Monday, March 19, 2012

Where Did You Go, Joe?

Back in November when first released the U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, my great-grandfather's entry looked like this:
Not long after it was released, the database was pulled due to the fact that some living veterans had inadvertently been included (along with their social security numbers).

Earlier this year, re-released the database.  This is what my great-grandfather's entry looks like now:
Where did his name go??!  Everything else matches, including the all important social security number.

When reading about the collection in more detail, I found this:
"The majority of information in the index comes from the BIRLS (Beneficiary Identification Records Locater Subsystem) Death File; however, the veteran's name has been added by cross-referencing the Social Security Number in the BIRLS Death File with the Social Security Death Index."
My great-grandfather isn't in the Social Security Death Index.  Since there wasn't a name to cross-reference with the SSDI, it no longer appears in the database.

As interesting a quirk as it is, it isn't a big deal to me that his name is now missing.  Although, if I hadn't already known he was in the database, I probably would have given up looking for him fairly quickly.  I'm especially glad that I had his birth, death and social security number to search under since searching under his name was getting me nowhere.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of the websites or organizations mentioned in this post.  I am a paying subscriber to and that is the extent of my relationship with that company.  I received no remuneration or prompting to writing this post by any party.  All opinions expressed are my own and do not reflect those of any of the websites or organizations mentioned or linked to in this post.

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