In my ongoing research of personal genealogy and family history, I can honestly say that no single record set had been more valuable to me than the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) database that was freely available on the RootsWeb website. I attributed no less than 193 individual citations to this database, just in my own family tree.
While conducting such research during this winter break, I was shocked to see this message appear on RootsWeb:
Due to sensitivities around the information in this database, the Social Security Death Index collection is not available.
I was further shocked to learn that this database take down was initiated by the United States Senate. I cannot avoid decrying censorship. The SSDI has become a national treasure of historical information, and to even propose blocking its public use is a violation of our guaranteed freedoms.
This is for a class where I will demonstrate how to start a family tree and begin researching the names of ancestors and relatives. My main points include how to use free, general-purpose genealogy databases, and how to balance the focus and relevance of different resources.
Many exciting things happened here recently. Last Thursday I volunteered to help staff the airport while the Nascar drivers flew in for their race. Friday I did my first solo flight at JCC. Saturday I got a perfect score on the aviation test. I spent Sunday reading the Aeronautical Information Manual. Monday I performed a rejected takeoff that I was particularly proud of. Tuesday I basically had a class from 4pm to 11pm. But right before that I was congratulated on being admitted to EMU for the fall term, so it was all smiles. 🙂