75 Years Ago, Ida May Fuller Got the 1st Social Security Check – Number 00-000-001

Ida-May-Fuller-!st-SS-Check-250pw

On January 31, 1940 (Seventy-five years ago) the U.S. government cut a check for then 65-year-old Ida May Fuller. That check was number was 00-000-001 — the first Social Security check to be sent out.

Ida Mae lived in Ludlow, Vermont, and in early November of 1939, she happened to go by a government office in nearby Rutland. On a whim, she stopped in and asked about Social Security. She applied for benefits, and then got the first check. Now that was unexpected! That check was for $22.54. This monthly check was just a tiny bit less than the $25.75 that was being deducted from her paycheck for the last three years.

When she died in 1975 at age 100, Ida Mae Fuller had received a total of $22,888.92 in social security benefits.

Click here or on the illustration to read an interesting article with more illustrations that was posted on the January 30, 2015 Daily Mail website.

FamilySearch Adds Nearly 11.1 Million Indexed Records & Images to Collections from Brazil, Canada, England, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, & the USA

The following was received from FamilySearch:

FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch has added close to 11.1 million indexed records and images to collections from Barbados, BillionGraves, Brazil, Canada, England, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,703,529 indexed records from the U.S., Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846–1910, collection; the 766,368 indexed records and images from the new Canadian Headstones, collection; and the 2,917,490 indexed records from the England, Kent, Register of Electors, 1570–1907, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org .

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Barbados, Church Records, 1637–1887 – 253,209 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

BillionGraves Index – 534,057 – 534,057 – Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

Brazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804–2013 – 0 – 109,743 – Added images to an existing collection.

Canadian Headstones – 766,368 – 0 – New indexed record collection.

England, Cornwall and Devon Parish Registers, 1538–2010 – 171,083 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

England, Kent, Register of Electors, 1570–1907 – 2,917,490 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Mexico, Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Miscellaneous Marriage Records, 1539–1939 – 0 – 65,075 – Added images to an existing collection.

Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889–1997 – 0 – 137,860 – Added images to an existing collection.

Portugal, Lamego, Diocesan Records, 1529–1963 – 0 – 237,263 – Added images to an existing collection.

Puerto Rico, Catholic Church Records, 1645–1969 – 0 – 1,329 – Added images to an existing collection.

South Africa, Cape Province, Civil Deaths, 1895–1972 – 11,622 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

South Africa, Orange Free State, Estate Files, 1951–2006 – 10 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Spain, Province of Cádiz, Municipal Records, 1784–1956 – 0 – 106,020 – Added images to an existing collection.

Sweden, Kalmar Church Records, 1577–1907; index 1625–1860 – 30,025 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906–1991 – 275,482 – 0 – Added images to an existing collection.

U.S., Iowa, County Marriages, 1838–1934 – 223,134 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., New York, Yates County, Swann Vital Records Collection, 1723–2009 – 63,947 – 87,588 – New indexed records and images collection.

U.S., North Carolina, Estate Files, 1663–1979 – 30,607 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

U.S., Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846–1910 – 2,610,151 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

New England, Petitions for Naturalization, 1787–1931 – 0 – 7,940 – Added images to an existing collection.

United States Muster Rolls of the Marine Corps, 1798–1892 – 1,703,529 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

United States, Obituaries, American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1899–2012 – 3,322 – 4,154 – New indexed records and images collection.

United States Social Security Death Index – 213,017 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Access to Social Security Death Index Information Has Been Limited by Congress

According to a must-read blog at The Legal Genealogist website, the much-heralded budget bill that was signed into law on December 26th included the partial-closure of the Social Security Death Index along with the exemption of SSDI information from the Freedom of Information Act. This was included in the budget bill as “a purported revenue-enhancing measure.”

