The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of
Vital Records maintains birth and death events that
occured in Pennsylvania from 1906 to the present.
Marriage and divorce certificates filed in
Pennsylvania are not available from the Division of
Vital Records. These certificates are usually
obtained from the courthouse in the county where the
marriage license was issued or divorce decree was
The Division of Vital Records began collecting birth
and death certificates in 1906. Contact the
appropriate Pennsylvania County Courthouse for
births and deaths that occurred prior to 1906.
Death records contain more than just the date of
death. Important information about relatives can also be uncovered
searching these vital records.
When searching vital
records, you will likely look at birth record and marriage records.
You may think that death records contain little information about a
person except for date of death. Death records will provide you with
important information about a person. Here’s some of the information
you can find in death records:
The birthplace of the person. You may not
have known that your grandfather was born overseas until you
looked at his death record. Sometimes a county coroner will
not check other county vital records to verify the
deceased’s birth place and will assume that the person was
born in the town they died. Most of the time a family member
or relative will be able to give someone the correct date of
birth to be included on death records.
The name of the deceased person’s parents.
Date of birth. Some people lie about their
age, however death records must be as accurate as possible
and even if a person lied to everyone, the death record will
reveal the truth.
Cause of death.
Where they died. If you are searching
through very old county vital records, knowing where someone
died is important. Death records are normally filed where a
Searching through county vital records is not
always easy. If you don’t know where someone died, you may have to
call or visit many agencies and counties to find death records. This
can be time consuming and expensive. Online record search companies
compile this information in one place. You can search for death
records from California to Florida. These searches can be relatively
inexpensive. You don’t have to leave your home to find the death
records you need and how to obtain a copy.