If your immigrant ancestor received Social Security, you may write and get the form that they used to apply for Social Security. The form, the SS-5 contains the following:
1) full name
2) mailing address
3) full given name at time of birth
4) age at last birthday
5) date of birth
6) place of birth (city, county, state)
7) father’s full name regardless of living or dead
8) mother’s full name regardless of living or dead
10) color or race
11) if ever had Social Security or railroad retirement, if yes, state and number
12) business name and address
13) the date
Fill out form SSA-711 to apply. The cost is $21 for a photocopy of the original SS-5 card. If you would like a computer extract, the cost is $20. You can get the Social Security number off of the death certificate or from the Social Security Death Index at you local FHC.
Some facts to note: your ancestor must have worked after 1937. If your ancestor was self-employed (the Social Security Administration abbreviates it as S/E), they would have applied around 1955.
Also, when I sent for mine, I said that my great-grandmother used her husband’s Social Security number, but with a “D” after it. I asked if I could obtain an SS-5 for her since she and her husband used the same Social Security number. They said she had her own number (and gave it to me) but could not locate her SS-5. They sent me a SSA-9638, which listed the following:
1) full name
2) full name given at birth
3) place of birth (city, county, state)
4) mother’s full name at HER birth, regardless of living or dead
5) father’s full name regardless of living or dead
6) person’s date of birth
7) person’s present age
10) whether applied or had own Social Security number before
11) if yes, year, state and name applied under
12) date signed
13) telephone number
On the bottom was typed the name, address, city, state and zip. So, if they had a Social Security number, ask for the SS-5, or if unable to locate, then the SSA-9638. You may not get someone as astute as I did looking for your ancestor’s SS-5.
For more information and to get a copy of the SSA-711 form, go to this link: Request For Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record [pdf file]
© 2003-2021 Cheri Mello
About the Author:
Cheri Mello has extensive experience researching and teaching Portuguese genealogy. She currently moderates the Azores Genealogy Google Group.