Social Security Death Index (SSDI)


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Social security death index. What is it? Containing around 65 million names and vital information of mainly deceased Americans, the SSDI is an extremely large and important database, especially for geneology enthusiasts.

What sort of details are kept? For information to be archived in the SSDI, a death needs to have been reported, or, for example, a surviving relative may have contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) seeking to stop the Social Security Benefits (SSB) of a parent.

Social Security Death Records (SSDR) contain the following data on a deceased person:

Last name
First name
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Where the last SSB was sent
State of residence
Where the SSN was issued
Last known address

A Search Tip: When doing a search in the SSDI, do not include the middle initial. Middle names were not indexed. Use first and last names only.

What period is covered by these records? Most of the birth dates recorded are from the early decades of the last century: 1900 to 1930 Death dates are mainly from the period 1962 to 1988. It was in the early 1960’s that the SSA commenced using computer technology to store and archive vital records.

Although there are birth dates as far back as the 1850’s (about 1856), and death dates prior to the 1960’s, not all earlier data has been included in the current SSDI.

A SSDI Search Tip: Use maiden names when searching for females.

SSDI is a valuable genealogy tool. The SSDI can assist your geneology research by providing data that will help you locate birth certificates and death certificates. By providing the names of parents, a female’s maiden name, people’s places of residence and their occupation, it may also assist in the search for marriage certificates and other vital records.

A SSDI Search Tip: Start your search on the SSDI with just a few facts. This facility allows you to search on any combination of data. A last name and known possible birth period may do for starters? If the results are very large, then add additional data and search again.

Note: There is a very useful feature, “Soundex Search” which assists where names may have been misspelled.

Leo talbot writes geneology articles such as the social security death index and others.


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