Resources for Genealogists

Social Security Records

Records of the Social Security Administration (SSA) relating to individuals are not in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). However, the following information may assist you in locating these records.

Records Available from the Social Security Administration (SSA)

For a fee, the SSA will provide a copy of the Form SS-5, Application for Social Security Number.

Send the required fee, plus:

  1. the person's name
  2. the person's Social Security Number (if known)
  3. either evidence of death or a release-of-information statement signed by the person about whom the information is sought

Send to:

Social Security Administration
OEO FOIA Workgroup
300 N. Green Street
P.O. Box 33022
Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3022

Social Security Applications

In order to enroll, the applicant completed a form known as the SS-5, Application for Social Security Number, which requested the following information:

  • Full name
  • Full name at birth, including maiden name
  • Present mailing address
  • Age at last birthday
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (city, county, State)
  • Father's full name
  • Mother's full name, including maiden name
  • Sex
  • Race as indicated by the applicant
  • Whether the applicant ever applied for Social Security or Railroad Retirement before
  • Current employer's name and address
  • Date signed
  • Applicant's signature

For more information

  • For more information about Social Security applications, consult:

    Quick Introduction to Social Security Numbers

    Allen, Desmond W., and Carolyn E. Billingsley. Social Security Applications: A Genealogical Resource. Research Associates, 1995.

  • For information about the history of the Social Security Administration, consult:

    A Brief History of the Social Security Administration. Baltimore, MD: Social Security Administration, 1995.

    Berkowitz, Edward D. Mr. Social Security: The Life of Wilbur J. Cohen. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1995.

    Coll, Blanche D. Safety Net: Welfare and Social Security, 1929-1979. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995.

    McKinley, Charles, and Robert W. Frase. Launching Social Security: A Capture-and-Record Account, 1935-1937. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1970.

  • For information about the administrative records of the Social Security Administration available at NARA, consult:

    Information about Record Group 47, Records of the Social Security Administration, in Guide to Federal Recods in the National Archives of the United States, 3 vols., (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995), which is available online or for purchase.
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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
1-86-NARA-NARA or 1-866-272-6272