One reliable resource that genealogists turn to is the United States Social Security Death Index. It can give you a lot of good information about an ancestor. This information includes: last name, first name, Social Security number, state issued, birth date, death date, last residence, and the lump sum payment.
The information in the United States Social Security Death Index comes from the Death Master File (DMF) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). It is the list of deceased persons who possessed a Social Security number and whose deaths were reported to the SSA.
Genealogists can search the U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, through Ancestry.com. It was among the first collections posted on Ancestry.com when the website first began adding content in 1996.
It is also possible to search the United States Social Security Death Index through FamilySearch (which can be searched for free by anyone who wants to make use if it). The FamilySearch website has information on individuals whose deaths were recorded by the Social Security Administration from 1962 through February 28, 2014.
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) only has information about people who are deceased. It does not have any information on people who are still alive. That being said, if you cannot find your relative or ancestor in the SSDI, that doesn’t automatically mean that he or she is still alive.
There is now a brand new resource at Ancestry.com that pairs nicely with the Social Security Death Index. It is called the U.S. Social Security Applications Claims Index, 1936 – 2007. This resource is exclusive to Ancestry.com.
The same information can be obtained through the Social Security Administration. Many genealogists will find it more convenient to do their search through Ancestry.com than if they went directly to the Social Security Administration for the same information.
First, locate your ancestor in the SSDI. Try to find the SS-5 form (which is the form your ancestor would have filled out to request a Social Security number). That form will have the person’s name, address, employer’s name and address, full birth date and place, gender, race, and their parent’s names. It will also have their signature.
You can get a copy of your ancestor’s SS-5 form from the Social Security Administration for a fee. (It costs around $27.00). It can take weeks for it to be mailed to you. Or, if you are already paying for a subscription at Ancestry.com, you can use their search engine to view the same form.
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