Searching FamilySearch's SSDI.
Did you know FamilySearch <www.familysearch.org
> has its own version of the US Social Security Death Index (SSDI)?
This index contains records of deaths reported to the Social Security
Administration (SSA) from 1936 on. Most entries are from 1962 or later,
but the index encompasses some people born as early as the late 19th
century. The SSDI is a useful tool to find birth and death dates, as
well as a last place of residence — which can help locate a death
certificate or obituary.
Searching FamilySearch's SSDI is flexible. Even if you're unsure of
an ancestor's last name, to use an extreme example, you can enter just
a first name and find, say, all the people named John born in 1895
whose Social Security numbers were issued in lowa. Or enter a last name
and a death date to find, for example, everyone with a Social Security
card and the surname Graham who died in 1942. The search will even
ferret out similar spellings.
The SSDI tells you the place where the death benefit payment was
sent, which is a potential lead to living relatives. Because the SSDI
also lists where your ancestor was living when issued a Social Security
number, you may be able to trace that person to his or her state of
birth. Once you locate a Social Security number, you can write to get
even more information from the SSA. If you can't find your relative in
the SSDI, keep checking — the database is updated periodically. You'll
find other versions of the SSDI at RootsWeb <ssdi.genealogy.rootsweb.com>
and Family Tree Legends <www.familytreelegends.com/ssdi
From the January 2004 Family Tree Magazine.