Social Security Death Index SmackDown  

The SSDI (Social Security Death Index) is a record collection of deceased individuals with social security numbers whose deaths were reported to the SSA (Social Security Administration). The SSDI currently (November 2017) includes records for 94 million individuals. There is a three year reporting gap due to federal regulations, so 2014 is the last year currently covered by the publicly available version of the SSDI.

The SSDI is available to SLPL cardholders via three of our reference databases: Ancestry, HeritageQuest Online, and Fold3 (search results are identical in Ancestry and HeritageQuest Online). FamilySearch, a free online database, also offers access to SSDI.

The question you should be asking, of course, is which reference database should I use to access the SSDI?

1. If you have a valid Library card, Fold3 and HeritageQuest Online can be accessed from home--Family Search can be accessed from home without a Library card.

2. A second consideration is the Search function of each reference database. I like Ancestry's Advanced Search, but you may prefer something else.

3. Are the SSDI search results offered by these reference databases identical? No, in fact there are differences in each. Here’s a screenshot of the results of a search in each for Dwight David Eisenhower (our 34th President):

Listing of an SSDI search result in Ancestry.com
Ancestry.com version
Listing of an SSDI search result in FamilySearch.org
FamilySearch version
Listing of an SSDI search result in Fold3.com
Fold3.com version

So which reference database should you use to access the SSDI? I generally use Ancestry.com, but you may find you prefer something else.

A list of reference databases we subscribe to is available here.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of St. Louis Public Library