Genealogy: Researching the Social Security Death Index

Social Secuirty CardBy Barry J. Ewell

The Social Security Act (Act of August 14, 1935) [H. R. 7260] was created as an attempt to limit what was seen as dangers in the modern American life, including old age, poverty, unemployment, and the burdens on widows and fatherless children. By signing this act on August 14, 1935, President Roosevelt became the first president to advocate federal assistance for the elderly. The Act provided benefits to retirees and the unemployed, and a lump-sum benefit at death.

Search the Social Security Death Index
You might want to start by checking out the Social Security Death Index which is available online from a variety of commercial services (usually the search is free). The Death Index contains a listing of persons who had a Social Security number, who are deceased, and whose death was reported to the Social Security Administration. (The information in the Death Index for people who died prior to 1962 is sketchy since SSA’s death information was not automated before that date. Death information for persons who died before 1962 is generally only in the Death Index if the death was actually reported to SSA after 1962, even though the death occurred prior to that year.) Continue reading

Genealogy: World War I 1917-1919, Researching Draft Registration cards

WWI SoldiersBy Barry J. Ewell
The United States instituted a draft that included 24 million men between the ages of 18 and 45.  There were three registration periods which had requested slightly different information:

  • Version 1: June 5, 1917 for all men 21-31
  • Version 2: June 5, 1918 all men who turned 21 since last draft
  • Version 3: September 12, 1918 for all men 18-45

Continue reading

Genealogy: Certificates of Naturalization and where to find Immigration records

Certificates of Naturalization and where to find Immigration recordsBy Barry J. Ewell

Most certificates of naturalization contain only the name of the individual, the name of the court, and the date of issue. Certificates were issued to naturalized citizens upon completion of all citizenship requirements. The Certificate of Naturalization includes name, address, birthplace or nationality, country from which they emigrated, birth date or age, Continue reading

Genealogy: Census Records—There is more than population schedules

Census Records—There is more than population schedulesBy Barry J. Ewell

Be aware that in addition to population schedules, there were other schedules taken usually at the same time. There are resources online and in print that provide more detail on these schedules and how to use them in genealogy research. These other schedules include the following:

  • Mortality Schedule: conducted from 1850 to 1885, provides information about persons who died during the twelve months prior to the census. Continue reading

Genealogy: Where to find archives for major US religious denominations

Where to find archives for major US religious denominationsBy Barry J. Ewell

The following are locations for finding the archives of various US religious denominations:

  1. Adventists—Washington, DC
  2. American Baptists—Rochester, NY
  3. Southern Baptists—Nashville, TN
  4. Brethren in Christ Church—Grantham, PA Continue reading

Genealogy: Researching land records

Researching land recordsBy Barry J. Ewell

One of the major factors influencing our ancestors coming to America was the availability of land. There is a high likelihood that your ancestor can be found in land records. It is estimated that by the mid-1800s, as many as ninety percent of all adult white males owned land in the United States. Continue reading

Genealogy: How to increase your success in finding the ancestor’s maiden name

How to increase your success in finding the ancestor’s maiden nameBy Barry J. Ewell

It’s not uncommon for immigrant ancestors to marry outside of their culture. In my case I have Great-Great Grandmother Dahle, a Norwegian, marrying into my Welsh Jones line. In these situations the key is being able to locate the maiden name of the female ancestor. In my own research I have found that female maiden names are not included in the records of our male ancestors. For example: Females were not allowed to vote until the twentieth century and seldom owned land. Even in church records, we often find the full name of the husband or father, but then only the first name is listed for the female. Continue reading