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Q: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI? ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: henry041696-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 02 Apr 2003 16:33 PST
Expires: 02 May 2003 17:33 PDT
Question ID: 185143
For genealogical research purposes, how can one obtain the SSN of a
deceased person who was not reported as deceased to the Social
Security Administration (thus, the person's name and SSN are not
listed in the Social Security Death Index)? Is there a way to find
this information online?

Some states list state death records/indices that contain SSN's for
people who are not always found in the SSDI, especially children
(apparently, there is no reason to report their deaths to the SSA
since no one receives SSI death benefits from them).  CA and WA do
list SSN's -- do you know which other states might list records that
include SSN's and where these records/indices can be found
(preferably, online)?

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 02 Apr 2003 18:16 PST
What time frame are we talking about here? What state? Are you
interested in divulging the person's name?


Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 02 Apr 2003 18:17 PST
Also, do you know the person's date of birth and date of death?


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Apr 2003 19:02 PST
Hello Henry,

I am not aware of any compilation of  online sites for death record
information that makes it clear, up front, whether the records include
SSNs or not.

They only way to know for sure is to visit each site, but this is a
tall order.  Many sites are for individual counties or cities, rather
than states, so there are hundreds of possibilities overall.

If you could narrow down your question to a particular geographic area
-- a handful of specific states, for example, I think it might be more
approachable.  As it is now, I think it unlikely you'll get an answer.

Clarification of Question by henry041696-ga on 02 Apr 2003 20:43 PST
This question pertains to research being done by a client of mine. She
said that the timeframe she is currently looking at is deaths
occurring from about 1960 to 1995 (it's hard to find SSN's listed
earlier than that, apparently). Because SSN's can provide a means to
obtaining additional information, she is trying to find sites listing
death records that incude SSN's.  Knowing the first three digits of
the SSN can tell you something about where that number was issued,
providing a clue regarding that person's whereabouts in the past.

She does this research for various people and on a continual basis, so
is trying to get further info on any sites that might provide SSN's. 
It may not be possible to answer this question exhaustively, but the
only sites she knows of right now that provide SSN's are CA and WA
state sites.  Any further information would be helpful.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Apr 2003 07:11 PST
Hello Henry,

I've found only one additional source, and it's a bit convoluted.  I
will post it here, and you can consider whether it has value to you
and your client, while I search for others.

At  [ ], you can search for death record
information on a person's name.

The first screen of results does not include SSN.  However, many of
the results have an option that says "view image".  If you click on
this, it pulls up an actual tiff file of the death certificate itself,
which includes the SSN.

You can see an example of this here:

As you can see, there is a great deal of additional information as
well, which would probably be of use to your client.

Let me know if this suits your needs.  Mean time, I'll continue my

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Apr 2003 07:38 PST
Forget to post this -- you need to go here:

to conduct an actual Name search.  Select "Death Certificate" from the
"Document Type" pull down menu.

Clarification of Question by henry041696-ga on 03 Apr 2003 10:30 PST

The information you provided is an example of precisely what she is
looking for. If you're able to find other such sites, that would be
great.  It's not necessary for the entire death record to be
displayed, but that is certainly ideal.  Thank you.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Apr 2003 11:21 PST
Hello again, Henry.

I've done a pretty thorough search at this point and, sorry, but there
don't seem to be other sources with SSN info besides those already
identified in California, Washington and, now, Florida.

4keith-ga's comment, below, is correct:  there are many sources on the
internet that promise more detailed information -- some of them have
worked out arrangements with states and localities to download death
certificate databases that are not, otherwise, available over the web.
 And some of these do seem to include SSN data.

I'll be glad to identify some of these key sources for you as an
answer to your question, if you think that would be of help.  If so,
you may want to consider re-pricing your question if you feel you
haven't quite gotten the full $75 worth of info.  Up to you.  Just let
me know how you would like to proceed.


Clarification of Question by henry041696-ga on 03 Apr 2003 12:39 PST
Hi Again,

A private investigator would be prohibitively expensive for general
genealogical research. The $2-$10 per name situation would be OK if
the person's basic info had already been established (e.g., DOB,
death) because it would probably be needed to locate an SSN listing
like that (my assumption).

