Pennsylvania Death Index

After reading Claudia Genealogy Blog, I thought that I would give it a try, because I have a number of people in my files from Pennsylvania. So, I went to:


to see what I could find. After trying to search the PDF files and just doing some scrolling, I figured that there had to be a better way. In the instructions, it says:

Several years of indices (1920-1924 deaths and 1930-1951 deaths) are listed according to the Russell Soundex method of indexing.

That’s a new one on me. So I read those instructions. I was looking for Wilmer Cheyney. I didn’t know his exact death year, but I had “About 1937” in my file. To convert Cheyney to the Russell Soundex, I determined that he should be listed a C 500. Loading the right PDF file and going to the right page, there is was.


Next, to create a list from my genealogy database for everyone who died in Pennsylvania between 1906 and 1961, translate to eh Russell Soundex and do some searching. I will then determine which, if any, I send away for. This will be one of them.

Thank you Claudia for the Blog Post.


9 Responses to Pennsylvania Death Index

  1. Claudia says:

    You’re welcome Russ, I hope a lot of people find it helpful. I have already found four relatives in the first hour.

  2. […] other bloggers [link and link] have noted, the database is not searchable. It is really just a collection of browse-able files […]

    • jmtomko – True, but not difficult to find who you are looking for, once you understand .ow it works.


      • jmtomko says:

        I am just thrilled it’s available. And you are right, it’s not difficult to calculate the soundex code. It’s actually been a benefit for finding some of the people in my database because all surname spelling variations are mixed together.

        • jmtomko – I have just finished all of my Soundex folks, working on the Soundex group. My data has been pretty good, but found some discrepencies AND found, I hope, information for a cousin’s brick wall.

          Thank you for your comments.


  3. Marty Novak says:

    Any idea what the numeric code is next to the C 500 in your example? There’s no key provided by PA, so I’m not sure if it means anything or not. So, I know the 3 31 37 is the day the person died. Is the “15” a county code? Cause of death code? Thanks for anything you can do to shed light on this mystery.

    • Marty,

      I am not sure that is as important as the Certificate Number. I went through my notes and didn’t see anything. You might go back to the Department of Healths website to see if that is shown there. I took a quick look, but didn’t see anything.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: