Friday, June 1, 2012

Good News, Bad News

The Good News
The Pennsylvania death certificates I ordered on February 13 arrived today. On my way down the driveway to run errands I stopped to check for mail. There was one of my colored envelopes! As eager as I had been for its arrival I decided to wait and open it when I could savor the moment. I was certain that the certificate for Fred Gerner, my great-grandfather, would give his parents' names and that I would find the birth date of my great-grandmother, Tressa Froman Doyle.

The Bad News
There were three certificates in the envelope, two of which were blurry, and only one of which was for one of my ancestors. Tressa's certificate was perfect. Fred's certificate was not there.

My first thought was that the employees at the Pennsylvania Vital Records office had confused my order with someone else's and we had received the other person's certificates by mistake. Then when I looked at my research log I remembered that Fred's certificate number in the online index was not completely legible. It seems it was even less legible than I thought because those kind people who work in the Pennsylvania Vital Records Office sent certificates for both possible file numbers -- both of which were wrong.

I'll look at the Pennsylvania Death Indices again. Fred's number probably won't be any clearer but maybe I can determine another option for a number based on these two certificate numbers and their dates. Or maybe I can make a screenshot and enhance it with photo editing software.

I'm beginning to think Fred's parents don't want to be found!

If you've ordered Pennsylvania death certificates, have they arrived yet?


  1. Nancy - I am glad to hear that you did get one death certificate! I have found those indices to be very challenging!

  2. Nancy - does it really take as long as they say on the website to get certificates - 14-16 weeks? I've sent in for a few recently. Hoping it doesn't take that long, but ready for the long wait anyway....


  3. Kim, yes it did take nearly 16 weeks for my certificates to arrive. I ordered two different times and both took about the same amount of time. Perhaps they'll get speedier as time goes on....


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