The long and the short of it is that deaths cannot be reported on the publicly-accessable SSDI until 3 years after they have taken place. It doesn’t look like the currently acccessible SSDI info at FamilySearch, Ancestry, etc. will be taken from us (although I see no reason why the government couldn’t force closure until data from the last 3 years is removed, the Feds having pretty-well proven that they are a law-unto-themselves the last year). However, do not expect another SSDI update for three years. Also, don’t expect to get SS-5s of anyone who died in the last three years.

This new law is most likely going to harm forensic genealogists who labor on military repatriations, heir locaters, and those helping coroner’s locate next-of-kin the most. Since most genealogists are working farther in the past, I don’t think it will have too much effect on us, although I could be wrong.

What the new law should do however, is put all genealogists on notice that we can no longer count on using the SSDI to keep track of not-so-close relatives’ deaths. We will need to stay in closer touch with all those cousins on the family tree. That includes the children of those who might be aging as well as those who might be about to kick the proverbial bucket. This is just one more reason for use to keep the lines of communication open, through traditional methods as well as social media.

Check out Judy Russell’s The Legal Genealogist blog on the closure for more details. Be sure and read the comments.

FamilySearch Adds Over 352,000 Indexed Records & Images to Collections from Guatemala, Italy, New Zealand & the USA

The following is from FamilySearch Sept 11, 2013:
FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch has recently added more than 352,000 indexed records and images from Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 206,787 indexed records from the United States Social Security Death Index, the 64,716 images from the Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921, collection, and the 51,149 indexed records from the Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895–1980, collection . See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843-1921 – 0 – 64,716 – Added images to an existing collection.

Hungary, Civil Registration, 1895-1980 – 51,149 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

Poland, Lublin Roman Catholic Church Books, 1784-1964 – 21,691 – 2,544 – Added indexed records and images to an existing collection.

Poland, Radom Roman Catholic Church Books, 1587-1966 – 21,691 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

United States Social Security Death Index – 206,787 – 0 – Added indexed records to an existing collection.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 4.4 Million Index Records & Images from Brazil, Czech Republic & the USA

The following was received from FamilySearch:
FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch has recently added more than 4.4 million index records and images from Brazil, Czech Republic, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 3,651,739 images from the new Brazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804–2013, collection, the 408,573 images from the new Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980, collection, and the 205,349 index records from the new United States Social Security Death Index collection . See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Brazil, Pernambuco, Civil Registration, 1804–2013 – 0 – 3,651,739 – New browsable image collection.

Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980 – 0 – 408,573 – New browsable image collection.

Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843–1921 – 0 – 204,401 – Added images to an existing collection.

United States Social Security Death Index – 205,349 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

Comparing Genealogy Software & Databases


Comparing genealogy software packages can be interesting and useful, especially if you’re just getting into genealogy. I’d like to have a dollar for every time someone has asked me which genealogy software program is the best. I now answer by telling folks that it’s the one you’re used to. I don’t know of any major genealogy program that I would say was bad. The bad ones tend to drop by the wayside and we hear no more of them. This also happens to softwares that might have great potential, but are underfunded and have have no chance in a highly-competitive field.

I got a note a few days ago from Conrad Yu, who works for FindThe Best.com. The company compares all kinds of things, everything from cars, to software, to education. They have sites that compare genealogy software, and even genealogy databases. Besides comparisons, FindTheBest also has sites that contain listings of gravesites and death records. I played around in all their various sites, and found them interesting and useful. The sites are free, and although I don’t necessarily agree with all the conclussions, I asked Conrad to tell my readers a bit more about what their company has available for genealogists.

I find genealogy software comparisons to be very subjective, no matter who is doing them. So I always read them, but have my own opinions. I also noted that the death-record site seems to be principally drawn from the Social Security Death Index, My mother is listed as having died in Sequim, Washington. This is where my sister lived at the time, and she took care of my mother’s affairs. My mother actually died in Puyallup, Washington. The Social Security Death Index is the only place we see the Sequim zipcode show up.

