At our Networking Group last night the conversation turned to Social Security Application cards. You can send away for an ancestor’s application for a Social Security number (Form SS-5). This application can reveal helpful facts such as the ancestor’s birthdate, place of birth, and parents’ names, even your ancestor’s signature.
Here’s a copy of a Social Security Application form from one of our group members:
You can request an application by mail or online. Prices can differ, but you can save a few dollars if you know your ancestor’s Social Security number. This can be found on a death certificate.
When you think about Social Security numbers and what they were used for, you will know when it is appropriate to order an ancestor’s application. Social Security Administration came into being during the Depression, so if your ancestor died before then he will not have an application form on file. Also, women who did not work outside the home rarely had Social Security numbers in the early days of the SSA, so don’t look for an application for them, either.
Two addition blog posts that may be helpful and entertaining are the Legal Genealogist’s post on Ordering the SS-5 and Dick Eastman’s humorous post on Social Security Cards Issued by Woolworth’s.
Remember what we learned about Social Security numbers issued by the railroad? See my earlier post for more details.