Social Security Death Index Search Hints

Obviously, Social Security Death Index won't provide you with a family tree. It can, however, get you started if you do not know the names of the parents for a grandparent or great-grandparent.

Using the Social Security Death Index, you can find a death date and the state where your ancestor died. Once you have that, you can obtain a death certificate that might show the names of the parents. You might then be able to find family trees containing those parents. Click here for more information on obtaining death certificates from VitalChek.. Also see the definition of terms for more information on this index.

How to Search the Social Security Death Index

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  • Best Way to Search: Go to Active Searches for easier searching. At the Active Searches page, you need only to enter your ancestor data once to search all the websites. Active Searches is a free service that creates the optimal searches for your ancestor data.
  • Manually search the Social Security Death Index yourself at This will open a new window so you can refer back to the search hints above.

Social Security Death Index Website Capabilities

See the definition of terms for any questions on the meaning of the entries.

x free searches
  free viewing of pedigrees
x paid viewing
  free downloads of pedigrees
  paid downloads
  contact information for submitter
  ability to see all the names submitted by a particular researcher
  ability to restrict searches to updates since a specific time
  searches with spouse's name
  searches with parent's names
  searches by place of birth
  searches by place of marriage
x searches by place of death
x searches by country
x searches by state, province, or political subdivision
x searches by date
  ability to specify date ranges for searching
x searches by exact spelling of name
  searches by metaphone
x searches by soundex
  ability to automatically find possible matches in your ancestry