The following guest post was written by Conrad Yu, and is quite informative:

Besides discovering one’s roots and ancestry, the practice of genealogy also involves creating a family lore to document ongoing and future people, places, and events. If your family is fortunate enough to already have some sort of family book, kept preciously intact over the years, then half the battle for creating a family tree is already over – you have the information and knowledge, but now you need the medium. As sacred as your family book may be, it is a safer and more convenient choice to move (or start) your genealogy on a software platform.

But the choices are as many as there are different kinds of fruit. Comparing genealogy software is imperative, because finding the right one means finding the best one. It often comes down to a few simple questions when determining which model fits just right:

  • What are some of the general features that you deem important? If your family is multi-national, with different branches of the family speaking a multitude of languages, a Multi-Lingual Interface may prove worthwhile. Other general features to keep an eye out for are chronology view, data exchange with other programs, import and export GEDCOM capabilities, relation degrees, and member statistics.
  • Which genealogy database do you use? The majority of family tree programs do not have this feature, but the newest and most highly rated do: different models will be optimized to work with databases like Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org, so make sure to look for a program that works well with whichever one you use.
  • How do you want your lineage to look when showing it off? Most of the programs out there offer aesthetic effects like the capability to view your family in the setting of a 3D tree. And even if you’d prefer a more traditional display, there are still many features to choose from such as chronology view, family view, ancestor view, and individual view.

If you’re in the midst of discovering more about your family or ancestry, you can also try some more unconventional resources like LocateGrave, which allows you to search for the gravesite locations of family members or ancestors that have passed. Death-Record allows you to search for the information on the deceased by location, name, and social security number.

The online tools for genealogy and heritage out on the web seem endless, but finding the right ones may boil it down to just one or two – knowing what features are important is key to finding the best.

FamilySearch Adds Collection Updates to Australia, BillionGraves, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain, & the U.S.A.

The following News Release is from FamilySearch.org dated January 15, 2013:

FamilySearch added an additional 7 million new, free indexed records and images this week to its collection. Notable additions include the 1,747,863 indexed records and images in the Slovakia Church and Synagogue Books collection from 1592-1910, the 1,308,956 indexed records from the United States General Index to Pension Files collection from 1861-1934, the 1,115,732 images for the Luxembourg Census Records collection from 1843-1900, and the 1,023,459 added to the United States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, from 1820-1874. New searchable records were also added this week for Colombia and six states in the US collections. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

Australia, Queensland Cemetery Records, 1802-1990 – 62,786 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
BillionGraves Index – 103,261 – 103,261 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
Canada, Merchant Marine Agreements and Accounts of Crews, 1890-1920 – 0 – 23,381 – Added images to an existing collection.
Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600-2010 – 0 – 111,662 – New browsable image collection.
Dominican Republic, Civil Registration, 1801-2010 – 0 – 91,250 – Added images to an existing collection.
Family Group Records Collection, Archives Section, 1942-1969 – 0 – 2,093 – Added images to an existing collection.
Luxembourg, Census Records, 1843-1900 – 0 – 1,115,732 – Added images to an existing collection.
Slovakia, Church and Synagogue Books, 1592-1910 – 1,729,549 – 18,314 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
Spain, Diocese of Avila, Catholic Church Records, 1502-1975 – 17,593 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
U.S., Colorado, Statewide Divorce Index, 1900-1939 – 0 – 82,674 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Hawaii, Honolulu Index to Passengers, Not Including Filipinos, 1900-1952 – 255,042 – 452 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959 – 48,867 – 0 – New indexed record collection.
U.S., Maryland, Register of Wills Books, 1629-1983 – 0 – 6,360 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994 – 289,532 – 0 – New indexed record collection.
U.S., Washington, County Naturalization Records, 1850-1982 – 0 – 458 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Washington, Seattle, Passenger Lists, 1890-1957 – 363,235 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
United States, Civil War Widows and other Dependents Pension Files – 39,323 – 39,323 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
United States, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 – 1,308,956 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
United States, Index to Indian Wars Pension Files, 1892-1926 – 51,709 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
United States, Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874 – 1,023,459 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
United States Social Security Death Index – 114,391 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

