Locating Pennsylvania Birth, Death, and Marriage Records

Birth and Death Records

Pennsylvania counties began recording births and deaths in 1893.

Birth and death records before 1893

  • For births 1893, church baptismal records and census records will be the main sources of information for births and parents’ names
  • The John T. Humphrey Pennsylvania Births series includes information extracted from church baptismal records in several counties
  • For deaths before 1893, cemetery and funeral home records will be the main sources of information
  • For a brief period (1852-1855) Pennsylvania had birth and death registrations, but these
  • Some locations have earlier records. Among these are Philadelphia (1860-1903) and Pittsburgh (1870-1905)
  • Pennsylvania and New Jersey Church and Town Records on Ancestry includes marriage records from GSP collections and microfilm now at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Other sources for pre-1893 family relationships

Birth and death records 1893-1905

  • Pennsylvania counties recorded births and deaths from 1893-1905
  • See county guides on the Pennsylvania Resources page for county websites and contact information
  • Birth and death records for many Pennsylvania counties are available online through FamilySearch
  • On the FamilySearch Pennsylvania Collections page, select the link for a county and then scroll down and select Vital Records for a list of records

Birth and death records 1906-1916

The state of Pennsylvania recorded births and deaths beginning in 1906. Birth records are available to the public after 105 years and death records after 50 years, with indexes for the records released on the Pennsylvania State Archives website after the end of the year.

Birth records after 1916 and death records after 1971

Birth records after 1916 may be requested only for yourself or for ancestors or relatives as listed on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website below.

Marriage Records

Marriage and divorce records are usually held at the county level. Most Pennsylvania counties recorded these beginning in 1885. Records from the 20th century often include parents’ names.

See the Pennsylvania Resources page for county guides with contact information for county

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