Tech Tuesday – Pennsylvania Death Index – Follow Up

Yesterday I posted a new, to me, resource:

Pennsylvania Death Index

I thought that I would update how to use the website. As mentioned, they use a Russell Soundex for finding people. The fine print on the Russell Soundex Method of Indexing for this website is for Death Record Years: 1920 through 1924 and 1830 through 1951.

I created a Custom Report to help me with that, and here is a sample of that report:


The three records in the red box, WILL use the Russell Soundex. The listing before and after will NOT. Sorting the report by Date was very helpful with finding the Records, as they are grouped by year in the Pennsylvania Death Index.

Finding the records in the PDF file is relatively easy. For example, I was looking for Florence Hoopes Hart. She died in West Chester, Pennsylvania on 19 Nov 1959. So, I selected 1959. This s NOT a Russell Soundex year, so I didn’t have to worry about that.

Once in 1959, I selected H-I-J, as her married name was Hart, an used the down arrow to page 45, which was page 905 of the document.


What was important, for me, about this record is that a cousin, Florence’s daughter, has been looking for birth information about Florence. I am hoping that this record will help my cousin obtain more information about her mother.

Lesson Learned: Don’t be afraid of looking at new record groups and take a few minutes to read and understand how to use them.

A special thanks for the state of Pennsylvania in allowing us access to these records. I have found 14 of 15 people so far and about 20 to go.


6 Responses to Tech Tuesday – Pennsylvania Death Index – Follow Up

  1. Elizabeth H. says:

    Russ, thanks for the tip about the Pennsylvania Death Index and the suggestion of running the custom report. Since I know you use FTM, I figured that I should be able to do this, and I did.

    I have found 12 names so far, with at least 3-4 more to look for, then I may browse by year for the handful of names I know in the PIttsburgh area for additional extended family members.

    • Elizabeth,

      I am almost done. 20 out of 23 done.

      Yup, I used FTM2012 to create the Custom Report, where the Death Date is the first sort. I made it very easy to then do the Soundex. I was thinking about doing a FTM Blog post on how I did that, which I still may.

      Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy.

      Thank you,


  2. Rick Smith says:

    Russ, I attended the FHIG meeting Tuesday night where you talked about these indices. I had no trouble finding many people I was looking for but can not see where to order records online or by mail for $3 as discussed. I can see a place to order certified for $9 plus $10 handling only.

    Was the $3 option incorrect?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Rick,

      Please return to this website:

      It says at the bottom:

      Mail the completed application to:

      Division of Vital Records

      ATTN: Public Records

      P.O. Box 1528

      New Castle, PA 16103

      There is a $3.00 fee for each non-certified copy ordered. Check or money order should be made payable to Vital Records. Mail requests are processed in approximately sixteen to eighteen weeks from the date of receipt.

      That is for the Non-Certified Version.

      Please note the 16 to 18 weeks, which we mentioned. I have a list already, to take with me to Harrisburg. But, that trip isn’t scheduled yet.

      Hope that helps,

      Thank you for posting your comment.


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