New Year, New Records! Today the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania released the 1911 births (105 years old) and 1966 death records (50 years old) which makes birth records publicly accessible from 1906 through 1911, and deaths 1906 through 1966. But just because they are released for public access does not mean they are 1.) digitized, or 2.) online. When the records were first opened in 2012, Ancestry.com did digitize what was available to that point. Therefore their collection (free to Pennsylvania residents through the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission portal) contains births from 1906 to 1908 and deaths 1906 to 1964.
Start with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission page on Vital Statistics for a little history and links to the indexes. You will see that you need to know the year of the event and the surname as explained in the directions at the top of the index page. If you do not know the year, you can search several years, one by one. These indexes are not digitized but are PDF files of the ones the State uses. Working with these files one can see why pre-2012 record requests to the state were often met with “could not find” responses.
Once you locate a state file number for a certificate, you will have to order it from the State Archives (at a bargain $5 per uncertified certificate), visit Harrisburg to pull the record, or have someone do that for you.
Good luck in your Pennsylvania research! Remember if you want to learn more about how to conduct research, analyze, document, write proof arguments, write the family stories, interpret family history through the law, learn more about your Eastern European, Irish, New Jersey or Northwest Territory states ancestors, or how to research in Washington, D.C. or use DNA evidence, please review the twelve courses (each with 18 sessions!) offered at GRIP this summer.