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From: Ida Skarson McCormick <>
Subject: Re: [APG] Why we don't find everyone in the Social Security DeathIndex
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 01:57:26 -0800
References: <45A659A0.9080600@eskimo.com><000001c73776$0cc56480$5a5ad6d1@EagleOne>
In-Reply-To: <000001c73776$0cc56480$5a5ad6d1@EagleOne>


I have sent for a number of the SS applications and find them
extremely valuable, sometimes more so than a death certificate.

When I didn't find someone in the index, I found the SS # some other
way and submitted an edited form of the standard letter provided on
RootsWeb's version of the SSDI. You can request that the SSA search
for you, but I didn't want to risk their sending the wrong person's
application, or not at all, because of spelling variations or it
being a common name. In three different cases of persons not in the
SSDI, this is what I did:

(1) Person born 1894: I found old correspondence from the SSA when
the widow''s and orphans' pension application was rejected in 1948
for insufficient quarter credits. That letter had the SS number on
it. SSA still required me to fax them a copy of his death
certificate, even though the likelihood he could still be alive at
109 or so was practically nil.

(2) Person born 1906 died 1947: I got the SSA# from the funeral
home. SSA already had proof of death, because orphans' benefits had
been paid. That request went sailing through.

(3) Person born 1937, died 1989: He was not old enough to collect
Social Security benefits himself, so he didn't make it into the
index. He left no widow, and his children were grown. I got his
SS# from the state death index on microfilm. I had to obtain his
death certificate very quickly and send it to SSA, when they
requested it with a short deadline. They had no proof of death on
file before that.

Some death certificates also have the SS#.

Some surprises I have had:

(1) Women born in the 1880s who didn't work outside the home since
1910 are in the index, because they lived into the era of Medicare, I presume.

(2) A woman (1935-1968), whose children collected orphans' benefits,
isn't in the index.

(3) A farmer (1898-1971), who otherwise would not have been covered,
drove a school bus and thus is in the SSDI.

(4) A woman (1888-1968), who I thought was always a housewife, cooked
for the school lunchroom and thus is in the SSDI.

In cases of uncommon surnames, I look at everybody of that surname in
the SSDI, or sometimes just within one state. Variations in the
given name can really throw you. I do not believe the given name
field is Soundexed. Sometimes people turn up in the index with a
previously unknown first name, if they "always" went by their middle name.

Names of parents who did not emigrate to the USA may be
"Americanized" in their child's application.

--Ida Skarson McCormick, , Seattle

At 04:48 PM 1/13/2007, David Farris wrote:
>I have been following this topic for a couple of days now and have enjoyed
>it. Joyce wrote that pre-1962 deaths are not indexed. That explains why I
>have not found a listing for my great-grandfather. He was a mayor in a Texas
>town so I think he would have a SS number. He died June 4, 1960. What
>options do we have to find this info. Is there somewhere we can write or
>call. I know we can order there application card but I don't have his SS
>David Farris

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