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Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Numbe...

One of the most valuable forms I’ve come across in my research into my immigrant ancestors has been form SS-5, which is an application for a U.S. social security number. Here is what the SS-5 looks like using an example from one of my relatives (with personal information blurred out): More importantly, here is the kind of information you can find by reviewing one of your ancestor’s applications for a social...

What You Can Learn in Census Records

Some of the best genealogical tools available to family history researchers are census records. Not only can they tell you where your ancestors lived at different points in time, but they can tell you much more about them, their lives, and their families. While the information found in federal census forms varies a bit from decade to decade, here are some examples of the kind of information you may be able to...

5 Free Family Tree Search Resources in the U.S.

Premium genealogy resources are all over the place. But when you’re just starting out (or considering family history research as a hobby), you probably don’t want to dole out the cash for expensive subscriptions. Fortunately you don’t have to. There are numerous free genealogy research websites out there that can help you get started. It’s a good idea to exhaust these resources before paying for...

Can’t Find Your Relatives in the 1940 Census...

I just wanted to share a quick tip with any other family history buffs who have struggled to find their relatives in the 1940 U.S. census when searching on Ancestry.com. A couple of weeks ago, I searched for several ancestors (as soon as it became searchable there actually). And I had very little luck. On a whim, I decided to search another site using their free trial — Archives.com. Amazingly, my ancestors’ names...

Government Incompetence and Genealogists

Have you ever hit a wall in your genealogy research where the only option to move forward was to get your hands on some sort of government document? That’s what happened to me recently. I needed one ancestor’s parents’ names. And the only way to get them would be to get a copy of her application for a Social Security number (SS-5 form). This document is available to genealogists either by mailing a form or...