Using Social Security For Genealogy

Social security records can be a helpful tool for genealogists to use. If you have a relative who was working after 1935 they probably had a social security number.

Social Security Application, Form SS-5

When someone applied for their number they filled out an application, Form SS-5. This form contained the following information: Visit Freedom of Information Act page of Social Security On-Line for information on how to obtain a copy of SS-5.

Social Security Death Index

The Social Security Death Index can be a very useful database. Many genealogy sites contain copies of the index but the one I use the most is at the Family Tree Maker site. Their Social Security Death Index database is one of the largest and most useful databases available. It contains names, birth dates, death dates, Social Security numbers, and other useful information about more than 55 million people. Best of all, it's FREE.

Social Security Number

As you probably know a social security number is made up of 3 parts (XXX-XX-XXXX) The first three numbers represent the area, the second two numbers are the group, and the last four are the serial number. The area is determined by where the person applied for the social security number. Knowing someone's SSN can help determine where a person was living at the time of application. Below is the number/area list:

0000 Unused001-003 NH004-007 ME008-009 VT010-034 MA
035-039 RI040-049 CT050-134 NY135-158 NJ159-211 PA
212-220 MD221-222 DE223-231 VA232-236 WV237-246 NC
247-251 SC252-260 GA261-267 FL268-302 OK303-317 IN
318-361 IL362-386 MI387-399 WI400-407 KY408-415 TN
416-424 AL425-428 MS429-432 AR433-439 LA440-448 OK
449-467 TX468-477 MN478-485 IA486-500 MO501-502 ND
503-504 SD505-508 NE509-515 KS516-517 MT518-519 ID
520 WY521-524 CO525 NM526-527 AZ528-529 UT
530 NV531-539 WA540-544 OR545-573 CA574 AK
575-576 HI577-579 DC580 Virgin Islands581-584 Puerto Rico585 NM
586 *Pacific Islands587-588 MS589-595 FL596-599 Puerto Rico600-601 AZ
602-626 CA627-699 Unassigned700-728 Railroad workers/1963729-899 Unassigned900-999 Not valid
*Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Philippine Islands.