The purposes of finding an associated SSN are many. One would be to
confirm you have the correct person if you already have an SSN but no
vitals and no listing in the SSDI. Another would be to use the SSN via
the SSA to obtain a copy of the application, which would provide
details about the person's whereabouts when it was applied for along
with other info that might not be readily available elsewhere. Another
is that the numbers in the SSN will indicate something about where it
was issued; the state at least, which can point the researcher in the
right direction when trying to obtain vital records from appropriate
cities or counties.  The SSN application would also verify beyond a
doubt that the correct person is being followed since it would list
parents' names, typically, which could be cross-checked with birth
certificates or death records to verify a correct identity, and so on.
 This becomes more important with more common names, of course.

I am aware of and RootsWeb databases; they are apparently
very helpful, but limited. If you know of further resources that could
work with a name and perhaps timeframe, when exact date of birth or
death are unknown, for conducting searches, that would be helpful. So,
pertaining to this:

<< 4keith-ga's comment, below, is correct:  there are many sources on
internet that promise more detailed information -- some of them have
worked out arrangements with states and localities to download death
certificate databases that are not, otherwise, available over the web.
 And some of these do seem to include SSN data.>>
If you could provide as many of these as possible, preferably the ones
that *would* provide SSN's when available, then I would leave the
price as it stands. My hope is that this access would not be
prohibitively expensive to the researcher (i.e., $29 or $39 vs. over
$100 each). Maybe that is information you could provide with your
answer, if feasible.

Thank you,
Subject: Re: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 03 Apr 2003 19:53 PST
Hello Henry,

Thanks for your clarification comment.  Here's what I've found, in
addition to the information I've already provided:


I'm listing first the Locate4me service site, since they explicitly
say that they provide SSN information with their response:

Reports: The death record search results will provide: 

Full name
Birth date
Death date
Death location - City, State
Social security number (SSN)

Please allow up to one business day for your results

Their service is also generally less expensive than the ones listed
below.  That may seem a good thing, but in truth, I'm not sure. 
Locate4me doesn't specify the sources of their search information.  It
could be that they only make use of the SSDI, which would be of
limited use to your client.

I wanted to pass along their information, as well as my concerns -- it
would be worth checking with them directly to verify their information


The services below, while somewhat more expensive, are also very clear
on their sites that they access much more than just the SSDI
information, and that their services include searches of multiple
state and county databases.  However, it is not clear if the
certificates themselves would include the SSN -- only a direct query
to the state or county in question would answer that question.

These companies are:

"Death Records - Professional Results  -  We search for death records
anywhere in the USA. Most results include persons name, date, cause
and location of death. Prices start at only $39. Fast results.
Guaranteed 100% confidential."

"Certified Copies of Death Certificates  -  Certified death
certificates, order online. From $34.95. Direct from state and county
records, all States in the USA. Turnaround 3-12 business days.
Professional and confidential service."

"Order Death Records Online  -  Order death certificates and records
online, direct from the state public record data repositories. Get
copies of a death certificate for insurance or genealogy purposes.
From $24.95."

I like this site, as it includes descriptions and direct contact
information for each source (state or county) of death certificates. 
You can choose to order a certificate through Vitalchek, or you can
contact the appropriate agency directly.


A number of the sites point out the fact that there are restrictions
in some jurisdictions about accessing death certificates.  In some
cases, only a near relative of the deceased, or an officer of the
court, can access the record.  Your client will have to deal with
these hurdles on a case by case basis.


I hope this is the information you were looking for.  If anything
needs elaboration, please post a Request for Clarification, and I'm
happy to provide additional information.

search strategy:  Google search and Google Directory search on "death

Request for Answer Clarification by henry041696-ga on 05 Apr 2003 13:35 PST

What you have provided is essentially a listing of places that will
provide death certificates. It is necessary to have enough info to get
a death certificate. I was asking about places that provide databases
to conduct searches when you don't have enough info for a death
certificate.  Originally, I wanted databases that could be searched by
a genealogical researcher. However, since you had trouble with that, I
considered going with places you said could provide this access or
conduct that service (database searching). One of the companies will
do minimal searching, but one must know a fair amount of info about
the decedent for them to do it.  This doesn't help me in any way. So,
I am deciding how to respond, in terms of payment for this.