FamilySearch Adds New Collections from Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, & the United States


FamilySearch added an additional 6.4 million new, free indexed records and images this week to its collection. Notable additions include the 1,034,803 records for the Netherlands, Zeeland Province, Church Records from 1527-1907, the 1,436,121 added from Italy Civil Registrations from 1824-1941, and the 1,069,308 added to the new Saskatchewan, Canada, collections from 1846-1957. Other new searchable collections online were added this week for Canada, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, and the United States. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the world’s historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources for free at FamilySearch.org or through more than 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Collection – Indexed Records – Digital Images – Comments

BillionGraves Index – 189,206 – 189,206 – Added index records and images to an existing collection.
Brazil, Civil Registration, 1870-2012 – 0 – 6,272 – Added images to an existing collection.
Brazil, Mato Grosso, Civil Registration, 1890-2012 – 0 – 2,218 – Added images to an existing collection.
Canada, Manitoba, Church Records, 1800-1959 – 0 – 6,567 – New browsable image collection.
Canada, Prince Edward Island, Church Records, 1777-1985 – 0 – 22,448 – Added images to an existing collection.
Canada, Saskatchewan, Catholic Church Records, 1846-1957 – 0- 286,132- New browsable image collection.
Canada, Saskatchewan, Judicial District Court Records, 1891-1954 – 0 – 783,176 – Added images to an existing collection.
Chile, Santiago, Cementerio General, 1821-2011 – 0 – 222,010 – Added images to an existing collection.
China, Collection of Genealogies, 1500-2010 – 0 – 23,375 – Added images to an existing collection.
Colombia, Catholic Church Records, 1600-2010 – 0 – 116,239 – Added images to an existing collection.
Czech Republic, Censuses, 1843-1921 – 0 – 82,847 – Added images to an existing collection.
Czech Republic, Land Records, 1450-1889 – 0 – 144,111 – Added images to an existing collection.
England, Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000 – 31,521 – 0 – Added index records to and existing collection.
England, Northumberland, Miscellaneous Records, 1570-2005 – 0 – 525 – Added images to an existing collection.
Estonia, Population Registers, 1918-1944 – 0 – 142,722 – Added images to an existing collection.
Germany, Hesse, Civil Registration, 1874-1927– 0 – 75,875 – New browsable image collection.
Germany, Prussia, Pomerania Church Records, 1544-1945 – 0 – 457,603 – Added images to an existing collection.
Italy, Bologna, Bologna, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1941 – 0 – 292,511 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, L’Aquila, L’Aquila, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1824-1910 – 0 – 483,804 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, Matera, Matera, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1866-1929 – 0 – 237,814 – New browsable image collection.
Italy, Pescara, Pescara, Civil Registration (Tribunale), 1865-1910 – 0 – 421,992 – New browsable image collection.
Netherlands, Zeeland Province, Church Records, 1527-1907 – 0 – 1,034,803 – Added images to an existing collection.
New Zealand, Probate Records, 1860-1961 – 0 – 13,622 – New browsable image collection.
Peru, Huánuco, Civil Registration, 1889-1997 – 0 – 110,620 – Added images to an existing collection.
Peru, La Libertad, Civil Registration, 1903-1998 – 0 – 230,734 – New browsable image collection.
South Africa, Cape Province, Western Cape Archives Records 1796-1992 – 0 – 99,777 – Added images to an existing collection.
South Africa, Eastern Cape, Estate Files, 1962-2000 – 0 – 10,749 – Added images to an existing collection.
Spain, Province of Lérida, Municipal Records, 1319-1940 – 0 – 40,869 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Idaho, Lemhi County Records, 1868-1964 – 0 – 14,934 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Idaho, Minidoka County Records, 1913-1961 – 0 – 1,283 – New browsable image collection.
U.S., Illinois, Northern District (Eastern Division), Naturalization Index, 1926-1979 – 0 – 223,919 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959 – 32,901 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.
U.S., Iowa, Fayette County Probate Records, 1851-1928 – 0 – 144,006 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., New Jersey, Calvary United Methodist Church Records, 1821-2003 – 0 – 2,631 – New browsable image collection.
U.S., New York, Buffalo, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Records, 1812-1970 – 0 – 3,240 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Ohio, Jefferson County Court Records, 1797-1940 – 0 – 20,040 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Vermont, Franklin County Probate Records, 1796-1921 – 0 – 15,731 – Added images to an existing collection.
U.S., Washington, County Records, 1856-2009 – 0 – 21,799 – Added images to an existing collection.
United States, Mexican War Pension Index, 1887-1926 – 51,991 – 0 – New indexed record collection.
United States, New England, Petitions for Naturalization, 1787-1906 – 0 – 51,124 – Added images to an existing collection.
United States Social Security Death Index – 113,216 – 0 – Added index records to an existing collection.

