When Ancestry Searches Cross The Privacy Line

When Ancestry Searches Cross The Privacy Line 1

Recently I’ve found myself wanting to look at family records and see what type of family tree I can create of our heritage. I know the general “foundation” of my family and so forth but would like to find more. I’ve noticed that the majority of sites out there, you’re going to end up paying for family records.When Ancestry Searches Cross The Privacy Line 2

As I continued to Google family records and ancestry sites I came across a site. I entered a few family names and sat back dumbfounded. Within about five seconds of punching in a deceased family member’s name, I saw a social security number staring back at me. I’m not talking the last four of a social or something like that. This was his FULL social security number clear as day.

With so many warnings out there about privacy and identity theft, I found myself a little sick. While his SSN was right there, no records of marriage, no parent’s names, nothing but that number. How is that anything to do with his family history? I understand that it’s a Death Index from Social Security but what is crossing the line?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that I should appreciate being able to find certain information but this has nothing to do with tracing my history. I searched for other family members that have passed on and sure enough, there were their social security numbers as well. For something we are told constantly to protect, how is it okay for a site to give instant access to the wrong person?

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  1. I know what you are talking about, it’s the Social Security Death Index. It has been around for a long time. It was its own site back in the early 2000’s then it became a tool that you could only use on ancestry sites. I am not sure if they could actually do anything with the number, I could be wrong though I am not sure how it works after someone passes away. I am assuming they are marked as deceased in the system. Maybe it would be worth calling the Social Security office with your concerns and see what the protocol is.

    1. It’s not the actual death index that I found this on. I found this on a site presenting itself as an ancestry site yet I could find no connections to family members, only a death index with family members social security numbers. No records of spouses, marriages, children, parents, etc.

  2. I have seen the site you are talking about, and, no, it does not give any ancestry history other than to let you know that a particular person has died. But if you are looking up that person, you probably already know that.

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