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OneGreatFamily Guest Newsletter

September 15, 2006

Together We Can Build The World's Family Tree

In This Issue:

OneGreatFamily Is A Single, Shared Family Tree Built By People All Over The World.

Together We Can Build The World's Family Tree

The OneGreatFamily Tree is a powerful genealogy database that is shared and built by people like you from all over the world. Everyone's genealogy ties into the OneGreatFamily Tree. Every single name, date, place, picture, biography and video clip has been submitted by people like you. In fact, the OneGreatFamily Tree started without a single name. Users in over 170 countries have submitted millions of names . . . and we've only just begun!

So what does a "shared" worldwide database mean to you? It means someone else may have already entered dozens or even hundreds of your ancestors! New information is added every day to the OneGreatFamily shared family tree, which means new ancestors could appear in your family tree anytime.

You can contribute to this shared family tree by submitting all you know about your ancestors. Sharing your information with others can result in a collaboration with cousins or distant relatives you never knew existed. Through collaboration you can find even more success as you combine knowledge with other family members.

Start today by submitting your family tree or adding more names to your family tree in OneGreatFamily so we can tie your family's branch into the largest single family tree available.

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Introducing "Genealogy Insights by Mandy "

Each Week Mandy Will Bring a Wealth of Information to Newsletter Readers

It has taken a couple of months but we finally found someone who can provide our members with a wealth of genealogy information. Published under the title, "Genealogy Insights by Mandy", her column will contain tips, techniques, and genealogy information to help you in your genealogy research.

This newsletter features her first article providing you with insight to the Social Security Index. We thought you might like to get to know a little bit about Mandy and how she became involved in genealogy:

Mandy grew up the oldest of 5 children in Centerville, Utah. She has been involved in the genealogy field for the past 5 years. Starting in 2001, Mandy served for 18 months as a volunteer at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. She trained other volunteers and taught specialized classes about Military Records and British Isle research.

Now she is currently pursuing a Family History Degree at Brigham Young University, focusing her studies mostly on British Isles research. She loves family history work!

And it's no surprise that she loves her family:

"I love spoiling my niece and nephew. I’m an avid sports fan with special interest in football and soccer. I prefer watching my brothers’ teams, but when they’re not playing, I like BYU and the Denver Broncos. I love the outdoors! I like camping, hiking, most snow and water sports, and I love traveling. I also love cooking and quilting."

We are really excited to have another genealogist share their wealth of information with all of our OneGreatFamily members. Look for her articles in the weeks to come.

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Genealogy Insights by Mandy

Social Security Index

by Mandy Mathews, Family Historian

One search option available through is the Social Security Death index. This is a wonderful way to find out death dates and places, but did you know that it could lead you to much more valuable genealogical information?

During the Great Depression, citizens of the United States asked the government for assistance with their financial distress. President Franklin D. Roosevelt responded with the Social Security Act of 1935. The Act instigated taxation of employers and employees for the purpose of providing pensions to workers who reached the age of sixty-five. Social Security gave financial relief to many Americans during the Great Depression.

Like any government program, in order to become part of the Social Security system, workers had to fill out an application, the SS-5.  Over the years, the SS-5 has changed, but much of the basic information still remains. Once you’ve found your ancestor in the Social Security Death Index, you can request a copy of their original Social Security Application.

The SS-5 is a great resource for learning more about individuals who died after 1960, and generally includes the following:

  • Full name
  • Full name at birth, including maiden name
  • Last known mailing address
  • Age at last birthday
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth (city, county, State)
  • Father's full name
  • Mother's full name, including maiden name
  • Gender
  • Race as indicated by the applicant
  • Whether the applicant ever applied for Social Security or Railroad Retirement  
  • Current employer's name and address
  • Date signed
  • Applicant's signature

Requests of this form can only be made for deceased persons. Under the Freedom of Information Act, you don’t need to be a direct descendant. You can also obtain an application for yourself if necessary, and you may sign a release-of-information act to allow others to obtain one for you.

The following information is needed to request a copy of the SS-5:

  • The individual’s full name
  • The Social Security Number (if known)
  • Evidence of death or a release-of-information

Send your request to:

Social Security Administration
OEO FOIA Workgroup
300 N. Greene Street
P.O. Box 33022
Baltimore, Maryland 21290-3022

Mark both the envelope and its contents: "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST" or "INFORMATION REQUEST."

If you supply the Social Security Number, the fee is $27.00. If the SSN is not known, the fee is $29.00, and you must send the person's full name, date and place of birth, and names of parents.

The response time can be up to 8 weeks, so be patient as the information is definitely worth the wait!

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One Great Genealogy Site Award

The Ellis Island Archives

Four out of ten Americans have an ancestor who came through Ellis Island - that is a lot of people! More than 22 million passengers and members of ships' crews entered the United States through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Information about each person was written down in ships' passenger lists, known as "manifests." Manifests were used to examine immigrants upon arrival in the United States. Now you can search these millions of records for information on individual Ellis Island passengers by visiting

  • Visit
  • See Past Award Recipients.
  • Recommend A Site Award Recipient.

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    Managing Editor: Heather Matthews
    Contributors: Heather Matthews, Mandy Mathews and Rob Armstrong
    Editor: Brenda Eyring

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