Monday, February 13, 2012

Pennsylvania Birth and Death Indexes Now Available Online Per Act 110

Act 110, formerly known as Senate Bill 361, went into effect today. This act makes birth certificates 105 years old and death certificates at least 50 years old available to the public.

Here's how it has been implemented:
  • Currently, indexes for birth certificates issued in 1906 and death certificates issued 1906-1961 are available at the PA Department of Health here
  • The indexes are PDF documents, organized by year and then mostly alphabetically (some are indexed by the Russell system).
  • You have to search through the index pages by scrolling through them. There is no searchable database online. Searching the PDF for a name has so far been unsuccessful for me. 
If you find a name, you can request a copy of the certificate in one of three ways:
  • Visiting the State Archives research room.
  • Sending a mail request to the State Archives for $15 if name and date are known ($25 if the request comes from outside PA) or $50 per hour if name and/or date are not know. The Archives estimates a processing time of 8-12 weeks.
  • Obtain an non-certified copy from the Department of Health (with a known State File number, found via the indexes). The fee is $3. However, the processing time for copies of birth and death certificates has now increased to 16 to 18 weeks, presumably because the number of requests will increase due to Act 110.
 I am very excited to see this information online, and I hope that it becomes easier to access the index entries and certificates in the future.

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