Find Your Ancestors in the U.S. Social Security Records

The Untied States Social Security records is a great place to find your ancestors. Social Security cards started to be issued back in the 1930’s and an applicant had to fill an application in order to receive one. Now days every child born in the U.S. gets one assigned to them.

Social Security Death Index

The first resource when it comes to researching the Social Security Records is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). When a person dies and it is reported to the Social Security Administration they are placed in the SSDI. This index displays people who died between 1962 and the present. Some prior entries are listed but not that many.


Photo by Lane V. Erickson/

The information that you will be able to find will be:

  • Month and year of the death
  • Social Security number
  • State where the number was issued
  • Last zip code of residence or zip code where the death benefit was sent

Lucky for us we have the SSDI available for us to search for our ancestors and it is available at several locations on the internet.

SSDI on the Internet:

This is a list of the different websites that you can search the SSDI for your ancestors.

Going Beyond the SSDI

Once you find an ancestor listed in the SSDI you can request a full copy of their application, which is known as a SS-5. The current fee is $21.00 per record when you happen to know the Social Security number.

Please note that you are charged the fee regardless if the Social Security Administration is able to find any information on the person. Your request can also take up to six months to be processed.

You can also obtain copies of your ancestor’s SS-5 application by:

The information that you will be able to find will be:

  • Applicant’s full name
  • Age at last birthday
  • Date and place of birth
  • Father and mother’s full name (including the mother’s maiden name)
  • Gender
  • Date signed and applicant’s signature

I hope that this page makes it easier for you to find your ancestors information. Whats great about it, is that if you have an ancestor for whom you don’t know his or her parents, a copy of their application may be able to provide you with their names.

About Moises Garza

I have doing my family genealogy since 1998. I am also the creator of this blog Mexican Genealogy, and my personal blog We Are Cousins. To always be up to date with both of these sites follow me on facebook. Please feel free to contact me for anything.

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