Perhaps you can consult with an online researcher and find out what
databases are available online for this type of research, or if there
are researchers who have already paid to have access to these
databases who might assist another researcher for a fee. There are
many genealogical researchers listed online. As mentioned in the
beginning, though, this person is looking for databases that will
provide SSN's when they have been issued to a decedent.  That was the
purpose of the original question, as explained above.

Let me know how you want to deal with this.

Thank you,
Henry, Esq.

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 05 Apr 2003 15:06 PST
Hello Henry,

I'm happy to do some additional work on this question, but I'd like to
get a bit more information from you, first, to help guide my efforts.

The services I listed ask for as much information as you have
available (in order to insure they're getting the right certificate)
but they don't necessarily *require* all that information (unless the
locality itself requires it).  It's often very easy to get death
certificate info with only a minimal amount of information to start

For instance, the link I gave you to the site in Florida is broadly
searchable with very little information needed -- in fact, I just
entered a common last name in order to get an extensive list of
available death certificates in the database.  Many of the systems out
there are no more demanding than that.

Commercial servides make use of these same data bases.  In other
words, the services I listed can -- in some, but not all cases --
return death certificates (some which contain SSNs), with only a bit
of up-front information.

So...I'm not 100% clear what additional services/information you're
after at this point.  If you could give me one or two hypothetical
situations:  what information you have to start with, and what info
you want to end up with, I can do a more in depth search of what sort
of services are available to you.

As soon as you can post a follow-up clarification, I'll get right on


Request for Answer Clarification by henry041696-ga on 05 Apr 2003 17:38 PST

Thanks for being willing to work on this further. I contacted the
sites that implied (or stated) that they do searches, by phone. They
both wanted specific info such as state of death, date of death/birth,
SSN, etc., in order to bother searching. Otherwise, you pay the online
fee and get no results. The reason this researcher is looking for
either assistance or databases she can visit herself is because she
does not have explicit info. She has general info.

For example, one of the decedents was born between 1957 and 1967, has
a known last name, but the first name is unknown. It was a female who
died between 1958 and 1989. She was born and died in the U.S.  This is
all the info she has. By getting an SSN with the results, she can
request the SS-5 application info and confirm the identity, in terms
of this being the correct person, since an SSN was issued but the
number is unknown and she is not listed with SSDI.

That is the type of search she is looking for.  In some cases, she
said she might be willing to pay ~$100 for someone who was certain of
finding the info. It does exist because there was a coroner's report
done on the person above (family hearsay but probably 99% accurate).
It's a matter of someone having access to the databases or someone
willing to do the search, or of supplying databases to this

I hope that helps to clarify things.  I look forward to hearing back
from you soon.


Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 06 Apr 2003 08:41 PDT
Hello Henry,

I wish there was a simple way for you, your client and I to have a
three way conversation in real time.  I suspect there are ways to get
at some useful information for your client, but frankly, it's hard to
tell without the particulars.

As I said earlier, there are many, many sources of information that
someone can turn to in order to research an individual, even with very
little starting information.  However, there has to be *enough*
information to be able to make some reasonable judgments.  In the
example you provided, I'm not sure you really do have enough
information to go by.

All you have, basically, is a woman's last name, and a ten year period
in which she might have been born, and a 31 year period in which she

This is an almost impossible situation.  Without some additional
detail -- a place, a first name, a more concrete date -- there isn't
much to go on.  The only hope one would really have is to use the few
national databases that exist, and hope that the surname is unusual
enough to produce only a few hits in the database.  But the national
databases that are available -- SSDI,, --
you are already aware of, and apparently were not fruitful.

Other data sources -- though easily accessible and very flexible --
are *geographically focused*.  They are specific to a particular state
or county, so that one needs a sense of where a person lived (or died)
in order to select an appropriate data source.  You mentioned a
coroner's report, for instance.  If you know where that report was
done (state or county), then there is the possibility of more in-depth

Let me give you an example.  The state of Kentucky has made available
its vital records at:

At this site *all you need is a last name* to conduct a comprehensive
search of death records, along with marriage and divorce records. 
From a simple starting search, you can then get a host of additional
information -- first name, place of residence, etc -- from which to
conduct additional searches.

