Genealogy Bargains is the best site to save money on genealogy and family history including Ancestry, DNA tests and more!


Newest Bargains | FREE STUFF
FREE Webinars | Cheat Sheets & Ebooks
Speaking Request | Connect with Me!

Thomas’ Tips & Ask: Numident

Posted by

Thomas’ Tips & Ask: How Did I Not Know about NUMIDENT? A Valuable Resource for Genealogy Research!

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

Have you ever caught a post on Facebook or other social media platforms about a genealogy resource you have never heard about? And you tell yourself “Oh, I need to check that out!” or “Let me put that on my To-Do List” and you never follow up?

I am URGING you to take a look at United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007 aka NUMIDENT on FamilySearch at https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/5000016.

According to the FamilySearch Wiki:

“The Social Security Administration created these records to track the earnings of US workers and determine benefit entitlements. The publishable index only contains information for deceased individuals and was gathered from all three record types in the collection: applications, deaths, and claims. Each compiled record includes fields for the name of the deceased, social security number, parents’ names, gender, birth city and state or country, birth date, and death date.”

Source: United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT) – FamilySearch Historical Records  (https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/United_States,_Social_Security_Numerical_Identification_Files_(NUMIDENT)_-_FamilySearch_Historical_Records accessed 20 March 2023 )

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

Before entering your search information, keep in mind that the date range is 1936-2007. So, for my mother who passed in 2015, there will not be any record. For this article, I searched for my great-great uncle, Harry D. Austin, who has the brother of my great-grandfather John Ralph Austin (1896-1976) and was born in Lowville, New York.

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

A listing Social Program Correspondence appears at the top of the list for a Harry Austin born in Lowville, New York. I click on the name Harry D. Austin and the details of the record appear:

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

The results provide me with the EXACT Birth Date and EXACT Death Date. Remember that this would be classified as SECONDARY INFORMATION since it is pulled from a variety of original documents and placed in an index. But I use these as “clues” for further research.

Each record includes fields for:

  • name of the deceased
  • social security number
  • parents’ names
  • gender
  • birth city
  • state or country
  • birth date
  • death date

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

A great way to expand your research is to look at the right-hand sidebar for the record under Similar Records and view those “suggested records” on the FamilySearch site.

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

Tip #1: Search Broad, Not Narrow

I always start with a broad search on most records databases. In this case using the surname AUSTIN and the location as LOWVILLE. While my great-great uncle’s given name was, in fact, Harry and it was not a nickname, I can never be sure what form of a given name was used when completing a Social Security Application.

Once the results appear, scroll through to look for a match. If there are too many records then try adding a given name, or better yet, use the wildcard feature (*) as in Har* instead of Harry. Remember, in most cases you need at least three characters of text and the asterisk symbol in order to leverage the power of a wildcard search.

Tip #2: Remember this is SECONDAY INFORMATION

I always tell my followers: “Consider the source!” when working with information found either through in-person or online research. In the case of NUMIDENT, the records are considered “secondary information” since the database is an INDEX that was created based on several different types of records. While PRIMARY information is always best, secondary information can offer clues for further research.

Tip #3: Cite Your Sources

FamilySearch conveniently provides a source citation in the left sidebar under the heading Cite This Record. You can click the Copy Citation button and place the text in your research log or your genealogy software.

“United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:6KMT-S526 : 10 February 2023), Harry D Austin,.

Conclusion

The United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database, aka NUMIDENT, is an excellent resource for genealogy and family history researchers who need more information than what the often-used Social Security Death Index provides. Keep in mind that while it often provides exact birth and death information, the source is still considered secondary information. Use the data as “clues” for further research.

Download PDF Article

You can download this helpful article as a PDF by clicking below. Please share with your fellow genealogists and family historians as well as members of your genealogy society!

Thomas MacEntee of GenealogyBargains has on how to leverage the power of NUMIDENT United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files database at FamilySearch

©2023, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Ancestry US

  • AncestryDNA Summer Sale – Save up to 75%!
    AncestryDNA Summer Sale – Save up to 75%!

    AncestryDNA Summer Sale – Save up to 75% AncestryDNA Summer Sale: Some of the LOWEST PRICES EVER on AncestryDNA during the AncestryDNA Summer Sale!  Get the basic AncestryDNA test kit…


  • MyHeritage Summer DNA Sale
    MyHeritage Summer DNA Sale

    MyHeritage SUMMER DNA Sale … only $39 USD! MyHeritage Summer DNA Sale: Save big on MyHeritage DNA during the MyHeritage Summer DNA Sale! This is the same autosomal DNA test kit as…


  • AMAZON PRIME DAY DNA DEALS! Save Up to 67% More!
    AMAZON PRIME DAY DNA DEALS! Save Up to 67% More!

    Amazon Prime Day DNA DEALS! Save up to 67% or more on 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and FamilyTreeDNA  Amazon Prime Day DNA DEALS! If you’ve been waiting for a great sale on…