Realted Help Pages:
Getting Started
Definition of Fields and Search Tips
Missing Entries in the SSDI
Reporting Inaccurate Entries
Contacting the SSA for Information

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Social Security Death Index
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Social Security Death Index:
Missing Entries

If you cannot find an entry in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), try the following suggestions.
  • The SSDI does not include all participants. Check the listing of common reasons why someone would not appear in the index to see if they apply to the person you are researching. You may be able to get a photocopy of the original Social Security application (SS-5) by contacting the Social Security Administration (SSA), even if there is no record in the SSDI.

  • Do another search, but reduce the number of fields. In some cases, fewer fields will give you better results, especially if one of the fields you completed was inaccurate or differs from the Social Security Administration's information.

  • Verify that you haven't misinterpreted a date. The date you were given by a fellow researcher as 06/10/75 may be interpreted as June 10th or October 6th, depending on how the compiler was entering dates. The year could be 1875 or 1975, or the numbers could have been transposed (perhaps it should be 1957).

  • The name may have a variant spelling; try other spellings and/or a wildcard search for the first or last name. To do a wildcard search, enter at least the first three letters of a name, followed by an asterisk (*). This and other tips are mentioned within the page of field descriptions.

  • Try a search using Soundex or Metaphone formats.

  • Try alternate formats of the name. For instance, use a middle name or initial in the first name field (Erich Frederick may have been known his entire lifetime as Fred if Erich was a common family name, or George H. could be H. George). A middle name may have been entered as a last name (James Baldwin Lee may be filed as James Lee Baldwin). Don't make assumptions, because sometimes you will find that a nickname wasn't a nickname (Tommy may really be Tommy, not Thomas).

  • Try leaving the zip code field empty; zip codes don't exist for the earliest records. Or expand the region you are searching by doing a wildcard search; enter the first three or four digits of the zip code, followed by an asterisk (*). For example, search for "684*" (no quotation marks) will give you all entries with zip codes that begin with those three digits.

Some records may have been omitted from the SSDI in error. If you believe that has happened, you should follow the steps outlined for reporting inaccurate entries.

Continue To:
Reporting Inaccurate Entries