Is it mean to say I am glad so many of my ancestors died in Pennsylvania between 1906 and 1924? While tragic perhaps, it’s fortunate that these records have recently been made available through Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com releases new record groups all the time. Some are indexed, meaning searchable by name, while others are simply images which require manually looking through sometimes thousands of scanned images to find the one you need.
“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924” was released this week and contains thousands of death certificates not otherwise easily obtained. I have numerous ancestors who lived in Pennsylvania in this time period, including Pepperneys and Bahles. I did a quick surname search for Pepperney and found six records, all of relatives. This includes two for children I did not know previously existed. Suddenly, thanks to Ancestry.com’s reach and my subscription fee, I had access to the death certificates for:
- Margaret Buhl Pepperney (21 Apr 1851 – 23 Feb 1923) who is my 3rd great grandmother
- Grace Rosina Kreller Pepperney (1876 – 22 Jan 1911) is the wife of my 2nd great grand uncle and Margaret’s daughter-in-law
- Lawrence A Pepperney Sr. (1883 – 13 Sep 1920) is my 2nd great grand uncle who was tragically struck by a train while working on the railroad
- Stella Sophia Pepperney (1889 – 1919) who died during the Spanish flu epidemic
- Infant Pepperney (16 Apr 1915) was stillborn. I was not aware of this child until I searched this record group
- William A Pepperney (1919 – 31 Mar 1921) is my 3rd cousin, 1x removed and is another child I was not aware of. I perhaps should have been as I imagine he is listed in the 1920 census, but he is distant enough that I had not checked that record yet for his family.
And that’s no doubt all of the family records suddenly available. A search of Bahle, the surname of George Peter Pepperney’s wife, Mary Anna, turns up 15 records. Bahle and Pepperney are both relatively unique names, so I can be more confident in the results than if I had searched Smith. However, I have not done as much research on the Bahle family so while I see some family death certificates, there are some I am not sure of.
|Death certificate of my 3rd great grandmother Henrietta Schnauffer
Access to these death records is just one way I am able to piece together our family history. Unfortunately, not everything is found as easily as these and not everything is online. The documents available online through Ancestry.com, Familysearch.com, and other genealogical websites is a small fraction of the genealogical documents out there. Finding others requires countless hours of research in libraries, archives and courthouses. Still, I am excited when a new collection is released online saving me and other researchers those countless hours of searching.
“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924,” index and images, Ancestry.com, accessed 30 Apr 2014, Margaret Pepperney, 1923; citing reference Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/.
“Pennsylvania Death Certificates, 1906 – 1924” index and images, Ancestry.com, accessed 30 Apr 2014, Henrietta Bahle, 1921; citing reference Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/.