Find Vital Records (2024)

Birth and Death Records

On January 1, 1906, birth and death records began to be recorded at the state level in Pennsylvania. These records are maintained at the Division of Vital Records , P.O. Box 1528, New Castle, Pennsylvania, 16103-1528, and telephone (724) 656-3100. This site will give you information and forms necessary to obtain the records.

By statute, birth and death records were to be recorded and maintained at the various county courthouses from 1893 to 1906. Birth and death registers were to be kept by the Register of Wills in the various county courthouses from 1852 to 1855. Before January 1, 1906, only scattered records exist in the various county courthouses.

Original birth certificates for 1906-1915 and death certificates for 1906-1970 are available at the State Archives. Digital copies of the 1906-1911 birth certificates and the 1906-1968 death certificates may be found on Pennsylvania residents may access these records free of charge through Find out more from the Pennsylvania Historical Museum & Commission.

Marriage Records

Since September 30, 1885, marriage licenses have been required in Pennsylvania and are maintained by the Marriage License Clerk in the county courthouse of the county issuing the license. Before September 30, 1885 the issuing of licenses was not obligatory, but was intended for those cases where the banns were not published or the marriage in church was dispensed with. For these earlier marriages, church records and newspapers may provide information.

Divorce Records

Since 1804, divorce records have been kept in the Prothonotary's Office in the county where the divorce was granted. In addition, local newspapers frequently published notices of divorce actions.

From 1682 to 1773, divorce could be granted by the Legislature or the Governor subject to royal veto by Royal Council. In 1773, British Parliament forbade royal governors in America to grant divorces and the Legislature was the governing body to which pleas for divorce were submitted. From 1785 through 1804, either the Supreme Court or the Legislature could act on divorce matters. From 1804 through 1874, the Legislature, the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts and Courts of Common Pleas handled divorces. In 1874, Courts of Common Pleas alone began to govern divorce action. Since 1804, these records have been kept in the Prothonotary's Office in the county where the divorce was granted.

Divorces were rare in colonial Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War and early statehood. Some Pennsylvania divorces granted by the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court are in the Statutes At Large of Pennsylvania; Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1898; and Record Group 33 at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This Record Group contains Supreme Court Divorce Papers, Eastern District, 1786-1815, arranged alphabetically; Supreme Court General Motions, 1750-1837, and Divorce Docket, 1800-1805, arranged by date.

​County Courthouses in ​​Pennsylvania

Courthouses are important places to look for birth, marriage and death records. These are usually found in the Register of Wills office in each county. Records in the Recorder of Deeds offices can also be useful. Naturalization records are usually held by the Prothono​tary's Office in each county.

Visit the Pennsylvania Courts of Common Pleas website for a map of all county courthouses in Pennsylvania, as well as information on county prothonotaries and registers of wills. Access a list​ing of recorders of deeds i​n Pennsylvania.

Find Vital Records (2024)


Is VitalChek legitimate? ›

For 25 years, VitalChek has been an official, government-authorized service for citizens to securely order certified birth certificates and other vital records from official government agencies nationwide.

How can I find out if someone died in NJ? ›

For a fee, the New Jersey Department of Health office will conduct a search. Individual counties will also search their records for deaths that occurred in their municipality. If you do not want to order the death record, you can search other records with death information.

Where can I find US birth records for free? ›

Where To Find Public Birth Records
  • State Department of Public Health where the event was recorded (you can check here where to write for vital records)
  • Genealogy websites like or
May 27, 2021

How do I find out if someone died in Oklahoma? ›

Official birth and death certificates are located at the Oklahoma State Vital Records Division. Some Oklahoma birth and death information is available online through Ok2Explore, a free searchable index from the Oklahoma State Vital Records Division.

What is the alternative to VitalChek? ›

List of competitors in April 2024:
  • , with 372.56K visits, 46 authority score, 51.53% bounce rate.
  • , with 1.29M visits, 58 authority score, 55.85% bounce rate.
  • , with 564.54K visits, 55 authority score, 72.28% bounce rate.

Is VitalChek a Lexisnexis company legit? ›

VitalChek is an official provider of online services for hundreds of government agencies nationwide, safely delivering millions of important documents every year.

Can I check if someone has died? ›

There are several ways to do this: A General Search: To start a general inquiry, collect any identifying information about the person you believe to have passed. Type into a search engine the person's name followed by the word “death” or “obituary”.

How do I trace someone who has died? ›

7 ways to find out if someone has died recently
  1. Confirm with a mutual acquaintance. ...
  2. Check social media. ...
  3. Search for an online obituary. ...
  4. Online death indexes. ...
  5. Check with their house of worship. ...
  6. Local courthouse. ...
  7. Digital archives.

Are autopsy reports public record in NJ? ›

Medical Examiner investigative reports are not exempt from release under 'New Jersey's Open Public Record ACT (OPRA)'. The only exceptions are photographs taken by the Medical Examiner's Office during an investigation.

Is legit? ›

Vital Records Online is an officially approved provider of the California Health Department, offering vital record services such as birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates.

Are U.S. birth certificates public? ›

A birth certificate is deemed confidential and may not be disclosed.

How do I look up the death of someone? ›

Places to look for Death Records
  1. Church records of deaths and burials.
  2. City and County civil registrations.
  3. Family Bibles and personal histories.
  4. FamilySearch in the Catalog Search, Records Search, and Historic Books.
  5. Google and other website search sites, and don't forget to search Google Books.
Aug 11, 2023

Are Oklahoma birth records public? ›


OK2Explore is a free searchable public index of births and deaths that occurred in the state of Oklahoma. It includes information from records of births occurring in Oklahoma 20 or more years ago and records of deaths occurring in Oklahoma five or more years ago.

Are autopsy reports public record in Oklahoma? ›

If an autopsy was performed, that report will also be available. There is a $10.00 fee for a non-autopsy case report and $20.00 fee for an autopsy case. Immediate family members will receive a complimentary copy by request. Law enforcement agencies receive complimentary copies as well.

Why does VitalChek need my Social Security number? ›

An identity Verification Document helps ensure the security of important documents such as vital records by verifying the identity of the person requesting the documents.

Why does VitalChek take so long? ›

Why does it take so long to receive a copy of my record? Due to the high volume of incoming applications, it may take some time to receive a copy of a certificate.

How do I get a certified copy of my US birth certificate? ›

Born in the U.S.: how to get a certified copy of your birth certificate. Contact your birth state or territory's vital records office to find out: How to order a certified copy of your birth certificate online, by mail, or in person.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Van Hayes

Last Updated:

Views: 5437

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Van Hayes

Birthday: 1994-06-07

Address: 2004 Kling Rapid, New Destiny, MT 64658-2367

Phone: +512425013758

Job: National Farming Director

Hobby: Reading, Polo, Genealogy, amateur radio, Scouting, Stand-up comedy, Cryptography

Introduction: My name is Van Hayes, I am a thankful, friendly, smiling, calm, powerful, fine, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.