I see dead people.
Well, sort of. With the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), I can quickly and easily pull up records of pretty much anyone with a Social Security number who has died in the past 50 years or so.
2012 Update: Rootsweb, long-time keeper of free SSDI lookups, has suddenly decided they need to charge for the privilege. What a shame. However, you can also access the Social Security Death Index at GenealogyBank's SSDI page. Thank you GenealogyBank.
There are more than 80 million records in SSDI. Each record provides a full name, date of birth and death, geographical information, and even the deceased's Social Security number. Searching is very flexible and powerful, with an Advanced Search feature that can do even more. As with all resources at FreeGenealogyTools, searching SSDI is absolutely free.
When searching, be sure to use the actual SSDI search fields, and not the First Name / Last Name fields of the advertisements that usually appear on the site.
SSDI should be your first stop for researching anyone who has died since about 1960 (there are scattered earlier records in the system as well, but it is not complete).
Social Security Death Index Search Results
The King is Dead!
Visit the main page of Free Genealogy Tools for more, umm, free genealogical tools.
And don't forget to also check for your family history at Ancestry.com and NewspaperArchive.com. These are subscription databases, but they are among the most powerful research tools available for looking into family roots.