Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tuesday's Tip - Use the Ancestry.com Collection for U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims

The Ancestry.com record collection for the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007 is one of my favorite collections.  

The description of the collection on the collection page says:
"This database picks up where the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) leaves off by providing more details than those included in the SSDI. It includes information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birth place, and parents’ names. While you will not find everybody who is listed in the SSDI in this database, data has been extracted for more than 49 million people.
"Information you may find includes:
  • applicant's full name
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • date and place of birth
  • citizenship
  • sex
  • father's name
  • mother's maiden name
  • race/ethnic description (optional)
"You may also find details on changes made to the applicant's record, including name changes or information on claims that were recorded. The most common types of claims noted include: Original SSN (when the original application was submitted to obtain a SSN), Life Claim (when a claim was made for disability or retirement benefits), Death Claim (when a claim was made by a surviving family member for death or survivor benefits), and Duplicate SSN (usually used when an application was made to replace a SS card, it may also indicate a change in SSN or that more than one SSN was assigned).
"Note: Some records may include unusual abbreviations or truncated entries for county and other names or punctuation errors in the data. These are in the original; we have not altered the text."

This record collection currently has 134,351,603 records for 49 million Social Security application and claim records.  It is an indexed collection without record images.  

I entered several exact surnames in the "Last Name" search field and found:

*  1,319 for "Seaver"
*  335 for "Seavers"
*  197 for "Seever"
*  587 for "Seevers"
*  633 for "Sever"
*  706 for "Severs"

*  218 for "Carringer"
*  28 for "Caringer"

*  183 for "Vaux"

*  267 for "Auble"

*  867,.042 for "Smith"

Here is an example of a record summary from this collection:

It is important to understand what this collection represents and includes.  Not every Social Security application, and not every claim, is included in this collection.  However, there are many applications and claims for which all (or some) of the full applicant name, other applicant names, birth dates, birth places, death dates, death places, parents names, and social security card numbers are provided.

At a minimum, it provides a clue that the person applied for and received a social security card, and may have collected benefits.  The information on the record in the collection can be used to obtain an image of the Social Security Application filled out by the person (or a representative) from the Social Security Administration for a deceased individual, with some privacy restrictions on parents names, for a fee of $29 (use the form at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps9/eFOIA-FEWeb/internet/main.jsp).

This is strictly a 20th (and 21st) century record, and as such can be very useful to find birth dates and places, death dates, alternate applicant names, and parents names.

For those interested in mining this record collection for Hints of persons in their Ancestry Member Tree, the Ancestry.com database number is 60901.  Currently, I have over 2,000 Hints for persons in my Ancestry Member Tree who are indexed in this record collection.  I work on them occasionally, adding content and source citations to this record collection to my RootsMagic family tree.


NOTE:  Tuesday's Tips is a genealogy blog meme intended to provide information about a resource helpful to genealogists and family historians, especially in the online genea-world.  

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Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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