Find Family Members With The Social Security Death Index
Find Family Members – Social Security Death Index
By Chris Maione – Head Of OmniTrace Research Department
Our OmniTrace staff often searches Death Indexes to find living persons. Why? Because developing information on a deceased person can help you identify and find living family members.
The most commonly used Death Index is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The Social Security Death Index is a searchable database of over 83 million deceased individuals. This index in maintained by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is comprised of records from The Death Master File.
The following information is available on each decedent listed in the Social Security Death Index:
- Last Name
- First Name
- Date of Birth
- Date of Death
- Social Security Number
- Last Known Residence
The Social Security Death Index is usually available for a small fee at various websites, but it also accessible, free, at http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com and is often searchable by the above search fields; however, access may vary depending on the website or source you are utilizing.
Please Note: The absence of an individual in the Social Security Death Index is not proof that they are still living. There are several reasons why someone may be missing from the index. Listed below are some of the most common reasons:
- An individual’s death was not reported to the Social Security Administration.
- No death benefits were requested for the deceased individual.
- An error was made while entering the information into the Social Security Death Index.
One interesting aspect of the Social Security Death Index is that when a person passes away their Social Security Number becomes a public record. The main reason for this is fraud prevention. Fraud investigators will often utilize the Social Security Death Index to find out if a Social Security number belongs to a deceased individual.
By having someone’s Social Security Number you can determine where they were when they applied for their Social Security Number. This can lead to your pinpointing where the decedent’s family members once lived or are currently residing. The first three digits of individual’s Socials Security Number indicate in which state it was issued. So having a Social Security Number can help you determine if the decedent you located is the person you are looking for. For more information please see our prior post on:
Once you locate a person in the Social Security Death Index you can use the Freedom of Information Act to order their Original Social Security Number Application. The fee for this service is $27.00.
A Social Security Application may contain the following information:
- Name at time of application
- Name at birth (Maiden Name)
- Mailing address at time of application
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Father’s name
- Mother’s maiden name
The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a very powerful search tool and can help you find family members and determine their past or current whereabouts.