"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 31 Aug 2000

Labor Day, the Social Security Administration and Genealogy

Labor Day, the Social Security Administration and Genealogy Our last holiday before Thanksgiving is upon us! Labor Day does bring to mind the Social Security Administration (SSA) at: http://www.ssa.gov/, and the important role it has played in our lives and family histories.

The SSA is celebrating its 65th Birthday! Wow, does that mean the Social Security Administration can retire? No, but it does mean the SSA has developed an interesting “History Page” at: http://www.ssa.gov/history/history.html. You can print a free pamphlet on the History of the Social Security Administration. I recommend you bookmark this website for students who will need a school history project this year.

The website include sections: Quick Intro, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), Special Collections, In-Depth Research, Agency History, Resources at SSA, Outside Resources, and Test Your Knowledge (fun & games). There is a detailed chronology of the SSA and a section on Presidential Statements about the agency.

Genealogists will be interested in the section on Social Security Numbers including the design of the cards over the years and the complex numbering system. Lastly, this section also includes actual scanned images of the original applications for a Social Security Card in 1936. And this page also discusses how the numbering system was changed in 1998.

Many genealogists understand the importance of one of the most important resources of the SSA, the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), which is now on-line and free to use RootsWeb at: http://www.rootsweb.com/. RootsWeb updates their SSDI database on a monthly basis and currently it contains the birth and death date information on over 64 million individuals.

Once you have obtained an individual’s information from the SSDI, you can obtain a SS-5 form and obtain an actual copy of the person’s application for Social Security Card. This application will possibly include the names of the person’s parents and their places of birth. You will need to include a check or money order with your SS-5 form; currently the fee is $7 if you have the Social Security number, $16.50 without the number. If an individual died in the past 5-years, the fee will be $14. The process of obtaining this information usually takes up to 6-months, so be patient.

Texas Republic Claims Search Engine

The Texas State Library and Archives in Austin, Texas has a unique “Texas Republic Claims Search Engine” at: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/repclaims/index.html. The Republic Claims series of Comptroller's records includes claims for payment, reimbursement, or restitution submitted by citizens to the Republic of Texas government from 1835 through 1846. It also includes records relating to Republic pensions and claims against the Republic submitted as public debt claims after 1846.

The files include supporting documents such as vouchers, financial accounts, military records, receipts, notes, or letters. This Online Database provides the Reel and Frame location of more than 48,500 indexed names and is a very useful tool if you have ancestors in Texas during this time-period.

Create a Historical Time-Line for your Family History or School Project!

“Our Time Lines” website at: http://www.ourtimelines.com/ allows you to see “your life (or the life of anyone else you choose - for instance, your descendants and ancestors) and how fits into history as we know it.” You can generate a time-line from five to 149 years. In addition, you can create as many time-lines as you would like and there is no charge!

Also, you can choose between, Historical Events, Leadership, Technology Events, Disasters, etc., in creating your time-line. A truly exciting feature is that, if you're into creating webpages, you can take the timelines created by “Our Time Lines” and put them on your own pages.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 29 Aug 2000 and was last revised on ________ 2000

Copyright © 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604