I wrote a post about online genealogy back in July where I highlighted the online genealogy resources that are available online and through the Library. There are other resources that I overlooked at the time, but have since added a new tab to the Library’s local history LibGuide on vital records. Vital records are “records of life” held by a government authority, so these generally include birth and death certificates and marriage licenses. For the sake of ease I have also included links to land and court records on this tab as well.
Most vital records in Pennsylvania are held at a county level. The Lancaster County Archives publishes two outstanding resources on finding genealogical records and house and land records within county government. That is a great first place to start.
The state Division of Vital Records maintains all birth and death certificates since 1906. They have a very limited index (currently only 1906 for births and 1906 to 1961 for deaths) of vital records currently available. Recent state law mandates that these records be made available 105 years after birth or 50 years after death. Birth and death records prior to 1906 are held at the county level, but are very limited.
Keith L Greenawalt, Public Services Manager