P. O. Box 1403
Erie, PA 16512-1403


Background Information

From 1888 through 1905, the State instructed local governments to keep track of births and deaths in their areas of jurisdiction. The counties were responsible for most of the municipalities within their county, but the larger cities were responsible for their own government’s record keeping. In Erie County, the cities of Corry and Erie were the only municipalities not included in the County records.

For many years genealogy researchers have been lamenting the fact that these records for the City of Erie have been virtually unavailable. People asking for information from these records have long been frustrated in their attempts to get birth and death information for this time period from the City.

The City has now sent these records to the Erie County History Center where they can be properly cared for and preserved for the future. The City has stipulated, however, that these records can not be viewed by the general public. The records can be searched by the Erie County Historical Society and by the Erie Society for Genealogical Research and the information abstracted for individuals.

What Records are available

We have available to research 18 ledgers and approximately 1000 loose papers. We have sorted this information for microfilming. The paper is very old, very worn, and very fragile. It was decided that the only way these records could be used without destroying them was to microfilm them even though microfilm is not as easy to search. To that end ESGR has spent over $2000 and many man-hours. What follows is a description of the records.

Death Register

There are five volumes of the death records dating from July 5, 1875 to January 24, 1908. There are six volumes of indices for these records. Typical information found for each entry is: name, color, sex, age, marital status, occupation, date of death, cause of death, place of birth, ward number, street address, time of residence, name of physician, place of intended interment, date of intended interment, date of certificate, and name of undertaker.

Birth Register

There are two large volumes of the birth register for the period of May 1, 1888 to November 1905. These volumes are not indexed and are badly worn so as to make reading some names very difficult. In addition, as pages became filled, the entries were continued elsewhere in the book wherever room could be found. There were also additional entries made in later years when the City was issuing delayed birth certificates. Delayed birth certificates were issued when Social Security came into being and the people born before the advent of State vital records (1906) needed proof of birth.

Information typically contained in the birth register is: parents' names, date of birth, sex, color, nativity of father, nativity of mother, and result of delivery. It is important to note that these births did not have the child’s name. If you are looking for a birth, you must know the parent's name. If you ask for birth by surname only, there may be several and this will be time consuming. The births added as a result of issuing delayed birth certificates did contain the child’s name.

Other Birth Records

There are approximately 200 birth reports from St Vincent’s Hospital from that time period which were sent by the hospital to the City to register those births. These papers typically list date, parents' names, date of birth, address, color, sex, nativity of the father, nativity of the mother, born dead or alive or viable, and a physician's signature.

There are approximately 800 pieces of paper that were used a proof of birth when applying for delayed birth certificates. Most of these were baptismal certificates of statements from churches attesting to what they found in church records. There are also affidavits from schools, towns, family members, or friends affirming birth dates.

Other Records Available for Research

There are two volumes of records of communicable diseases covering the span of January 1901 to December 1920. These volumes list cases of typhoid fever, tuberculosis, smallpox and meningitis in the City for the time period. The information typically found is date, name of patient, age, sex, nativity, residence, ward, name of disease, name of physician, occupation, and result. There are no indices for these records.

There is one volume of "Register of Teachers Certificates. This appears to be a register of certified teachers in Erie County from 1894 to 1922. It typically lists subject certified to teach, name, post office, number of certificate, date of issue, and where issued. There is no index for this volume.

City of Erie Vital Records Research Policy and Requirements

ESGR is authorized to research these records and abstract the findings. You need to tell us what records you want us to search. The cost to search these records is $12.50 per name you want us to search. Checks must be made payable to "ESGR".   If we find information for you, it will be provided in a certificate from Historical Society of Erie County, certifying our findings.   We expect that it may take 10 to 12 weeks to fill a request. Pay particular attention to the dates covered in the City Vital Records. These records cover only the City Proper, and do not cover the County.

Click here for a printable submission form -----> City of Erie Vital Records Research Request





Technical issues or problems with these web pages should be directed to the Webmaster.

ESGR research specific questions may be directed to the ESGR office.

Copyright   2005-2016 Erie Society For Genealogical Research - Updated 9/26/16