The Social Security Death Index is available on so many genealogy sites—are they all alike?
You might think so—but on looking closer, they aren’t all the same. In fact, there are many differences in the Social Security information they provide, as this article will show.
Here’s an important question to ask when comparing various genealogy websites: how many Social Security Death Index (SSDI) records are on each site?
GenealogyBank and Ancestry update their SSDI records every week and have 91.4 million records.
In contrast, FamilySearch.org has 90.7 million SSDI records and Mocavo has only 88 million SSDI records.
So—just in numbers of Social Security records available—you can miss millions of records depending on which genealogy website you visit.
Let’s look deeper and see what information is in the SSDI record on each site.
For this Social Security record comparison we’ll use Tracy Kemp as our target person, who died in 2010.
GenealogyBank.com (Free SSDI)
GenealogyBank gives his name and tells us that the Social Security card was issued in New Jersey. Importantly, the record also gives complete dates of birth and death, adding the day of the week. The Social Security record also gives a complete and accurate age at death, giving the age in years, months and days.
GenealogyBank also includes the extra information that the Social Security Administration has validated this information, giving it the “Proven” designation—telling genealogists that it is accurate information.
Ancestry.com (Pay site, no free SSDI)
Ancestry gives the basic facts in the Social Security record: first name, last name; birth date; death date; noting that the Social Security card was issued in New Jersey in 1979.
Archives.com (Pay site, no free SSDI)
Archives.com gives his name, birth and death dates, and notes that the Social Security card was issued in New Jersey in the online SS record.
The Social Security death record also adds that he was age 39 when he died.
FamilySearch (Free SSDI)
The FamilySearch website repeats this same basic information in the SS record: his name, dates of birth/death, and place of issue of the Social Security card are all the same.
FamilySearch incorrectly gives his “estimated” age at death as 40.
Mocavo.com (Free SSDI)
Mocavo gives the core facts in the SS record: name, dates of birth/death, and gives the age at death as 39 years old. This site gives the Social Security number. The other sites have all removed the SSN for security concerns.
Mocavo has no SSDI records for 2011 or 2012.
AmericanAncestors.org (Free SSDI)
AmericanAncestors.org gives the first name, last name; birth date; death date and Social Security number. It has records from 1937 to 2011.
It is quickly apparent that all SSDI sites do not contain the same number of records or display the same amount of information. Clearly GenealogyBank.com has the edge, offering the most complete and accurate SSDI information available online.