Seattle Genealogical Society Tip of the Week



People just starting their genealogy research, and who know little about their parents or grandparents, are told that if their ancestor was alive after the Social Security system was established in 1935, they should get that person’s Social Security application.  The application should list the person’s parents’ names as well as the person’s place of birth. Since this application was completed by the individual, it should be more accurate than other sources. But ordering these applications can be expensive and time consuming.

Ancestry now has a new database called “U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007”.  The difference between this database and the old Social Security Death Index is that the new database reports the individual’s place of birth and both parents’ names, which is what one wants from the SSN application in the first place.

Of course keep in mind, you won’t find your ancestor in this index if they died before the Social Security Act of 1935 or if they never applied for Social Security.

If you don’t have a subscription to Ancestry, visit the SGS library and use our computers, or try your local community library.