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National Center for Health Statistics. Section Navigation. National Death Index. Minus Related Pages.


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CDC is not responsible for Section compliance accessibility on other federal or private website. Cancel Continue. Since , all Social Security numbers have been issued centrally from Baltimore. Do you know where your grandfather worked when he first applied for a Social Security card? Up until , Social Security card applications included the applicant's employer and the employer's address.

Someone you are seeking may not have applied for a Social Security number until it was needed for Medicare benefits, beginning in for those age 65 or older.

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What about military records? In , the Department of Defense began using Social Security numbers instead of military service numbers to identify Armed Forces personnel. Be sure to check discharge papers lying around the house or recorded at the county courthouse to see if the service number is actually a Social Security number. Not just U. In the law required the Social Security Administration SSA to issue numbers to any legally admitted alien upon entry, and to obtain evidence of age and citizenship or alien status and identity.

Do you have a railroad worker in your family tree? Up until , railroad employees were assigned Social Security numbers in a series from Since , an SSA program has enabled parents to automatically obtain a Social Security number for a newborn infant when the birth is registered with the state, a sure indicator of place of birth. The first three digits of a Social Security number, known as the area number, are assigned by geographical region.

Visit the SSA's web site for a list of area numbers and corresponding states. Prior to , cards were issued in local Social Security offices around the country, and the area number represented the state in which the card was issued.

Since , when the SSA began assigning numbers and issuing cards centrally from Baltimore, the area number is assigned based on the zip code in the mailing address provided on the application for the original Social Security card. A word of warning: the applicant's mailing address may not be the same as his or her place of residence.

National Death Index

Therefore, the area number does not necessarily represent the applicant's state of residence either prior to , or since. The area numbering scheme was developed in , before computers, to make it easier for the SSA to store the applications in Baltimore files that were organized by regions and alphabetically. Originally, it was intended for SSA internal use and convenience, and was not intended for anything more.

However, it's a good clue for the family sleuth! Since , the SSA has used an electronic system, or computer, to maintain records of approximately 60 million deaths that have been reported to them.

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This database is in tape format, which is not searchable by the public. However, the U. Department of Commerce does sell these reels of magnetic tape to genealogical services that reformat the information on their own searchable computer databases or publish it on cd-roms. These include Social Security number, last name and first name, date of death and date of birth, zip code of last residence, and zip code of lump sum payment recipient.

Search the SSDI Social Security Death Index records for free on gistpopelandsi.ml

As with any electronic data, problems exist in the original database, and these errors flow through to all versions of the Social Security Death Index. For example, the SSA database allows only twelve letters for last name and nine letters for first name, with all other letters being truncated, or left off. Also, data entry errors do occur. If you can't find someone by first and last name and birth date, try searching by first name only and as much other information as you can to narrow the search. Be sure to visit Kathleen Hinckley's Family Detective web site.

In addition to data entry errors, be aware that the death date may contain month and year only, especially before Another issue is that the zip code information may lead you in the wrong direction. Zip codes were not used until , and the location assigned to a zip code is based on U. Postal Service assignment of localities to a given zip code. This may not be the town where the person actually lived, nor where final benefits were sent.

For example, a zip code of results in two Missouri town names-Chesterfield, and Town and Country.

What is the Social Security Death Index?

Do not be fooled into thinking the zip code or locality of last residence is where the person died. They may have last resided in Patterson, Missouri, but actually died in a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. In that case, you would never find a death certificate in Missouri.


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Having told you all the pitfalls to watch out for, I will say that you can still find many valuable clues in the SSDI. Let's start with who is not in the SSDI. Everyone who received a Social Security number or paid withholding tax is not in the database. My grandmother, who paid withholding taxes most of her life, looked forward to collecting benefits upon retirement at age 60 in