Historic Record Sources

Names Database Source Information

Original data: Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Originally compiled by the U.S. Social Security Administration.

Crestleaf uses the June 22, 2011 version containing 89,835,920 records


What is the Social Security Death Index?

The Social Security Death Index is created from the Death Master File(DMF) which is compiled and curated by the Social Security Administration and contains over 89 million records dating from 1935-2014. It is a record of persons who have died since 1935, had a Social Security Number (SSN) and whose death has been reported to the Social Security Administration.


What’s in the Data?

The data includes:

  • Given name and surname; and since the 1990s, middle initial
  • Date of birth
  • Month and year of death; or full date of death for records active in 2000 or later
  • Social Security number
  • State or territory where the Social Security number was issued
  • Last place of residence while the person was alive (US ZIP code)


Why can’t I see Social Security Numbers?

Social Security Numbers are not visible because Crestleaf.com has chosen not to display this information.


How accurate is the information?

The Social Security Administration does not guarantee the accuracy of the file. Not all deaths have been reported from 1935 to 2014, and the Death Master File is specific to persons who had a SSN. There is always the possibility of incorrect record keeping, especially in the case of older data.


Who uses this information?

The Death Master File is considered a public document under the Freedom of Information Act, and monthly and weekly updates of the file are sold by the National Technical Information Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Knowing that a patient died is important in many observational clinical studies and is important for medical research. It is also used by financial and credit firms and government agencies to match records and prevent identity fraud.

The Death Master File, in its SSDI form, is also used extensively by genealogists. Lorretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargraves Luebking report in The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy (1997) that the total number of deaths in the United States from 1962 to September 1991 is estimated at 58.2 million. Of that number, 42.5 million (73 percent) are found in the Death Master File. Other research published by the Social Security Administration in 2002 suggests that for most years since 1973, 93 percent to 96 percent of deaths of individuals aged 65 or older were included in the DMF. Today the number of deaths, at any age, reported to the Death Master File is around 95 percent.


Can I correct information in the Database?

If you believe that information has been incorrectly listed or has incorrect dates/data on the Death Master File, the database from which the Social Security Death Index is generated, you can contact your local Social Security Office to have the error corrected. Once the correction is made all recipients of the SSDI database will get the correction in the regularly scheduled update from the Social Security Administration.