More than seven million Pennsylvania death records are now available online thanks to a continued collaboration between the Pennsylvania State Archives and Ancestry. This collection is located at www.ancestry.com. It contains all of the publicly available death records from the Pennsylvania State Archives from 1906 until 1963. Ancestry will add new records as they become publicly available.
Genealogists and the general public often turn to death records to track down family history, discover places of burial and investigate medical conditions and diseases.
Free access to the records is available to Pennsylvania residents. Access requires a free Ancestry.com Pennsylvania account. Once their account is set up, visitors may search the state’s collection of death certificates by name, birth date, death date, life event and gender. Instructions for creating an account are available at www.PAStateArchives.com.
Since April, Ancestry has already made available nearly 5 million Pennsylvania death certificates ranging from 1906 to 1944 on its website. Currently, the new database makes up 5 percent of all deaths searched on the website.
This collection is a culmination of nearly three years of work, which began shortly after Gov. Tom Corbett signed Act 110 in December 2011. That allowed access to death records after 50 years and birth records after 105 years.
The Pennsylvania State Archives is an important resource for scholars, historians, genealogists, and the public. The primary function of the Pennsylvania State Archives, part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, is to acquire, preserve and make available for study the permanently valuable public records of the Commonwealth, with particular attention given to the records of state government. In fulfilling its general responsibility for the preservation of historic documents, the State Archives also collects private papers relevant to Pennsylvania history.