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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Beth's Weekly Moultrie Observer Column - Week 22
(This appears here courtesy of The Moultrie Observer)

My mind is always sort of attuned to writing these columns...and I have a mental "box" where I file things I run across that I think you might enjoy reading.
Here's something from that little box in my head: Christopher Columbus wasn't his real name and history is uncertain about what really was his name. He was born in one of five years - nobody seems certain exactly when he was born. Nor is anyone certain of where he was born. He was reburied seven times in four hundred years, so nobody is really sure where he is really buried.
No wonder he got out of Europe and discovered a country where all of that information would be on everyone's Social Security card - or records after you die!
Speaking of Social Security...
Lest we forget that I'm really supposed to be writing about genealogy and genealogical research here (although newspaper browsing is sometimes oozed into these lines), I thought it might be interesting to think about how the Social Security Administration (SSA) can really help the family genealogist.
If you are researching ancestors who died after 1937, you will find much helpful information in the SSA records. You will want to look at the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).
You say, "What do I do when I locate an ancestor in the SSDI?"
You can learn their date of birth, date of death and possibly the location the last check was sent. You can learn more.
The original Social Security application form (SS-5) has valuable information and can serve as documentation for your records. The SSA will make copies of the SS-5 for third parties who request information on a deceased individual. Information available on this form includes full name (including maiden name for women), age at last birthday, father's full name, sex and race, current employer's name and address and the applicant's signature!
You will also find the present mailing address at the time the SS-5 was filled out and the date and place of birth, the mother's full name (including maiden name) and if the person has ever applied for Social Security Number or Social Security or Railroad Retirement before and the date the application was filed.
You may visit to view the SSDI and also generate and print the standard request letter. You need to send $7.00 along with the request to the Social Security.
If you can't find your ancestor on the SSDI you may still send in a request for their original SS-5 form. You will need to send their name and Social Security number. If you don't have their number, here are some places you might look: personal papers, funeral home records, voter registration rolls, death certificate, records held by financial institutions and former employers of the individual.
If you can't find the Social Security number, you may request a records search with the SSA. For this you must send $16.50 and provide the full name, state of birth and date of birth to: Freedom of Information Officer, 4-8-8 Annex Building, 6401 Security Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21235.
If you can provide the names of parents, this is helpful. Send the death certificate if you can or other proof of the death of the individual.
Following the genealogical rule of "nothing is as easy as you think it is," you must remember that not everyone who has, or has had, a Social Security card will appear on the SSDI. The SSDI only lists those individuals for whom a lump sum death benefit was paid. Many other enrolled persons are not listed either because their death was not reported or they are still living.

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