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Death of the Social Security Death Index

The genealogy world is spinning this week by the announcement that Rootsweb will no longer offer access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). This index is an important tool for identifying death records nationwide. The SSDI index entry also contains birth dates; last known residence and where the individual applied for their social security card. It is invaluable information for the family historian.

The Social Security Act was signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. Since 1962 the Social Security Administration has kept computerized records of applications and the index to these records is available through the SSDI. The records from 1936 to 1961 are not in the online index but are available through a written request at www.socialsecurity.gov.

The loss of Rootsweb access to the SSDI is particularly difficult because this site offered free access to the index. However, we are all pretty calm about the loss of the SSDI on Rootsweb here at the library. We have always had free access to the SSDI through our Newsbank database subscription.

If you have a RCPL library card you have the same access that we do! In fact, the SSDI in Newsbank is, in our humble opinion, the best one available. It has easy to use search features and offers detailed information that the other sites do not include.  Because Newsbank is mainly used for current newspaper indexing we can easily maneuver through the SSDI to the newspaper index and locate obituaries. It is another RCPL Win! Win! for library card holders.


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