How to Support Saving the Social Security Death Index

News release from The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)


Genealogy Community Responds To Efforts To Remove Access to Social Security Death Index and Other Records

February 7, 2012– Austin, TX: The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) – a joint coalition of international genealogical societies representing millions of genealogists and family historians – announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at
Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job
Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.
The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against the Master Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing.
Tax Fraud and Identity Theft: Genealogists Are Not To Blame
The House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Social Security is proposing to completely shut down use of the SSDI by genealogists as well as other industries such as banking and insurance that rely upon its information. Such an attempt is short-sighted and runs counter to the original purpose of the SSDI: to actually combat fraud.
Loss of Access to SSDI Affects More Than Genealogists
The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs.
All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.
RPAC Petitions Obama Administration
The We the People petition, now posted at and accepting signatures, has a simple yet effective mission:
Take immediate steps that would curtail the filing of fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults.
[Note: Visitors to the website must log in to sign the petition, or click Create an Account to register. Once registered, return to to sign the petition.]
No need for lengthy hearings in front of a Congressional committee. No need for filing statements for or against any House action. No need to waste time and effort which could be directed to more pressing national issues. In fact, the National Taxpayer Advocate in 2011 issued suggestions which do not require additional legislation but can be implemented collaboratively between the IRS and Social Security Administration (SSA) almost immediately in time to impact the current tax filing season.
About Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC)
The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) was formed to advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to historical records of genealogical value in whatever media they are recorded, on means to affect legislation, and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices.
The genealogical community works together through The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), which today includes The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and serve as participating members.
To learn more visit
Contact: RPAC
c/o Federation of Genealogical Societies
PO Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
phone: +1 (888) 347-1500
fax: +1 (866) 347-1350

Strategic Planning Now Available as a Download

If you missed the FGS Radio Strategic Planning show today, you can now listen to a saved version online or download it to listen as a podcast at this address:
Thanks to Daniel Norton for posting this link on Facebook on our Wood County Genealogy Research page.

Useful Cheat Sheets


The following link is for cheat sheets for all kinds of computer use. Especially useful is the Google search cheat sheet.

I thought you’d like this:
Click here

MakeUseOf Cheat Sheets

Update on Moore, Clearwater Query

The Moore, Clearwater query post at has been updated with an email response address.

Bulletin Item Makes It Onto Genealogy Daily

An item from the Bulletin has been featured on the front page of ‘The Genealogists # Genealogy Daily. The Link to the Daily is

Check out “Stepping Back Into Time” on Genealogy Wise

Genealogy Wise
The Genealogy & Family History Social Network
Deason Hunt Deason Hunt Check out the blog post ‘Stepping Back Into Time’

Blog post added by Tanya Macdonald:

When my day is hectic and I’m feeling frazzled, how relaxing it is to just step back into time. I look around me at all the conveniences t…

Blog post link:
Stepping Back Into Time

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What will the Wood County Genealogical Society Look Like in Ten Years?

If you care about The Wood County, Texas Genealogical Society (WCGSTX), Wood County, Texas itself, or have ancestors who called Wood County home, please join in helping us create a future for genealogy, genealogical research, and the heritage of this county.

The fact is that local genealogical societies like we have known all our lives are in a crisis period. Some are gone, some are struggling, some, like the WCGSTX, are still plugging along and doing okay but face an uncertain future. The reason is that the world as we have always known it has changed, is changing, and will look even more different in a few years.

There is a discussion about the impact of these normal and not unexpected changes going on in the larger genealogy community. It is one that needs serious consideration right here at home.

A genealogy thinker I have been following (thoughtfully) for a while now is one Marian Pierre-Louis. She has an online presence in many places, but I just finished reading from her blog, Marian’s Roots and Rambles, a two-part series on the paradigm shift in genealogy and its meaning. I would like to share two thoughts from it here and urge you to follow the highlighted links to read all she has to say.

I recommend reading part 2 first. It deals specifically with local genealogical societies and the two following thoughts come from it. Out of context, they might seem rather tame and obvious, but just follow this link and read her blog post in its entirety.

1. Societies have a lot to offer but they need to change with the times. They can not continue to offer services in an outdated manner when change is happening all around them. I am not going to give my money to a society who provides me with nothing.

2. Simply sending money to a society is not enough. Active participation and transformation is the answer.

Whatever your reaction to this, will you please join me in a discussion of the merits and ideas we might follow in deciding and directing our survival and our own future. At meetings, in response to this post, in emails, at chance meetings at the grocery store, on Facebook, on Genealogywise, at our activities and social gatherings, lets look for our future, decide what we want to be and become, and get busy on plans to get there.

The parade has started. Let’s make sure it doesn’t pass us by.

From the editor

Ancestry Stock Jumps Up stock rose 27 cents today one day after we posted on this blog efforts to get access to Ancestry at the Quitman Public Library. Coincidence? I don’t think so. :-)

New Email Subscribers

The two most recent email subscribers to the Bulletin are, respectively, from Virginia and Texas (Dallas). If you know of people interested in Wood County genealogy, tell them about our web page here.

Join Us For Communication Ease on Facebook

Please go to and open an account. Then go to this page: and subscribe or like. ( I forget what the button at the upper right of that pages says.) You don’t have to (repeat have to — all else is your choice or not) give Facbook much more information that your name and email address. Then you can let me know, and I’ll friend you.I’m no risk.

Also, you can post to that Facebook page just by sending an email to (Note: I left out the d in Wood when I set up the email address) without having to join Facebook. You just can’t read all of those great posts others can leave on our very own Facebook page.

Deason Hunt
Wood County Genealogical Society
Newsletter Editor


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