Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Pennsylvania Death Index, 1906 to 1961 now online

This week';s Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the online Pennsylvania Death Index (link here) to find Deaths in the 1906 to 1961 period.

There is one Birth Index (1906) at this time, and Death Indexes for each year from 1906 to 1961.  Here is the Death Index list:

Unfortunately, this is not an easy search, but it is more than researchers have had until now.  The site describes the process to obtain a non-certified death certificate:

*  To apply for a non-certified copy you must first search the Pennsylvania birth indices or death indices to obtain a Pennsylvania State File number.

*  Several years of indices (1920-1924 deaths and 1930-1951 deaths) are listed according to the Russell Soundex method of indexing. 

*  You must provide the Pennsylvania State File number on Part 2 of the application form.  Applications received without a State File number will not be processed and will be returned to the applicant to obtain that information.

*  You may download the birth application form to apply for a non-certified copy of birth from 1906.  To apply for a non-certified copy of a death certificate from 1906 through 1961 you may download the death application form 

*  Mail the completed application to:
Division of Vital Records
ATTN:  Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA  16103

There is a $3.00 fee for each non-certified copy ordered.  Check or money order should be made payable to Vital Records.  Mail requests are processed in approximately sixteen to eighteen weeks from the date of receipt.

When you click on one of the years, you receive a list of PDF files for the entries, listed alphabetically by surname.  For 1906 Deaths, there were ten files.  I chose P-Q-R to search for Remley surnames.  The data for 1906 has these listings:

*  Last name
*  first names
*  State File Number
*  County
*  Death date (without a year)

The PDF files are, in many cases, quite large, and take several seconds to download.  

If you are performing a one-name search (I'm going to do Carringer and Remley), you will need to go one year at a time in order to collect the information.  For 1920-1924 deaths, and 1930 to 1951 deaths, you will have to determine the Russell Soundex code for your names (CaRriNGer is C652; ReMLey is R540).  For those years, the listings are not in strictly alphabetical order, but are in Russell Soundex order.  

Two geneabloggers, Claudia on Claudia's Genealogy Blog, and Russ Worthington on A Worthington Weblog, have been exploring this database and having success.  Thank you to Claudia and Russ for alerting me to these databases.

Copyright (c) Randall J. Seaver, 2012.


Unknown said...

Be careful to read the application form carefully. You need to submit a SASE for each certificate you order. You may order a number of certificates at one time with one check or money order, but you need to send a SASE for each certificate.

Michelle said...

Oh no! I didn't do that. Sent in 6 requests - one SASE but put 2 stamps on it so postage could handle the thick envelope. Is there anything else I should do? They did cash my check so I'm hoping they will still honor all 6 requests.