Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: How Many of Your Ancestors Are in the Social Security Death Index?

Randy Seaver is back with a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge that has you searching for your ancestors in a database:

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission:  Impossible! music, please!):

(1) Michael John Neill wrote a blog post this week listing his ancestors who have entries in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  He had seven ancestors in the SSDI.

(2) This week, review your files and determine which of your ancestors has an entry in the Social Security Death Index (free on; see  How many do you have?

(3) Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status line on Facebook or Google Plus.  Leave a comment with a link to your blog post if you write one.

Ok, here's my list:

• Grandfather:  Bertram Lynn Sellers (1903–1995)
• Grandmother:  Anna Gauntt (1893–1986)
• Grandfather:  Abraham Meckler (1912–1989)
• Grandmother:  Lillyan E. (Gordon) Meckler (1919–2006)

• Great-grandmother:  Laura May (Armstrong) Sellers Ireland (1882–1970)
• Great-grandmother:  Sarah Libby (Brainin) Gordon (~1885–1963) (maybe)

So I have five, possibly six, ancestors who appear in the SSDI.  My father is still alive.  I'm not sure if it's my great-grandmother Sarah Gordon or not in the SSDI, and that person does not appear in the claims index.

On the other hand, I do have three ancestors who appear in the Social Security Claims Index.  Both of my grandfathers, Abraham Meckler and Bertram Lynn Sellers, are in there.  My great-grandfather Joe Gordon (~1892–1955) is also in the claims index, although he does not appear in the SSDI.  None of the rest of my great-grandparents is in either database, and my most recently deceased great-great-grandparent, Gershon Itzhak Novitsky, died in 1948 and also does not show up.

And I had my own strange search result with the SSDI on FamilySearch.  I looked for my grandmother Lillyan Meckler under those names with her year of death and did not find her.  When I searched for Esther Meckler, however, she was the only good matching result, with the full name of Lillyan Esther Meckler.  So I had the same kind of weirdness that Randy did while searching for his mother.

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