Tuesday, August 12, 2008
You can help in a grassroots effort to have Pennsylvania make its older state death certificates much more accessible and available online.
Several states have already made their older death certificates available online, including Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. The states of Louisiana, New Hampshire and Vermont are in the process of doing so. For numerous other states there are online indexes. However, Pennsylvania has no publicly accessible index and continues the outdated and costly manual processing of each of its older death certificates one at a time. Click here to see links to the databases for these other states.
The Social Security Death Master File (with names, dates, places and numbers, and better known as the Social Security Death Index), which is updated weekly, is a death verification database used proactively to thwart identity theft and fraud. We understand government agencies, banks, insurance and credit card companies use it all the time to verify deaths and to stop the misuse of a deceased person's Social Security number. Expanding our proposed database to include all of Pennsylvania's death records (but with the same limited public access as outlined above) could be used in a similar manner by law enforcement and government agencies. The Division of Vital Records would itself be able to fill requests using the expanded database.
Click on this link for much more information and ways we all can help make this possible.