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Using The Social Security Death Index
by Dick Eastman

The Social Security Death Index is a great tool for genealogists. An awareness of its limitations can help a researcher to focus on what the index can provide and to set reasonable expectations. The SSDI works best for finding information about individuals who died in the mid-1960s or later.

Using the Social Security Death Index
George G. Morgan

The SSDI is a compilation of information about deceased persons who filed for and received Social Security numbers, who were paid Social Security benefits at some point in their lives, and whose death was reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

U.S. Social Security Death Index
by Kathi Sittner

When Social Security benefits were instituted in 1937, each employed person filed an application for a Social Security number. The application form asked questions concerning birth date and place, parents' names, spouse's name, and residence address at the time of the application. To receive benefits, individuals were also required to document their births, even if their birth states had not required birth registration.

Using Social Security Number Application Forms for Genealogy
George G. Morgan

The SS-5 application form is just another example of a source document that can be used for your genealogical research. Granted, it is not a primary source of information; it is, instead, the applicant's knowledge of facts. You can certainly use the SS-5 as a pointer to primary sources.

See also: GenDirectory: Obituaries and Live Roots Genealogy Search