At one time or another, just about everyone living in the US -- and many who have passed on -- have filled out an application for a Social Security number.
Two generations ago, these were largely being filled out by adults. As the Social Security system matured, parents began filling them out for their children as well. But regardless, an application was filed for just about everyone.
These can be family history goldmines. Though the application has changed over the years, the earlier ones contained details such as:
- Full name
- Maiden name (where applicable, of course)
- Complete address
- Current employer
- Date of employment
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Father's full name
- Mother's full name and maiden name
The form required a signature, which is also part of the application record.
Like I said, a real genealogy goldmine.
You can get a copy of the original application form directly from Social Security. There is a modest fee, which varies depending on the nature of your request. A family member who is living will have to make the request themselves, but if they've passed on, then you can request a copy.
Worth the effort...worth the cost.
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.