Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Ancestry Database (Social Security Applications and Claims Index)

I've been checking out the new U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 at Not every possible name is going to be found in this relatively new database (not by a long shot), but for those which are there, it is possible to find some new information or confirm theories.

In this database, I found Adele (Reisner) Levitt, a granddaughter of Max Levitt, my husband's great-grandfather who changed his name from Levitas to Levitt because he thought Levitas sounded too fancy. I have found no record of him or his descendants using the surname Levitas in America. (However, Max's brother Emanual still used the surname Levitas.)

Well, according to this database, in Adele's Social Security application, she listed her parents as Jacob Reisner and Rebecca Levitas. I have never seen Rebecca's last name referred to as Levitas - only Levitt. Although Max (Rebecca's father and Adele's grandfather) had been using Levitt since at least 1903, when he became a naturalized citizen, it appears that the family still recognized that the name used before immigration was Levitas (or Lewites). U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.

I already knew her birth date, and it looks like she was born in Brooklyn, New York. I also already knew her death date. (She died in Massachusetts.) After looking at many of these records over the past few days (I now have 74 source citations in my database and I've already reviewed at least a couple hundred names), I believe that the notes also hold a story: I think that Adele originally applied for a social security number in January 1961 under her full name and applied for benefits on April 12, 1996, at which time wasn't using her maiden name as her middle name.

Although you can find this record and its associated social security number with your subscription, I have blocked it out on the suggestion of The Legal Genealogist.


  1. Thanks for letting us know this information is out there.

    1. You're welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting!