The following information is from the People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access):
The initial batch of Pennsylvania state death certificates is now online through Ancestry.com (as of April 18th). Remember only birth and death certificates that are open records will be online (50 years for death certificates and 105 years for birth certificates). The overall schedule is:
- 1906-24 death certificates – April 2014
- 1925-44 death certificates – June 2014
- 1945-63 death certificates – November 2014
- 1906 birth certificates – March 2015
Pennsylvania residents (and only Pennsylvania residents) have free access to this particular database as they do with other Pennsylvania State Archives records already scanned and made available online by Ancestry. Free access for Pennsylvania residents is accomplished by registering online at no cost through this link (please be sure to read the instructions carefully): http://www.portal.state.pa.us/. Pennsylvania residents that already have a subscription to Ancestry do not need to do anything as long as they continue to have a subscription to Ancestry.
Out of state residents do need a subscription to Ancestry to access these records. However, many libraries and research centers everywhere provide free access to Ancestry. After three years the records will be moved to the Pennsylvania State Archives website and be free to all.
Thank you for your help in getting the PA state law changed that made this possible. Without your help we would still be stuck with the old extremely restricted access to Pennsylvania state birth and death certificates and wishing it were different. For more information please visit www.pahr-access.org. Good luck in your searches and keep in mind mistakes in indexing (most especially on Ancestry) and the original certificates are to be expected.
You can read more at the People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) web site at: http://users.rcn.com/pahraccess/Pahr-Access-ProgressReport.htm.