The Social Security Death Index - SSDI
The U. S. Social Security Death Index is an index of over seventy million deceased people who had social security numbers and whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. To be listed in the Social Security Death Index, all that is needed is that the person must have had a social security number and his death must have been reported to the Social Security Administration. Social Security payments or a death benefit need not have been paid for a person to be listed in the index. The Social Security Master Death File was computerized in 1962 and very few names before then are in the index.
Search the SSDI
There are many SSDI search engines on the web, but because each company builds its own SSDI database from the data they purchase from the Social Security Administration, the SSDI SEARCH ENGINES are NOT identical.
Enter a surname to view each Social Security Death Index. Refine your search by adding parameters such as first name and location at the search results page. View info below to learn what each SSDI search engine offers.
The SSDIs on the Internet
- Updated weekly and available to Ancestry.com subscribers but it is also available in a
- Exact search and Sound alike search.
- Wildcard search (multiple character *) - enter the * wildcard character to replace one or more characters. The name must contain at least 3 non-wildcard characters. For example, Pow* matches Power, Powers, and Powell.
- Wildcard search (single character ?) - Hans?n matches Hansen and Hanson
- Multiple search combinations allowed - Name field is not required. If you cannot find a person by name because you are unsure of the name (i. e. don't know married name), you can use the Advanced Search which allows searching by the last know residence or birth and death dates without the name.
- Ancestry allows you to save a record into your family tree where it can be used as a source or added as an alternate fact.
- You can make comments or corrections.
- You can generate a letter to order the original document from the Social Security Administration.
- You can make connections with others who have uploaded family tree searching for same name.
Family Search SSDI
(Mormon Church) Free
- Does not state update schedule although the SSDI appears to be updated regularly.
- Automatically does a soundex search unless the "exact" box is checked.
- Must enter either first name or last name in the initial search but can filter results by birth, death, and residence.
- Accepts wild card searches - single character (?) and multiple character (*)
- Gives estimated age at death.
- Update schedule not stated but the database is updated recently.
- Uses wildcard search * to replace multiple characters
- Can filter results by place and date
- Can create a FREE bio page by one or more users adding facts, stories, and photos to SSDI page for person. Suggested facts include birthplace, mother's name, father's name, burial location, and many more.
- Provides interactive life time line.
- View a sample
SSDI Person Page
- Gives only last 4 digits of Social Security Number.
Genealogy Bank SSDI
- Wildcard search (multiple character *) and (single character ?)
- Multiple search combinations allowed - No field is required. If you cannot find a person by name because the name is misspelled or abbreviated or if you are unsure of the name, you can search by any combination of fields without entering the name.
- By searching in both GenealogyBank's SSDI and Obituaries, you receive the obituary or death notice along with the same name that is in the SSDI database..
- Gives day of the week of the person's birth and death
- Gives complete age in years, months and days
- Provides latitude and longitude of last place of residence
- Does not give Social Security Number.
- This search has been taken offline due to "sensitivities"
New England Genealogy Society SSDI
American Ancestors - Free
- Update schedule not stated but updated within the last year
- Soundex search available.
- Wildcard search (multiple character) - an asterisk (*) will replace one or more characters.
- Wildcard search (single character) - a question mark (?) will replace one character.
- Multiple search combinations allowed - No field is required.
You can use the SSDI to --
- Find the birth and death date of the deceased.
- Identify last place of residence to help know where to search for a death certificate, obituary, or will.
- Identify the place where the death benefit payment was sent which could help locate living relatives. The benefit information will indicate where the recipient of the death benefit lived, which is not necessarily the same place as where the deceased lived.
- Determine the state where the social security number was issued which may give another area to search records. This is the state where the deceased applied for his Social Security number, most likely when he/she first got his first job or where he was working when Social Security was started. It may or may not be same as birthplace.
- Use the social security number to request more information from the Social Security Administration. (
). This application form recieved should include the site where the application was made, parents' names, date and place of birth.
