Social Security Death Index Tips

Find your ancestors in the Social Security Death Index

If the individual you seek meets the criteria for inclusion in the SSDI but does not appear in the index, here are some things you might try:

  • Try searching by possible alternate name spellings or Soundex searching.
  • Change dates around (e.g. instead of searching for 5 Oct 1954 [10/5/54], search for 10 May 1954 [5/10/54])
  • Change years around (e.g. 1984 becomes 1948)
  • Use all other possible spellings of the name (and perhaps some that aren't so likely). When searching for a name like O'Hare, or other names with punctuation in them, enter the name without the punctuation (e.g. OHare). If you are looking for someone using a first name but don't find what you're looking for, try searching with just an initial. There are also rare instances of what appear to be middle initials included in the last name field, so you may want to try this in that field as well.
  • Switch last name and first name around
  • Try searching for a middle name as a first name
  • Even if you know a piece of information, try omitting it (e.g. if you know first and last name and death date, try leaving off the first name).

If none of these yield fruit, it is possible that the SSDI has erroneously omitted your ancestor. If this is the case, see the FAQ section about correcting errors in the SSDI