The Pennsylvania State Archives has recently signed a contract with Ancestry.com to have the original state birth and death certificates that are now open records scanned and data extracted. The contract gives exclusive online access to Ancestry for three years after which the database will be moved to the Pennsylvania State Archives website where it will be free to all. Unfortunately access to the records while they are on Ancestry will require having a subscription to Ancestry. However, the contract does require that Pennsylvania residents have free access to this particular database. How that will be accomplished has not been worked out and they are open to suggestions as to how all Pennsylvania residents and only Pennsylvania residents could have access.
While we would have very much preferred that the records be made available online for free to all immediately rather than after three years it is still much better than what we have been dealing with for over 100 years. Ancestry was apparently able to make the best deal for the Archives and the records will eventually be available online to all at no cost to the taxpayer.