- Locate lost relatives who have died.
The index will not --
- Have information about birthplace, spouse, or children.
- Have information on deaths before 1962 when the index was computerized.
- Have information on those whose deaths were not reported to the SS even if the death occurred after 1962.
- Have information on those who did not have a Social Security number because they were Federal or state employees who had their own retirement program.
The SSDI is only an Index--
The SSDI can provide clues but remember that this online database is only an index -- an abbreviated listing. When a person applies for a Social Security Card, he or she must give their current address, date and place of birth, father's name, and mother's maiden name.
The index does not list place of birth or maiden name. However, that information is recorded on the original application form, and copies of those applications may be obtained by mail.
Searching the SSDI--
If you are having difficulty finding someone in the SSDI database, try different combination of searches:
- Search by surname, first initial (instead of first name), state and exact birth date, if known. Some entries in the SSDI database only include the first initial instead of full first name, and other entries may have the first name misspelled.
- Search by last name and birthday with no first name. First name may be abbreviated or misspelled, or may be under nickname.
- Search by first name and birth date leaving the surname field blank. This is a great help if you don't know a woman's married name or if it turns out the surname was recorded incorrectly in the SSDI database.
- Search by last name and death of death .
- Search by date of birth and date of death - you don't need to enter a name, and you'd be surprised how few results you get with this combo making it easier to find the person you are looking for
- Search by both the married name and maiden name of a woman.
Some search results will show the following codes or abbreviations, usually in parentheses: 72, PE, FO, HC, VA. These are internal codes used by the Social Security Administration and are of no use to a genealogist. The abbreviation VA does not mean Virginia or Veterans' Administration.
Social Security Numbers
You can generally tell where a Social Security Number was issued by the first 3 digits of the number. This tells where the person was living when the number was issued, not born, yet it can be a valuable clue as to where to look for additional information.
The Social Security Account Number is divided into three sets of digits. The first 3 digits (area number)indicate the state or territory in which the number was originally issued. The second group of 2 digits (group number) are the order in which SSNs are issued for a particular area. The third group of 4 digits (serial number) is simply issued in numerical sequence.
The following list of the first 3 digits of SS # shows the area where Social Security card was issued: only
- 001-003 New Hampshire
- 004-007 Maine
- 008-009 Vermont
- 010-034 Massachusetts
- 035-039 Rhode Island
- 040-049 Connecticut
- 050-134 New York
- 135-158 New Jersey
- 159-211 Pennsylvania
- 212-220 Maryland
- 221-222 Delaware
- 223-231 Virginia
- 232-236 West Virginia
- 237-246 North Carolina
- 247-251 South Carolina
- 252-260 Georgia
- 261-267 Florida
- 268-302 Ohio
- 303-317 Indiana
- 318-361 Illinois
- 362-386 Michigan
- 387-399 Wisconsin
- 400-407 Kentucky
- 408-415 Tennessee
- 416-424 Alabama
- 425-428 Mississippi
- 429-432 Arkansas
- 433-439 Louisiana
- 440-448 Oklahoma
- 449-467 Texas
- 468-477 Minnesota
- 478-485 Iowa
- 486-500 Missouri
- 501-502 North Dakota
- 503-504 South Dakota
- 505-508 Nebraska
- 509-515 Kansas
- 516-519 Idaho
- 520 Wyoming
- 521-524 Colorado
- 525 New Mexico (also 585 below)
- 526-527 Arizona
- 528-529 Utah
- 530 Nevada
- 531-539 Washington
- 540-544 Oregon
- 545-573 California
- 574 Alaska
- 575-576 Hawaii
- 577-579 District of Columbia
- 580 U.S. Virgin Islands
- 581-585 Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa
- 585 New Mexico (some 585 numbers)
- 586-699 Unassigned
- 700-729 Railroad Retirement Board
- 730-899 Unassigned
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