From FamilySearch.org – December 14, 2012.

New & Updated USA & Canada Vital Records Databases at FamilySearch.org

The following U.S.A. and Canada vital-records oriented databases have been recently added or updated at FamilySearch.org.

We’ve also updated all of the GenealogyBlog Online Database Links Files.
See:

THE FOLLOWING DATABASES WERE POSTED OR UPDATED AT FAMILYSEARCH.ORG SINCE 24 JUNE 2012:

NEW DatabaseAlabama, County Probate Records, 1830-1976Imaged Records – Collection of probate records, including case files and other documents created by the probate courts of various Alabama counties. Probates were generally recorded in the county of residence. This collection covers probate records created 1800-1930, but the content and time period of the records will vary by county. Files from Madison and Talladega counties have not been indexed, but are arranged in alphabetical order by the deceased’s name. Additional records may be added to this collection – 25,297 Records – 1,950,136 images as of 26 June 2012.

NEW DatabaseMichigan, Probate Records, 1797-1973Imaged Records – Probate records from county courthouses in Michigan. Most of the collection contains estate files. The content and time period varies by county. Some of the records date before 1837 when Michigan became a state – 1,261,323 images as of 28 June 2012.

Updated BrowseTexas Death, 1890-1976 (New Images)Imaged Records – Images of Texas statewide death certificates, including delayed certificates and probate obituaries, from the Texas Department of State Health Services in Austin – Digital images of originals housed at the State Registrar Office in Austin, Texas – 4,476,649 images as of 28 June 2012. This database includes an updated browse that makes it much easier to find records – which are broken down by Record Type (Death Certificates, Foreign Deaths, and Probate obitiuaries) year range, then certificate by month and county.

NEW DatabasePennsylvania, Probate Records 1683-1994 Imaged Records – This collection includes probate records created in Pennsylvania counties. The records include wills, estate records and indexes -The records are broken down by county, and then by record type. Although not indexed by record, the collection includes the images of many indexes. 3,197,552 images as of 27 June 2012.

Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915Browsable Imaged Records & Searchable Records – This collection has several types of records: 1) Death certificate 2) Death register 3) Return of Death with a hospital certificate, physician’s certificate, and an undertaker’s certificate, and 4) Transit Permit with the permit to move a body and an undertaker’s certificate concerning the move. The records give the name of the deceased plus the date and place of death and/or burial. The records may also give the date and place of birth, names of parents and spouse, cause of death, and other information. – 2,442,468 records and 3,370,070 images as of 28 June 2012 – up 1,510,210 images since 22 March 2012.

United States Social Security Death Index – Name index to deaths recorded by the Social Security Administration beginning in 1962. Current as of May 31, 2012 – 91,621,466 records as of 2 July 2012.

New DATABASENova Scotia Vital Records 1763-1957 – Index created by the Nova Scotia Archives. Contains registered births 1864-1877 with some birth entries as early as 1810, delayed births 1836-1907, marriages 1763-1932, and deaths 1864-1877, 1908-1957 – 805,577 Records as of July 3, 2012.

