A grassroots organization called PaHR-Access (People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access) has started a campaign to get the commonwealth's attention. The idea is that Pennsylvania lags far behind other states when it comes to ease of access to vital records, particularly death certificates. Check out what states like West Virginia and others are doing for good examples of what might be possible for Pennsylvania.
PaHR-Access is looking for help from genealogists, historians, professors and all types of researchers (both Pennsylvania residents and out of state) to encourage Pennsylvania to consider:
- Allowing less-restricted access to pre-1957 death certificates (access added each year so that fifty-year-old records will be available)
- Providing an online searchable index for these records
Interested in helping? If you are not a Pennsylvania resident, write a letter to the governor, sign a petition and mail it to the governor, or post a flyer to encourage easier access to Pennsylvania's vital records. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, you can also write to your state senator and state representative.
Contact Tim Gruber at timarg at rcn dot com for more information about PaHR-Access and what you can do to help.
For more information on similar concerns regarding New Jersey records, see my post entitled
Doing family history research in New Jersey? at 100 Years in America.
Thanks to Barbara of Our Carroll Family Genealogy for spreading the word about PaHR-Access.