SSDI Is Wrong
Q: I enjoyed the article about the Social Security Death Index. I have a question. What do you do when the date of death is wrong on the Social Security Death Index? How do you go about correcting it? -- Steve
A: You are not the first individual, nor the last, that will discover an error in the Social Security Death Index. It is important though to understand what is and isn't an error. This is especially true of the Residence at time of death, which is not necessarily wrong.
The entry for my grandfather, for instance, lists his Residence at time of death as Manchester, New Hampshire. He died in Florida though. Many think therefore that the Residence at time of death is wrong as he was in Florida. Actually his legal residence was still in New Hampshire, so really his entry is correct. So, this is an example of one possible error that turns out not to be an error at all.
In your case though, where the date is incorrect, it is good that you want to get the entry corrected. You will need to collect the proper documents, those that prove the entry is incorrect, and take those to your local Social Security office. Understand that it cannot be something like "family knowledge." It needs to be a certified copy of the death certificate or some other acceptable document. You will also need a little patience, as it will take some time before the revision will be included in the SSDI.
Germans to America
Q: I found a 60 volume hard copy reference containing passengers lists from 1850 to 1891 in our local college library about 1 1/2 years ago. I've found many of my relatives who immigrated from Germany in these volumes, some with misspellings. The reference obviously are not loaned out as the references are very expensive. Surely the passenger lists have been converted over to digital format by now, much the same as the Ellis Island passengers lists from 1894 to 1925 have been. Can you help me locate these references? Perhaps Genealogy.com has them on line but to date I have not been unable to find them. I'm certain that this is a no-brainer for you, but I'm struggling to find Internet access to these passenger lists. -- Dennis
A: First, for those who are unaware of this impressive collection, Germans to America was edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby. Both men are well-respected in the field of genealogy. Each volume of this set, which actually covers the years 1850 to 1893 contains about 70,000 entries. Each entry gives the passenger's name, age, and gender. Also, you may find their occupation, country or province of origin, village of residence, and destination. Also, important for those who want to find the original passenger list, the entries include the name of the ship, the date of arrival, and the ports of departure and arrival.
You are correct, that much of this data is available online on Ancestry as part of their International and Passenger Records Collection database.
Getting Added to the SSDI
Q: I was married to Arlin John Smith (name changed to protect the family - ed.), who died in Medina, Medina Co., OH on January 13, 1992. How do I go about getting my name and the name of our child added to your SSDI records? -- Mary
A: While it is likely to find your deceased husband in the SSDI, you would not find yourself or your children in this index. The SSDI is the Social Security Death Index. One must be deceased to be included in this index.
It is not an index to all deceased individuals in the United States. Social Security was not begun until 1937, with the first payments being issued about 1940. The listings were not computerized until the end of 1961, so that the bulk of the entries begin in 1962 and go up through about the year 2000, with entries added monthly or quarterly to the online SSDI databases found around the Internet.
There are a few reasons that a deceased person might not show up in the SSDI in addition to the year they died. Certain occupations, such as railroad workers are not included, as they had their own pension plan. Doctors were not included until recently.