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:
Freedom of Information Act page of Social Security On-Line
for information on how to obtain a copy of SS-5.
- Applicants full name and address
- Applicants age and birthday
- Place of employment
- Place of birth
- Name of parents, including mothers maiden name
- Their sex and race
- Date of application
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:
*Guam, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Philippine Islands.
|0000 Unused||001-003 NH||004-007 ME||008-009 VT||010-034 MA|
|035-039 RI||040-049 CT||050-134 NY||135-158 NJ||159-211 PA|
|212-220 MD||221-222 DE||223-231 VA||232-236 WV||237-246 NC|
|247-251 SC||252-260 GA||261-267 FL||268-302 OK||303-317 IN|
|318-361 IL||362-386 MI||387-399 WI||400-407 KY||408-415 TN|
|416-424 AL||425-428 MS||429-432 AR||433-439 LA||440-448 OK|
|449-467 TX||468-477 MN||478-485 IA||486-500 MO||501-502 ND|
|503-504 SD||505-508 NE||509-515 KS||516-517 MT||518-519 ID|
|520 WY||521-524 CO||525 NM||526-527 AZ||528-529 UT|
|530 NV||531-539 WA||540-544 OR||545-573 CA||574 AK|
|575-576 HI||577-579 DC||580 Virgin Islands||581-584 Puerto Rico||585 NM|
|586 *Pacific Islands||587-588 MS||589-595 FL||596-599 Puerto Rico||600-601 AZ|
|602-626 CA||627-699 Unassigned||700-728 Railroad workers/1963||729-899 Unassigned||900-999 Not valid|