Genealogists use the Social Security Death Index as an excellent tool to find information about ancestors born in the twentieth or late nineteenth centuries. If you would like to purchase your own copy of this database, you can send a check for "only" $6,900 for an annual subscription.
Fortunately, a number of web sites have the same data available online at no charge. The owners of those web sites may be interested in a new option available from the Social Security Administration: the database is now available on a single DVD-ROM disk. Previously it was available only on a set of several CD-ROM disks or on magnetic tape cartridges.
Here is the announcement from the Social Security Administration:
SPRINGFIELD, Va., Dec. 21 -- The Official Version of the Social Security Administration Death Master File is now available on DVD. The Death Master File is the complete and official SSA database of persons reported to SSA as being deceased. The new DVD version is available from the National Technical Information Service.
The SSA Death Master File is used by leading government, financial, investigative, credit reporting, medical research and other industries to verify identity as well as to prevent fraud and comply with the USA Patriot Act. The new DVD version delivers the complete database on one DVD disc, rather than 37 magnetic cartridges or 4 CD-ROM. The DVD will save backup storage space as well as save time uploading the file.
The SSA Death Master File is used by leading government, financial, investigative, credit reporting organizations, medical research and other industries to verify identity as well as to prevent fraud and comply with the USA Patriot Act. To assist in this effort, NTIS and SSA are working together to offer the SSA Death Master File more frequently, with fewer delays, and in different formats, including in searchable online applications.
By methodically running financial, credit, payment and other applications against the Death Master File, the financial community, insurance companies, security firms and state and local governments are better able to identify and prevent identity fraud. The USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001), requires an effort to verify the identity of customers, including procedures to verify customer identity and maintaining records of information used to verify identity.
The Death Master File in an online search application or as raw data on CD is also important for identification verification other than for preventing fraud. Medical researchers, hospitals, oncology programs all need to track former patients and study subjects. Investigative firms use the data to identify persons, or the death of persons, in the course of their investigations. Pension funds, insurance organizations, Federal, State and Local governments and others responsible for payments to recipients/retirees all need to know if they might be sending checks to deceased persons. Individuals may search for loved ones, or work toward growing their family trees. Professional and amateur genealogists can search for missing links.
For more information, visit http://www.ntis.gov/ssa-dmf/
The National Technical Information Service is the federal government's central source for the sale of scientific, technical, engineering, and related business information produced by or for the U.S. government and complementary material from international sources. NTIS also offers thousands of multimedia, training, and educational programs produced by federal agencies. Approximately 3 million products are available from NTIS in a variety of formats: electronic download, online access, computer products, multimedia, microfiche and paper.