Social Security Death Index

As time permits, I am entering information from the Social Security Death Index to individuals in the four genealogy databases. To see why this could be important to you, check out the RootsWeb Information Page on this index.

The “Application for a Social Security Number” is commonly referred to as the SS-5. In addition to the SSDI, you may find your ancestor’s Social Security number in other ways, especially on death certificates. While it may seem like you are recreating the wheel to request the SS-5 form, there are times that this can be the only proof you will have for an ancestor’s birth. For instance, for those ancestors born in the 1860s to 1880s who immigrated to the United States, it can difficult to pinpoint their place of birth. On the SS-5 it was required that the applicant supply complete birth information. This means more than just the country of birth, as is usually found on census and death records. Moreover, the maiden name of the applicant’s mother was requested, often critical information for a family historian.

To request a photocopy of the original application for Social Security Card (SS-5), find the particular record of interest and let RootsWeb generate a printer-ready letter addressed to the Social Security Administration for you. Be sure to include the name of the individual, the Social Security number, date and place of death. You will need to include a check or money order for these records — currently $27 if you have the Social Security number, $29 without the number. The process of obtaining this information usually takes several months, so be patient.

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