Is it helpful to provide social security numbers or is that no a good idea

+10 votes
asked in Genealogy Help by Rick Miles G2G Crew (460 points)

5 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
I have been recording the Social Security Number in my personal database, but I have not yet added it to the profiles I've created.  I have  relatives with very common names, so I intend to add it in the biography to enable others to verify sources.  This will only be helpful for comparing 20th century U.S. records, though.

Since the SSN appears on death certificates, employment documents, and military records (for mid to late 20th century documents), it will enable someone to verify that they are sourcing the record for the correct John Thompson or William Jackson.

But, as Anne has already mentioned, it is important that we never list a SSN for a living person.
answered by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (495k points)
selected by J V
+10 votes

I had considered adding the SSN but then I thought of the security issues that come along with having it out there. Even deceased people are targets for identity thief. I just state SSN (in records) when I post a SSN Source or U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index reference etc. .

answered by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+7 votes
I can't see where it would be helpful at all. Nobody searches for deceased people by SS #, but rather by name. And obviously, it's not a good idea for living people.
answered by Anne B G2G6 Pilot (971k points)
+5 votes
Hi Rick, I've never really thought about it.  Though I do just copy/paste - and only for the deceased.  Must reconsider this.  Thank you for raising this question.
answered by T C G2G6 Mach 5 (58.7k points)
+4 votes
The only time I've found the SSN useful was for a relative that was in the Army, in WWII I think, and I had his discharge papers which had his SSN.  I later found  him in the SSDI and thus knew it was correct person even though he'd been estranged from the family for a long time.
answered by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (366k points)
Similar to Dave, I have a few distant cousins of mine who served in the military and then lost touch with the family.  Finding their Social Security numbers in military records then helped me track them down in the SSDI.

For two of these distant cousins, I would have not been able to track down when/where they died without having their Social Security numbers.  Here is a good example of one of these:

I also agree that there is no reason that we should ever list Social Security numbers of living people.

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