Research Perseverance Leads to WWII Hero Getting a Proper Military Memorial Service

In 2008, WWII highly decorated First Lt. George Balthazor died alone, an “unclaimed indigent” in San Diego, CA. Through the research efforts of a nephew and records found on the Social Security Death Index, Balthazor’s story is told and a military memorial service is held in his honor. See the full details in this story at FDLReporter.com.

FdL World War II hero will get military memorial service

Air Force First Lt. George Balthazor made quite the dashing figure in his World War II bomber jacket, his hair swept back to one side.

Surviving 32 missions while piloting a B-17 named “Flutterby” over enemy territory earned him membership in the elite “Lucky Bastard Club” of the 487th Bombardment Group, the group nicknamed “The Gentlemen from Hell.”

His medals and awards, among them the “Distinguished Flying Cross,” were numerous.

Some 64 years later, George died alone in San Diego, Calif., an “unclaimed indigent.” His ashes were scattered at sea without a military funeral.

The memory of George’s meritorious service to his country may have also remained lost had it not been for two nephews who never gave up looking for their “nomadic” uncle, last seen by his Fond du
Lac family sometime in the mid 1970s.

“As a child I recall him staying at my grandmother’s house after the war, and he taught me how to tell time. I would hear him in the middle of the night screaming from night terrors,” said George’s nephew, Frank Balthazor of Madison.

On and off through the years Frank and another nephew, Steve Balthazor of West Bend, tried searching for George, pouring over names, places and military records found on the Internet.

Then one day in August 2010 Steve came across his uncle’s name listed in the Social Security death index. He discovered George had died in July 2008, at the age of 86.

Click here to read the full story.

The Future of the Social Security Death Index?

Here is an important article about the future of the Social Security Death Index, and a petition genealogists can sign to show their concern over privacy laws while balancing access to critical research tools. The following article comes from Tampa Bay Online:

Genealogists want to keep access to Death Index

By SHARON TATE MOODY | Special correspondent

Published: February 26, 2012

The call is out for genealogists to unite in a fight to stop identification theft.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), is in reaction to hearings before a congressional Ways and Means subcommittee that could lead to closing public access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

The Subcommittee on Social Security recently listed the death index as a possible source for identity thieves to acquire a deceased person’s Social Security number. The index is on several websites (including Ancestry.com and Genealogy Bank) and is widely used by individuals researching their family roots.

RPAC has called the Subcommittee on Social Security’s proposal to completely shut down use of the SSDI as a short-sighted attempt that runs counter to the original purpose of the index, which it says is “to actually combat fraud.”

RPAC has placed a petition on the We the People website and is urging genealogists and other interested individuals to sign it.

The website was created by the current administration to identify issues of interest to a significant number of Americans. The administration has pledged that issues getting substantial numbers of signatures will be sent to “decision-makers who can best implement solutions and improvements.”

Readers can access the Stop Identity Theft NOW! petition at http://wh.gov/khe. RPAC’s goal is to obtain 25,000 signatures by March 8.

Click here to read the full article.

Genealogists’ Public Enemy #1

The following teaser is from “The Legal Genealogist” website. This is best article I’ve seen written about the very real possibility that genealogists will lose access to the Social Security Death Index. PLEASE let the teaser lead you to the full article, It’s important…


The man pictured to the left is Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security. And he’s out to get us.

More specifically, he’s out to get our access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and to the social security records that underlie the index, such as all those wonderful SS-5 forms (applications for a Social Security number) that we use all the time as evidence in place of the birth records that — for most of two or three generations — just don’t exist and the death records we’re not allowed to see.

If you don’t believe me that he’s out to get us, take a gander at the video clip Michael John Neill has posted on his website RootDig.com. Astrue isn’t bothered one bit about closing off records for 10 years… or 75 years. After all, he says, genealogists can get the information they need from other sources. We’re just overreacting.

Read the full article.

