yes” to both. I’m sure others could, too. It is frustrating, though, to be met with Pennsylvania’s limitations when you’ve worked with a state that does it well.

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