Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pennsylvania Certificates Online - Tuesday's Tip

Hooray for Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania for making some of Pennsylvania's birth and death certificates available to the public. What a boon to family historians. It's only been a week or so since they went public but the Pennsylvania Vital Records office is probably inundated with requests. I know I've sent for five death certificates already and I've just started. I think I'll give them a break from more requests from me for a month or two.

Did anyone else get lost trying to find the non-certified certificates page? I went directly there from the link at Claudia's Genealogy Blog. When I went back a day or so later I ended up at the site where one can request certified copies for $9.00 each. As a family historian I'm happy with the $3.00 version of the records. I thought I'd share step-by-step images and links for anyone else who wants to order Pennsylvania Birth or Death Certificates.

This page explains how to search; has links to the indexes; gives information about downloading and completing the order form; and gives the address where to send it. These certificates are non-certified and cost $3.00 each.
Act 110 - Public Records. http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/public_records/20686

If you click on the link for births on the screen above, you'll be taken to a screen that looks like the one at left.
Public Records - Birth Indices.

If you click on the link for death indices at the Act 110 - Public Records screen, you'll go to a screen that looks like this. Click on the year the person died. If you don't know the year, begin with a reasonable guess & keep track of which years you searched.
Public Records - Death Indices

When you click on a year the next screen you see will give you an alphabetical option. Choose based on the last name of the person whose certificate you're hoping to find. (This is a screenshot for 1926.)
1926 Alphabetic Surname choices

After you click on the letter you'd like to search, be patient. The files are large and may take a minute or so to download. Use the column on the left to take you closer to the surname you're searching. If you don't find your surname immediately remember to check for spelling variations. (My Gerner was Gener.)

The "Genealogy Requests" screen is for certified copies and the cost is $9.00. Unless you need a certified copy, click "Public Records" under "Birth and Death Certificates" in the column on the left to  download the form to request a non-certified death certificate.

Have fun searching. I hope you find everyone you're looking for and that all your certificates give the parents' names and places of birth.



  1. Thank you for this post explaining how to use the PA site . Pennsylvania is know to genealogists as part of the Bermuda Triangle of information that the seek....JLK/NK

  2. NKJLK, you're welcome for the post. I hope it's helpful to you. Bermuda Triangle is the perfect description for those PA certificates until just last week. After ordering 5 of them, I'm hopeful that I'll actually receive them.

  3. Nancy - I'm curious. Did you receive the vital records you requested? The site makes it look as if you must be a relative and prove a relationship before they will send you the records. What was your experience?

    1. Cynthia, yes, I received the records. The website makes it confusing by giving two different forms. I think the one you looked at is the "old" form. For genealogy (non-certified) records, use the downloadable form at http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=18&objID=1223486&mode=2.

      Do you have Pennsylvania ancestors, too?


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