United States Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a free collection at FamilySearch with a name index to deaths recorded by the Social Security Administration beginning in 1962. This collection is current as of February 28, 2014.
“The “Social Security Death Index” is an online searchable database. This index is a master index file of deceased individuals whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration. It has been kept since 1962, when operations were computerized. The index includes a few deaths from 1937 to 1961, about 50 percent of deceased persons from 1962 to 1971, and about 85 percent of deceased persons from 1972 to 2005. Records for the most recent 3 years are not available.”
“Married women are usually listed in this index under their married name. Last names longer than 12 letters are shortened to 12 characters. The death place listed is not necessarily the place of death, it is the last place of residence that the Social Security Administration has on file. When two geographical divisions are given they represent County/State as opposed to City/State. For example Jefferson, Texas refers to the county of Jefferson not the City of Jefferson. If a town name of last residence is not listed, it may be found by use of the Zip code. The death date, residence at time of death, Social Security number, and state of issue are usually reliable information since the information comes directly from the Social Security Administration’s master file. However, realize that errors may have occurred when the information was originally entered. Information listed for the name and birth date was provided by an informant and may be inaccurate.”
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What Can I Learn from the SSDI?
These death records may include:
- Name of the deceased (Married women are usually listed by their married name.)
- Birth date
- Death date
- State or territory where the Social Security number was issued
- Death residence, zip code and corresponding localities (This in not necessarily the place of death, it is the last place of residence that the Social Security Administration has on file.)