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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re:SEENEY Death Certificate in Philly?


I KNOW how frustrating this can be, and I had a similar experience in Michigan years ago, having sent the request in three separate times, each time told that no death record existed even though I had a copy of the obituary, which I'd also sent along with the last request. In the end, it turned out to be THEIR error ... the death certificate was created as "Wm Lee," and the clerk/s at the Michigan Department of Health in Lansing didn't realize that WM is an abbreviation for William. In the end, I got the certificate.

But back to your problem. My great aunt died in Philadelphia in 2001, and on a business trip there in 2003, I walked into the Dept of Vital Records office in Philadelphia and requested the certificate in person. My great aunt had actually changed her given name over time from Adeline to Arline so I didn't even know which name to request, so I explained my problem to the clerk and 'lo and behold, they found the record and mailed it to me three days later (it only cost me $3.00 back then).

I know that the State of Pennsylvania has six of these offices around the state, and though I don't know where you're located, perhaps you can get someone to make a trip to one of these so they can interact with a clerk in the flesh ... it may help you in your search. The offices are located in: Scranton, Philadelphia, Erie, Harrisburg, New Castle, and Pittsburg.

Don't give up. The ONLY reason I was able to get my William Lee's death certificate was because my cousin walked into the local county recorder's office and requested the certificate. They gave it to her on the spot, which she scanned and emailed to me. I used that scan and a scathing letter to demand not only a partial refund but a copy of the death certificate they swore they didn't have. Not only did the State of Michigan give me a FULL refund, they also gave me a certified copy of the death certificate (which contained additional information than was included on the copy my cousin had received) and a wonderful letter of apology.

That personal visit was the key.

Good luck in your search, my dear. All the best to you, and please let us know if any of the AfriGeneas community can help.

- Lisa B. Lee, PLCGS
Oakland, CA

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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