The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) was among the first collections posted on Ancestry when the website first began adding content back in 1996. Since then, it has been a boon to researchers looking for 20th-century ancestors and those doing descendancy, heirship, and other types of forensic genealogical research.
Once you locate an ancestor in the SSDI, you can get even more details and a glimpse at your ancestor’s autograph by requesting the SS-5 form, which is the application they filled out for to request a Social Security number. The SS-5 gives the applicant’s name, address at the time of the application, employer’s name and address, full birth date and place, gender, race, parents’ names, and signature. Below is my grandfather’s SS-5.
The downside? It costs $27 and it takes time: they suggest allowing 4-6 weeks for delivery. (Information on requesting an SS-5 can be found here.)
For 49 million people whose records were extracted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), some of these details can now be found on Ancestry. In Ancestry’s exclusive new collection U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, you’ll find information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birthplace, and parents’ names. While not everyone found in the SSDI is included in this collection, you may find some people in this collection that are not in the SSDI.
My great-grandfather does not appear in the SSDI (most likely because his death was not reported to the SSA), but there is an extract from a life claim he made in 1948.
While his record only lists his birthplace as Hungary, this record for a different John Szucs gives the town name and his parents’ names.
While the contents of the extract will vary from person to person, this is a fantastic resource for 20th-century research, and you don’t have to wait 4-6 weeks for results. Dive in and start searching for your family now.