"How to Update your Christmas Card List"

I get a few electronic newsletters relating to genealogy in my work e-mail box every month in an attempt to stay abreast of things. Most of the time I just quickly peruse the headings and eliminate the entries as not particularly worth sharing. But, sometimes, as on November 1, I run across a tidbit I'd like to share or comment thereon.

For example, The Genealogy News - Weekly Edition e-newsletter (31/Oct/2010) contained a link to the "Genealogy Tip of the Day" blog entry on "Deaths from Just Over Two Weeks Ago in the Social Security Death Index (Source: Genealogy Tip of the Day via RSS Feed, 27/Oct/2010)".

When I was at the combined Society of Georgia Archivists and the South Carolina Archival Association meeting on Oct. 28th and 29th, my highly esteemed Local History Librarian colleague for Richland County Public Library, Deborah Bloom, mentioned a hook she uses with her customers to get them interested in databases. She helps customers "Update Their Christmas Card List" by showing them how to use the Social Security Death Index.

A coincidence? A convergance of the cosmos? You tell me.

The Social Security Death Index is available several ways. You can find it in Ancestry Library Edition inside our branches; you can register for free at GenealogyBank to access it; or you can use Family Search among others.

Being naturally rather skeptical, I asked "Just how quick is the turn-around?" The answer was personal and quite startling. One of my younger-than-I-am first cousins, Joey Bell, died very unexpectedly on October 21st. I put his name into the SSDI on GenealogyBank.com and found that by November 1, 2010, he was listed.

Now, that's quick. I guess he gets crossed off my Christmas card list -- not that I am especially good at getting them into the mail in the first place. (I did quite well last year, though. Shall I go for good two years in consecutiveness? Stay tuned. I just may). RIP, Joey. You were a good cousin.

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.