Pennsylvania Death Certificate of Peter Whitlock

Pennsylvania death certificates covering the 1906-1924 time frame were released online yesterday at Scanned in full color, they are available to Ancestry subscribers, and to Pennsylvania residents for no charge.

I am looking for the death certificate for one Peter Whitlock, a Civil War soldier who ties into my own New Jersey Carson line. He died in 1908 from lockjaw, possibly in Union County, Pennsylvania. I entered that information into the search form, and got zero hits.


I had an exact date of death for Peter Whitlock, so I decided to browse the collection instead. Fortunately, this collection can be browsed by year, and is arranged in order by certificate number.


I searched for roughly 30 minutes without finding his death certificate. From what I can tell, the certificates are batched as received by the state, so you might find a number of Luzerne County certificates, followed by those of another county, with more Luzerne County certificates after that. There were plenty of other death certificates I was interested in, so I quickly got lost in those for a time.

I decided to tackle this again today after speaking with a friend, who reminded me that the death certificate indices are online in a separate database. I quickly found the link to the indices at the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Drilling down by year and then by the letter of the alphabet yielded a PDF file, which did not seem to be searchable. Nonetheless, I did find the correct page for Peter Whitlock’s entry.


The entry reads as follows:
Whitlock, Peter: 59352: Fayette Co.: June 25
The number 59352 following his name is the “State File Number” needed to locate the certificate on Ancestry. Further down on the Ancestry search form is an area that permits one to search by certificate number. I typed 59352 in the data field, and then checked the box to do an exact search.


This time, I received a total of 19 hits, which does seem a bit odd. The last entry on this list of results is the one of interest to me.


The reason I was initially unsuccessful in my search was likely because Peter Whitlock’s last name was indexed in this collection as WHITTOCK. Clicking the View Images icon on the right led me to the digitized death certificate.

Portion of the death certificate for Peter Whitlock on

Good luck researching in this incredible new record set!

[Last modified: 24 Jan 2018, to update link]

NARA Records Digitized by Partners

United States National Archives Digitization Partners

A fantastic link was shared yesterday by instructor Claire Bettag, CG in her “NARA at Your Fingertips” talk to our group at the National Institute on Genealogical Research (NIGR), currently underway at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

The link she shared was to National Archives records digitized and made available in whole or in part on the websites of its digitization partners, and If researching from home, you will likely need a subscription to pull up the record, but the index should be available at no charge.

NARA Records Digitized by Digitization Partners

This long list of digitized publications can easily be sorted by clicking on any of the column headings. Or, search the page for a specific keyword using CTRL+ F on your keyboard. Once you’ve found a publication of interest, click on the title to be taken to the search page at the partner website. In this example, I have searched for M313, the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, and clicked that link to be taken to the search page on

War of 1812 Pension Application Files at AncestryWar of 1812 Pension Application Files Index (1812-1815) at Ancestry.

Claire Bettag is one of my favorite speakers on topics relative to records held at the National Archives. I always come away with a valuable tidbit from one of her lectures.

[Post updated 15 Jan 2018]

Fold3: New “Save to Ancestry” Button

It’s no secret. I love the subscription site, formerly, and have gratefully paid to be a subscriber to it since it launched in 2007. When acquired the parent company of nearly two years ago, those of us who believe competition is good for the industry collectively held our breath to see what changes may come down the pipeline. Today, I can report one very positive outcome of that merger: the new “Save to Ancestry” button that now appears on

Save to Ancestry button on Fold3

I missed whatever announcement that may have been made about this new feature. However, when I pulled up a record in the viewer yesterday, the new green button containing the logo was at the top right of the viewer.

John King Final Payment, RG 217 on

Clicking this button allows a researcher to save the record image from to a tree on Ancestry. Simply select your pre-existing tree on, and then select the person within the tree that you want to save the image to.

Save to Ancestry

Once you see the message that you have successfully saved the image to the person’s “profile” on the Ancestry tree, you may then click in to view the image of the record.

Successful save from Fold3 to Ancestry tree

The “Index to Selected Final Payment Vouchers, 1818-1864” (RG 217) is discussed in a 2008 article in Prologue by Claire Prechtel-Kluskens called Follow the Money: Tracking Revolutionary War Army Pension Payments. John King (1765-1855) is one of my Revolutionary War ancestors, and it is his index card that you see in the above screenshots.