Death Index Helps Genealogists – And Enables Fraud

The Social Security Death Index is a great resource for genealogists. It can be used to validate the research that a genealogist has already completed. Unfortunately, there are thieves who are using this same database to commit tax fraud and identify theft. The Death Master File is a database that was created in 1980. It contains the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of more than 90 million deceased Americans. It became accessible under the Freedom of Information Act because businesses in the United States wanted to use it as a tool against identity theft. The Social Security Death … Continue reading

Demystifying the Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Death Index (also known as the SSDI, Social Security Master Death List, or other similar names) is perhaps the most misunderstood index that is commonly used by genealogical researchers. Why is there so much confusion about the SSDI? I am not sure exactly why, but perhaps its name suggests that its contents are more inclusive than they actually are. In today’s society, nearly every American has a Social Security number. In the 1930’s, when the Social Security program came into existence, that was not the case. Many people did not get Social Security numbers because the program … Continue reading

Are You Sure Your Relative is Dead?

There is an old saying that states that the only two things that one can be certain of are death and taxes. Clearly, no one is going to get out of paying their taxes. Death, however, might be another story. The Social Security Death Index doesn’t always have correct information. This can lead to a lot of confusion for genealogists, and big problems for those listed as dead who are actually quite alive. The Social Security Death Index, also known as the SSDI or the Social Security Master Death List, can be a useful resource for genealogists. This index can … Continue reading

Genealogy Alphabet Soup

Today I thought that I would write a little poem, an alphabetical “ode to genealogy” if you will. Enjoy! A- Is for ancestors, from which we are descended. B – Is for genealogy books, and reading them is recommended. C – Is for the care with which we handle ancient records. D – Is for our role as family history detective. E – Is for the enormous amounts of time we spend on research. F – Is for the family, whose history is what we search. G – Is fairly obvious, that’s for genealogy. H – Is for how did … Continue reading