Ancestry has added a great new database with 49 million records for researchers working in 20th- and early-21st-century America: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Entries in this database tend to have more information than the death index, including the following:

  • Applicant’s full name

  • SSN (included if the person is deceased more than 10 years; otherwise Ancestry suppresses this data)

  • Date and place of birth

  • Citizenship

  • Sex

  • Father’s first and surname

  • Mother’s first and maiden name

  • Race/ethnic description (optional)

The best part of this database is that it often notes name changes, usually for marriages, making it invaluable for researching women in your tree who may have had multiple spouses.

In the example above, I’ve blurred surnames and some other information. (This ancestor has been deceased for more than 20 years but since she didn’t get to volunteer for my blog, I’m respectful of her privacy.) In the notes field at bottom are indications of two marriages along with dates for the name changes.  Looking for marriage records just got much easier. I have gleaned five new pieces of information from this single record, including a surname misspelling that is now cleared up.

Ancestry notes, “You may also find some unusual abbreviations or truncated entries for county and other names and punctuation errors in the data. These are in the original; we have not altered the text.” From what I’ve seen in results so far, these tend to be geographic locations; for example, “Cleveland Cuy” instead of spelling out Cuyahoga County.

U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 is a great new addition for 20th-century records. And don’t worry – everyone in this index is deceased, so your personal information is safe (or as safe as it can be these days!).

Here’s another post about using Social Security records that can help.