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 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.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (, writes daily at, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

4 thoughts on “Genealogists’ Public Enemy #1”

  1. I not only use the SSDI for genealogy and verifying death dates, I use it to track down missing members from our high school class of 1957 for our class reunions. We have a 55 year reunion coming up in August this year, the SSDI is the quickest way to find out whether a member is still alive and continue searching, or document the name, date and place to get an obituary for the memory board.

    There may be some instances where the SSDI was used for illegal reasons, but there are many quicker and easier ways for crooks to get the info they need for their theft. Michael Astrue will always have access for his family research, why should he care about what other people think?

  2. I am furious at this Mr. Astrue wanting to take away the Social Security Death Index from us. I use it all the time. How arrogant of him to think he can speak for others.
    I surly hope us and get enough votes for this. It seems the big shots win all the time.
    I hope he doesn’t get away with this. It’s no wonder the common man goes postal.

    Barbara McBane

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