Monday, March 5, 2012

Social Security and Original Records

Thanks to Barbara McCallum and Cheryl Storton for their presentations at the Genealogy Society General Meeting on Saturday, March 3.

Barbara talked about the Social Security Death Index and related records. If you’ve never gotten a copy of your parents’ or grandparents’ application for Social Security, perhaps you are now motivated to try. Here are a couple of good links:

Cheryl’s presentation entertainingly demonstrated the difference between original and derivative sources and the importance of obtaining the original record (or the earliest derivative, in the absence of the original), even when you have a reliable transcription. The image accompanying this article (from Cheryl's presentation) shows a California Mission original record, an 1897 baptism, with a "bonus" in the left column, a notation about the individual's marriage almost 50 years later in 1946.

It makes me wonder. Do we have all the original sources associated with our parents' and grandparents? Or are we relying on family tradition? Sometimes in our haste to get to that Mayflower ancestor, we casually skip over recent, important original documents which could change everything -- including the ease with which we eventually identify that Mayflower ancestor.   

Cool associated websites Cheryl recommended include:  


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