Thanks to Julie Durand for alerting me to this article.

RPAC Announces STOP ID THEFT NOW! Campaign With White House Petition

The following news release was received from Thomas MacEntee:

Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security Death Index and Other Records

February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societies representing millions of genealogists and family historians – announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at WhiteHouse.gov.

Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job
Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.

The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against the Master Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing.

Tax Fraud and Identity Theft: Genealogists Are Not To Blame
The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its information. Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.

Loss of Access to SSDI Affects More Than Genealogists
The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs.

All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.

RPAC Petitions Obama Administration
The We the People petition, now posted at http://wh.gov/khE and accepting signatures, has a simple yet effective mission:

Take immediate steps that would curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults.

No need for lengthy hearings in front of a Congressional committee. No need for filing statements for or against any House action. No need to waste time and effort which could be directed to more pressing national issues. In fact, the National Taxpayer Advocate in 2011 issued suggestions which do not require additional legislation but can be implemented collaboratively between the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) almost immediately in time to impact the current tax filing season.

About Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)
The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) was formed to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affect legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.

The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), which today includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and Ancestry.com serve as participating members.

To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org/rpac/.

Access to Information Found on Social Security Applications (the SS-5) is Limited

The following is old news to genealogists who follow the news. However, when all this was taking place, I was busy with other things and didn’t get the opportunity to blog about it. Naturally, I disagree with the ruling. It just makes it more difficult for genealogists. The following excerpt was written from a Canadian’s point of view, but I’m guessing that many of us in the USA have the some opinion. (written by Dian Lynn Tibert for timestranscript.canadaeast.com).

Genealogists searching for ancestors or extended family in the United States have access to Social Security Death Index (SSDI). It is one of the largest databases containing genealogical information in that country, and it used to be easy to obtain full records. However, full access to this databank and Social Security Number records has changed.

Limits were first placed on the information a few years ago. At that time, requests for persons born after 1940 had the names of their parents blocked. This was done to protect the parents in case they were still alive. Still, if death of the parents could be proven, then their names were released.

Recently, this limitation was extended for individuals who were born up to one hundred years ago. The same policy for proving the parents’ are deceased applies.

Obviously, there are flaws in this new ruling. Who would expect the parents of someone born 99 years ago to be alive? Still, death must be proven to access the full record.

The only reason many researchers request a copy of the original SSN card is to learn the name of an individual’s parents. This new rule makes accessing these records essentially useless. As one comment on a website noted, where is a person to find an official death record for parents killed during the holocaust? For that matter, how can one request death records from another country if that country is unknown?

Read the full article.

Petition Making the Rounds to Remove Social Security Numbers of Deceased Folks From Genealogy Websites

And now we have another assault on the limited access genealogists have to anything Social Security… Thus far, not exactly a bi-partisan effort, but just wait…

Where do these senators think those records with dead folk’s social security numbers in them came from? Hmmm… It seems the Federal government sold them to those websites, and have been for how many years? In my personal opinion, this is nothing but throwing the baby out with the bath water… But, as I said, that’s just my opinion.

The following is from the November 29, 2011 edition of nbc4i.com:

Columbus Ohio: An effort to stop web sites from giving out Social Security numbers of those who have died made progress this week.

NBC4 first reported on the Thomas family in May 2011. Samantha Thomas was an infant when she died from sudden infant death syndrome in 2010. While her parents were still mourning her death, they found out that someone had used her SSN on their taxes.

NBC4 stepped in, confirming that a branch of popular web site Ancestry.com was listing the full Social Security numbers of those who have passed on. It’s a way for criminals to get information fast.

Sen. Sherrod Brown [D] started a congressional investigation into genealogy web sites after the story was aired.

Brown started a petition to have the web sites remove the sensitive information and NBC4 has learned that Sen. Dick Durbin [D], Sen. Bill Nelson [D], and Sen. Richard Blumenthal [D] have signed on in support of the petition.

Read the full article and the news that led up to this move.