Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Petition for Better Access to Pennsylvania Vital Records

I've recently heard about a group which is dedicated to a cause I believe in deeply: better access to vital records in Pennsylvania. This petition, created by a grassroots organization called People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access, calls for the creation of an online index of death records no less than 50 years old. This index would include only the name and death date, and would save both family historians and the Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records valuable time and money when requesting death certificates. It takes into account privacy concerns, while still pointing out the fact that the process for obtaining death certificates in Pennsylvania is not at all friendly to family historians. As they point out on their website, "The information a requester is expected to supply is quite often the very information a requester is looking for and the very reason for wanting a death certificate.
Fellow researchers with interests in Pennsylvania records: if you feel as strongly about this as I do, please pass this information on. I know that if there were to be such an index, I would certainly volunteer to help create it, and I know that tons of other family historians would as well. So speak up and get involved! :)  


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting about the PA death certificate problem. I have ancestors one generation distant who are PA people and trying to get records has been a huge frustration for me. The problem is worse than sending money and information about death date: I requested death certificates for two of my ggrandparents and received "No-Record Certification" pages for both, listing the names, dates, and locations I supplied. I later found a death certificate for my ggrandmother in Ohio! The No-Record Certification was worthless to begin with but after finding her death certificate in Ohio, I almost felt like it was fraudulent.

    I'll help with this. Thanks for pointing out how to help.