Friday, February 12, 2010

Time to revisit the SSDI?

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a staple for U. S. genealogy, post-1935. A recent article in the Genealogy column on, "Don't forget to revisit the Social Security Death Index", provides a good review of the SSDI, which is frequently updated. Included are some important points to remember; for example, not everyone who died after 1935 is listed in the SSDI -- the article tells you why. Also, you will want to remember that the SSDI lists a person's name at the time of death. As genealogists, we are accustomed to searching for our female ancestors by their maiden name, and without really thinking might enter a woman's maiden name rather than her actual name at time of death. Another really useful detail noted in the article, is that Social Security numbers starting with 700 and 728 indicate someone receiving a railroad retirement, which can to search for railroad records. Finally, the article provides a number of caveats and tips about using the SSDI that will help you better interpret information found. And one point I might make about the SSDI -- it is a secondary source record. There are errors. My own mother's death date in in error on the SSDI, even though a death certificate was submitted as verification of her death. Well . . . even the death certificate can be in error. On my mother's death certificate, she is listed as having completed 12 years of education, which is not the case. Being the informant on her death record, I have no idea where that information came from. So it pays to pay attention.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

New Jersey's DataUniverse now offering SSDI

As reported in the CourierPost Online, "Now you can trace family history with Courier-Post's DataUniverse," the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is now available on DataUniverse, the free public records search offered by New Jersey's Courier-Post. The site also allows you to make the request online for a photocopy of your ancestor's original Social Security Application Card, the SS-5. While your search of the SSDI is free, there is a fee for the SS-5 application card.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

SSDI Overview

In his article, "Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Overview," Alan Smith provides a basic overview and insights into the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The article notes that the SSDI includes some 400,000 railroad retirement records from early 1900s to 1950s. To clarify, we have this from the RootsWeb site quoted in the article, "Railroad workers were enrolled in the same Social Security program, but from 1937 to 1963 they had numbers ranging between 700 and 728 as the first three digits. In 1964 their numbers began to reflect the same geographic location as other workers. Some railroad workers received Social Security benefits, but some did not. However, it is wise to check the SSDI in any case."

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Sunday, January 7, 2007

New insights on SSDI

An article in the Home News Tribune (NJ), launches ancestry-search tool, announces its new data web site. Among other forms of public data, this site features the Social Security Death Index for New Jersey. What is interesting about the article itself is it's general summary of the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), what it is and how it's used. So even if you are very familiar with the SSDI as a research tool, the article may provide some new and interesting insights.

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