The One Guy I Really Want to Find in the SSA Files at Ancestry.com

There is really only one guy I’d like to find in the “Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007″ database at Ancestry.com: William Frame Apgar.wialliam-apgar

A few readers privately ask “how hard is it to search for someone in this database?”It’s easier when you “know everything” about a person and have quiet a few details about their lives. It’s more difficult when:

  • You aren’t really certain how accurate the date of birth you have is
  • You don’t know where the person lived after they were in their mid-to-late twenties
  • You are not certain which name the person may have used

For these reasons, before I search anymore for William it is probably advised to revisit what I know about him.  This is an important part of the genealogical problem solving process, which in a nutshell is:

  • State what you know and how you know it
  • Decide what you want to search
  • Search it
  • Evaluate results

So what I know about William Frame Apgar:

He was the son of English natives Thomas and Elizabeth (Watson) Frame. For a time before his teens he may have lived with a family with the last name of Apgar. Why this happened I am not certain. He marries his wife under the name William Frame Apgar, but is enumerated in 1910 as William Frame. His wife uses the last name of Apgar when she divorces him in the early 1920s. William could not be located during the divorce proceedings and was no heard of after that point.

The following records have been located on William:

  • Marriage record–in Cook County, Illinois. William Frame Apgar marries Mary Demar. No parents named on Cook County records during this time period. Couple married 24 December 1909 at the courthouse. They were not married in a church.
  • World War I Draft Registration Card for William Apgar indicated he was born 21 September 1888 in Chicago and living at 11527 Michigan Avenue (this was also address of employer). William indicated he was married with three children.
  • 1910 US Census–21 year old William Frame–living as a roomer in household of Louis Demar (his father-in-law), with his wife Mary and daughter Lillian at 11942 State Street, Chicago. William indicated his parents were born in England.
  • 1900 US Census–Willie Frame (aged 10 born August 1889) living in household of parents Thomas and Elizabeth Frame at 2543 118th Street Chicago.
  • Employment records for Pullman Car Company indicate William Frame’s father T. Frame also worked at the car company when Thomas did and gives the 2543 118th Street address for William. The ages on the employment record suggest William was born in either 1888 or 1889.

It’s not bad to review the information I already have in order to determine if the records are likely for the same person or not.

I am not entirely certain of the year William was born. He may have been listed as Either William Apgar, William Frame, or William Frame Apgar. He may have listed his Frame parents in the “Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007″ or he may not have (there are some entries without parents).

Searches will have to be conducted in a variety of ways when I’m searching for him in the “Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007″ database. Completely every box in the search interface is not the appropriate procedure.

And it is completely possible that William simply is not in the index. Since I don’t know anything about him after 1920 or so it’s possible that he died before Social Security was even started.

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