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Illiana ancestors: Mocavo offers free SSDI search

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has been in the news lately because some legislators mistakenly believe that the information it contains encourages fraud. The Social Security Death Indexes are government records that had been released under the Freedom of Information Act and are intended to prevent fraud. Financial institutions are encouraged to check the SSDI to prevent individuals from using a deceased person’s Social Security number.

It has recently been announced that the search engine, Mocavo, makes the SSDI available free to anyone. Doing a search requires a free account and can be found at On a personal note, I prefer to NOT establish accounts with online entities and therefore I would like to suggest other online sources that provide the SSDI data. still has it available online. provides it as well, but requires a paid subscription; one could access the data at a library that does have a subscription. A SSDI search can also be made free at GenealogyBank at Stephen P. Morse has a page, Searching the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) in One Step, at which allows one to choose from a variety of websites having the data.

It should be noted that RootsWeb closed access to the SSDI following some recent legislation. The information that the SSDI may provide (for individuals who died after 1935) includes the person’s date of birth, date of death, age at death, last place of residence, ZIP code of residence, ZIP code of lump sum payment, and social security number.

Edgar County Index

A new Every Name Index to the History of Edgar County, Illinois, has been compiled by Cathy L. O’Connor. Visit to search this index ,which contains more than14,900 entries. This 1879 history includes a directory of taxpayers, war records, portraits of early settlers and prominent men, general and local statistics, and much more. Once a name is found in the index, one can then click on the link to Google Books to see the actual book.

While at this website, be sure to click on the link to Edgar County Illinois Genealogy Library and Society to learn about the April 10 meeting, postcards, newsletter, and more.

Genealogy conference

It is not too early to start making plans to attend the Indiana Historical Society’s Midwestern Roots 2012: Where Do You Think You Find It? (Does that title sound familiar? Have you been watching the NBC TV series, “Who Do You Think You Are?”)

To be held July 20 and 21 at the Indianapolis Marriott East, the conference will have something for everyone — whether you’re just getting started or an experienced genealogist. There will be workshops, computer labs, historic bus tours, and more than 30 lectures given by such nationally known speakers as Dick Eastman, Curt Witcher and Megan Smolenyak.

To register or for more information, visit or call (317) 232-1882.


The database of Illinois marriages that has been jointly created by the Illinois State Archives and the Illinois State Genealogical Society is at

The link was incorrect in the March 25 column, as Illinois was misspelled.

Queries, as well as a general exchange of genealogical material that readers would like to share, will be printed in the column for free. Contact Joan Griffis by e-mailing

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