Statewide registration of births and deaths began in January of 1906. Pennsylvania birth and death records prior to 1906 and marriage and divorce records are maintained at the court house.
General Information about Vital Records
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Internet Access to Vital Records:
Download a records request form here: Division of Vital Records - Health Planning and Assessment (updated link - June 14, 2005)
For internet addresses in other states, see: Other Vital Records Offices in the USA
Vital Records Collected from Users:
We presently maintain several data records boards to allow user's to submit copies to this website. Please visit our Data Records Page for links to each record resource.
The Register of Wills kept births and deaths for most counties for the period 1852-1854. The LDS FHL has microfilmed copies of Births, Marriages and Deaths on File at the State Archives, 1852-1854 (film number 1016403-8).
Some counties also began registering births and deaths in 1893 and continued until 1906 when the state took over. Somerset county does have records from 1893-1906.
Johnstown kept vital records for it's citizens as well. The LDS FHL has microfilmed copies of these records.
You can call the court house directly and request a certified copy ($5.00).
Somerset County Register of Wills
Births before 1906 that were not registered at the time of birth may have been registered beginning 1941. To prove a birth, several witnesses were required to sign affidavits before the orphans court which would then issue a certificate. Delayed registration of births began in many counties in 1941 and continued through 1976.
To obtain delayed birth records, contact the Registrar of Vital Statistics at the county seat.
Funeral records issued by a funeral home include financial records (cost of casket, dressing), funeral cards given out at the time of the funeral, etc. These records usually give the name of the deceased, when and where they were buried, if shipped out to another funeral home, purchaser of the cemetery plot, etc.
Not all funeral homes make their records available to the public. You may wish to contact a funeral director directly to see if they are willing to copy this information for your research.
There are few civil marriage records in state archives prior to 1885 -- most marriage records before this date were recorded in church records. However, some cities and counties have recorded marriage records dating from the early 1800's. Counties which kept birth and death records for the period 1852-1854 also kept marriage records. Most counties began keeping marriage records starting in October of 1885. You can obtain copies from the Clerk of the Orphans Court in Somerset County.
The LDS FHL has several good sources available for marriage records research as well as many copies of marriage records from 1885-1920.
Marriage Register of Pennsylvania, 1684 to 1689 mainly Quaker records. FHL film 20438 item 4.
Marriage Bonds, 1784-1786 from the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. FHL films 1759093 item 2 through 1759094 item1.
Marriage Records, 1885-1889 Bureau of Vital Statistics. FHL film 1027957-8. The males are listed on the first film, females on the second.
Newly filed Marriage records may be obtained from:
In Pennsylvania, divorce records were kept by the court of common pleas.
To obtain a birth or death record from the State of Pennsylvania, please visit their website and follow the instructions listed. You may also wish to use VitalCheck to order a birth or death certificate (there is an additional processing fee for using this service). Please visit their website for more information.
This county is part of the USGenWeb Project, a non-profit genealogical resource web system, and is maintained by April Phillips and Connie Burkett with help and information provided by other volunteers.
Last Revised: December 20, 2007