Ancestry.com has recently added “Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007″ to their list of searchable databases. The description of the database includes the phrase:

“It includes information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process…”

I’m not entirely certain what that means. The information on the individuals in the database (49 million by the Ancestry.com count) appears to have been taken from the SS-5 card (“Application for a Social Security and Tax Account Number”). The information in this database is for deceased individuals.

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Entry for Peter Verikios. Verikios died in Chicago in 1947 and is not in the Social Security Death Index. “Original SSN” probably refers to the SS5 card for this person.

Not all entries in the database are equal. The information from Peter Verikios appears to have been taken from the SS-5 card for him (in his case it was likely self-provided and subject to all those concerns about information a person provides on themselves). There is no residential information on Peter in this database. I knew it was “him” because the date and place of birth matched a Peter Verikios I have been researching for years. I was not really surprised that Peter had a Social Security Number as he lived in Chicago and was not self-employed.

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Entry for Charles Thomas Neill. Neill died in Hancock County, Illinois, in 1948 and is not in the Social Security Death Index.

I was somewhat surprised that Charles Neill had an entry. He was a self-employed farmer for most of his life (Except around 1901-1903 when he worked as a hired man for his future mother-in-law, but there was not Social Security during that time period). Many farmers during the time period Charles lived did not have social security numbers. He died in 1948 (not noted anywhere on the record at Ancestry.com).

The data on the entries comes directly from the Social Security Administration and often contains incorrect spellings, abbreviations, and other idiosyncrasies. The entry for Charles Neill lists his place of birth as “West Point, H[ancock], Illinois.

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Entry for Ida Loeira[sic] Neill. Ida is in the Social Security Death Index.


The entry for Ida Neill has her middle name completely mangled, using “Loeria” for Laura. The rest of the information appears to have been correct-essentially. The birth place is indicated as “Tioga Walker, Illinois” which actually refers to Tioga in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois.

 

The database does not include every dead person who had a social security number.  Searches for the Anna Lake (whose SS-5 card is shown) were unsuccessful.

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The SS-5 card shown in this post indicates that more information is on the card for the individual than what is in the Ancestry.com database.

The search interface is fairly robust as shown below. Searches can be conducted on name of the individual, their parents, and other boxes as shown below. The locations are tied to Ancestry.com‘s database of locations the use of which can be problematic given how some locations are in the database (my great uncle born in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, has a place of birth as “Barthage.”). Typing a small town, township or other similar location in the keyword box may be a good search approach.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m so disappointed out of 8 families, non of my direct relatives. Ho hum, thought it would be a great way to verify birth dates and birth places.

  2. My first foray was decidedly mixed. I had no problem finding relatives who were born in the 1860s and ’70s, but my grandparents who were born between 1903 and 1907 were nowhere to be found. Not even the one who died in 1964. I have his Social Security card, so I know he signed up.

    My guess is that they cut off the later records out of privacy concerns, but I would have appreciated a better explanation of what was actually included.

  3. I also would like to know what was included and why. I found my parents. I found my paternal grandmother but no Social Security number was included (why would she appaer then). I did not find my paternal grandfather but did find him in the SSDI. I looked for my maternal grandparents; I did not find them in the Application And Claims Index or the SSDI.
    As I said, why have information about a claim but no SS number?

    • I don’t have an answer to that question. There are a few others I have as well. I’m hoping to get answers, but time will tell.

  4. I found this to have bunches of information. I enjoy using it to find exact birthdates, and places (yes, secondary source but better than no info). If a woman marries more than once, they show a date of name change. Not an exact date of marriage, but SOME idea, and I picked up a few marriages that I did not know about.

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