Many researchers do not know about, or forget to use the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). The SSDI at Rootsweb is probably the best available, and provides a couple of search options.
- The basic option permits searching on last name, first name, middle name or initial and/or, social security number. The surname can be searched using exact, soundex or metaphone spelling.
- In addition to the above, the advanced option permits searches using Zip, State, County, City, birth dates, death year and month and issue state.
Before becoming as dependent on it as I have in recent years, I often misinterpreted some of the data fields.
- Last Residence - This may or may not be the location where the person lived or died. Rootsweb believes that a better description for this field might be "the address of record."
- Last Benefit - This "can be the last residence" of the deceased "or, the location where the final lump-sum payment (burial benefit) was sent." Someone [a widow, child, etc.] in the "Last Benefit" zip received the burial benefit from Social Security.
Click on the title link to read more tips about using this valuable resource.