They’re here! Another year of vital records! A few years ago, the Pennsylvania legislature voted to allow public access to Pennsylvania’s birth and death records which had previously been closely held by the state. Voting for a privacy period of 105 years for birth records and 50 years for death records, they release one more year each January. As of today, access for the public is available for births from 1906-1912 and deaths from 1906-1967. Note that this does NOT mean the entire span is digitized and searchable on any large database site (although they will eventually catch up).
To search the latest releases and order a record from the State Archives, first read this webpage where you can then click on birth or death indices to access the PDF files, in year order by alphabet letter of surname, going down the page. When you find an index entry of interest, follow the instructions about the state file number you need and request that the state send it to you ($5 each). You can also visit or have someone visit the State Archives for you. (You can read about hiring a professional here.)
Access to records is continuing changing. Just when you thought you had “searched everywhere” another new release of pertinent records shows up. This is a reminder to keep track of your searches and repeat them periodically. You never know when or where that key puzzle piece will bring together your family history picture!