Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Potential doom and gloom over America's SSDI

At the start of the week I wrote an article for next month's UK based Family Tree magazine ( about privacy, and cited various examples of some bad news coming the way of the genealogical community on that front. One of the examples I quoted was the recent shenanigans last year in the United States concerning an important records collection called the Social Security Death Index, or SSDI for short, which many in the US use for genealogical purposes. It's kind of like our national insurance number, but there's an accessible database in the States that when consulted allows you to work out when a person was born and where registered for a social security number (and much more besides - see my article next month!). Ancestry has it online, FamilySearch has it online - and several US politicians are gunning for it big time.

Judy G. Russell has just posted an update on her The Legal Genealogist blog on what is happening on the SSDI front, and it's all looking increasingly gloomy. You can read Judy's post at

(With thanks to Judy)


Pre-order my new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, through Pen and Sword (30 April 2013), or purchase early at Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013 in London. For my other genealogy books, please visit; whilst for my online Scottish based genealogy courses please visit the Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Ltd site.


  1. I am interested in your book "Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet." Is it available in the USA?

  2. Hi Clauia, it's not available until April 30th (unless you're at WDYTYA Live next month, when some copies will be available early). Not listed yet on Amazon in US (other than to say you can be notified when it's available), but you can pre-order from the publisher at - hope it helps!

  3. Thank you Chris, I will be looking forward to its release.