Social Security Act of 1936 provided security for American workers, and
a source of information for today's genealogists and family historians.
Each time a participant in the Social Security program dies, a death certificate
must be filed. The Social Security Administration maintains a computer
database that is an index of these deceased persons and makes it available
to interested persons. It is available both at this Internet address and
in any LDS Family History Center.
The implementation of the Social Security Act in 1937 stipulated that
applicants fill out forms requiring data about their birth, family status,
and employment. Not only were millions of files created for members
of our families, it forced many of our relatives, who until then had
no recorded birth, to go to the local county clerks or state office
of vital statistics to file a delayed birth certificate. Do not overlook
these delayed birth certificates in your research.
The Social Security Death Index allows you to type in an ancestor's
name and learn if their death was reported to the Social Security Administration.
If it was, you'll learn their social security number, date, and place of death, date and
place of issuance of their social security card. This information permits
you to contact the Social Security Administration to obtain a copy of
your ancestor's social security file. This file will contain information
about them and their family. It also contains information about employment
and even military service.
Some users of the Social Security Death Index database are surprised
to learn that they cannot find sought-for ancestors. Remember that persons
who were self-employed, employed by railroad companies, the federal
government, or the military may not be listed. Railroad workers are
covered by the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935. The Railroad Retirement
Board in Chicago has their records. Check with nearest National Archives
regional office for guidance in finding military personnel records.
The nearest federal personnel office will have information about government