Places to Search
SSDI Death Index
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a Death Master File, which is a record of approximately 70 million deaths that were reported. If you find a person in the death index you will learn the date of birth and Social Security Number for that person. A deceased person does not have any privacy rights. Therefore, if he or she applied for an SSN, they can generally provide a copy of the application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5). This document contains the person's name, date and place of birth, and parents' names that were given when he or she applied for the number.
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: Social Security and Live Roots Genealogy Search