Discover some great facts about an ancestor. Once you’ve located a family member who is deceased, or one that is in the Social Security Death Index (generally those who died after 1960-although not complete), you may request a copy of that persons original application for Social Security. It is an excellent source of genealogical information and can provide many facts otherwise not known to descendants. The SS-5, or Application for Social Security Number  provides many great resources for learning more about someone who died after 1960, and generally includes the following pieces of information:

  • Full name at birth, including maiden name
  • Present mailing address
  • Age at last birthday
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (City, State)
  • Father’s full name
  • Mother’s full name, including maiden name
  • Gender of applicant
  • Race as indicated by the applicant
  • Current employer’s name and address
  • Date signed
  • Applicant’s signature


As long as a person is deceased, the Social Security Administration will provide a copy of the original application filed in their office, to anyone who makes a request under the Freedom of Information Act.  In the case of my great- grandfather Jacob F. Strauss (Born 1880), I didn’t have an original Social Security Number for him, and he died in 1957 before the index really could have helped.  I did however, have a copy of his Death Certificate that listed his number and requested this from their office.

Following the link below researchers can request the documents themselves;

Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record SS-5

For a fee of $27.00-if the persons SSN is known and $29.00-for someone who number is unknown, the Administration will conduct a search for the requester.  The time varies by individual.  Although, it typically can run anywhere between 4-8 weeks for delivery.  If the record is located and sent to you, it is well worth your efforts as the information provided will be helpful to future generations.
Requesting your Ancestor’s SS-5 Social Security Application

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