There are other states (such as the Florida site I originally
mentioned), as well as local governments, that have similar sites. need to have some sense of a person's geographical history
in order to know which sites to make use of.

If you want to post additional details of the search you are
interested in (last name, and any other details you have...especially
geographical), I'm willing to do some additional searching to see if I
can help out.

I hope this clarification helps in understanding what can -- and can't
-- be accomplished with the available resources out there.  If you
have a follow up question or need for further clarification, by all
means, let me know.

Request for Answer Clarification by henry041696-ga on 06 Apr 2003 15:28 PDT

In my original question, I actually did mention that I was hoping to
find links to online databases for various states, preferably the
states (or counties) that listed SSN info, for reasons previously
stated.  This woman has been conducting genealogical research for
decades.  She is new to using the web for online searches but knows
there are sites, such as FL & KY, which you pointed out, that can be
accessed online.  The point was to obtain a listing of those sites for
her. It doesn't matter what states or counties they are -- the more
she has access to, the better. She does a lot of research for
different surnames and it is quite typical for there to be a "missing
link" in a family that needs to be tediously researched with vast
timeframes involved for births and deaths (esp. deaths).  I think you
can imagine for yourself why someone may become "lost" in terms of
family records, esp. in a family where someone did not want to speak
about a lost or runaway child who died. Also, this happens due to
illegitimate births and adoptions -- it can be next to impossible to
get the info from living family members; they simply don't know it. 
It's this researcher's job to try to locate these decedents that are a
part of the genealogy.

If you can obtain a listing of sites, just as you did with FL & KY,
trying to include as many as possible that list SSN's, then you would
be answering my original question.  This woman knows how to search a
database and will spend the time doing it; that's her job.  She was
hoping to get some help locating the databases.

Can you help with this?

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 06 Apr 2003 16:49 PDT

I'm giving you just a brief follow-up here, in order to make sure it
is what you need.  If it's on target...great.  If it's not what you're
after, just let me know, and we'll continue our dialogue until we get
it 100% right.

This link:

has a great list of online sites for public records.  There are
hundreds of links here, but if you do a Ctrl-F search on the page for
"death", you'll find 26 links to state or local sites that provide
death certificate information (as I mentioned earlier, only the
Florida site seems to have ready access to SSN info).

Many of the other links may be useful as well for the other records
they provide.

Hope this is what you needed, but if not, I'll be awaiting your next
Subject: Re: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI?
From: 4keith-ga on 03 Apr 2003 10:44 PST


Due to the recent increase of identity theft, it will be very
difficult but not impossible to find the types of databases you are
looking for, since companies and businesses and the government are
trying to restrict access to those types of databases since they
automatically (but sometimes erroneously) assume that nearly everyone
with access would try to "steal" the SSN's to use to commit fraud.

If your friend doing the genealogical research was willing to pay
approximately $2-$10 per name, there are companies offering databases
that do have the SSN's listed along with the death record, and many of
them can be found over the Internet.  Sometimes depending on the
individual and where they lived, you could check city/county voter
registration records.  Why would the SSN even be needed--just as a
double check to make sure the exact person had been located in order
to prevent duplication since names are sometimes the same?

Subject: Re: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI?
From: 4keith-ga on 03 Apr 2003 10:46 PST
Additionally, if the researcher was really interested in getting the
SSN, a private investigator would provide the information for a price
if the researcher furnished the decedent's date of birth and name, and
then you could recover the cost from the client.
Subject: Re: How to Obtain Social Security Numbers of Deceased Not Listed in SSDI?
From: 4keith-ga on 08 Apr 2003 15:13 PDT


If you could acquire some information from your genealogist friendd
about the example case she gave you (the lady decedent died between
1958-1989 and was born 1957-1967), such as the lady's name, and
city/state of birth and death, then a search could be conducted to
find the databases she seeks, and if she would also mention which area
of the country or which states she is most interested in.  Many states
offer death indexes that would have the information she seeks, but
some are private and only a genealogist or public employee would be
able to find the links.  Coroner's reports are sometimes public record
that she could order a copy of in some states and also a search in the
specific county she was interested in could yield that information on
voter registration records and other sources.  If she wants access to
a relatively inexpensive database she can ask any apartment manager in
her area for the name of the databases they use to get credit
report-type information on applicants.


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