Friday, July 10, 2009

De Luca Family: Social Security Application (SS-5)

I seem to have abandoned my DeLuca family posts for quite awhile. I was waiting on some items to come in the mail. They did finally arrive towards the end of May, but I am only now getting around to posting about them.

This post is about Clementina (Trillo) DeLuca's application for a social security number. If a death record is unavailable, or fails to list the parents' names, as in the case of Clementina, then an application for a social security number is a great alternative to finding out parents' names. It is also a source for birth date and birth place, though a secondary source at best, unless it was filled out very close to the time of the person's birth, as is the case nowadays. The Social Security Act was not signed into law until 1935, so some earlier applications, like Clementina's, were not filled out until the applicant had reached adulthood.

SSN: 367-26-8931
Name: Clara Matilda De Luca
Present mailing address: 129 S. Monroe, Coldwater, Mich.
Name given at birth: Clara Matilda Trillo
Age: 54
Date of birth: 6 Feb 1890
Place of birth: Arpeano, Italy
Father: Vincenzo Trillo
Mother: Effie Mazerola
Sex: Female
Race: White
Name and address of employer: L.A. Darling Co., 306 S. Clay, Coldwater, Mich.
Date: 3 Nov 1944

Interestingly, this application gives a totally different birthday than is listed in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). Her birthday in the SSDI and on her death record is given as 9 Jan 1886, which seems to agree with census records. We learn that she was born in Arpino, Italy and that her parents were Vincenzo Trillo and Effie Mazerola. We also see that she had moved to Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan, by the time of her application in Nov 1944. She worked for the L.A. Darling Company, which is probably what required her to file an application for a social security number. The L.A. Darling Company was founded as the Ideal Fixture Company in in 1897 in Coldwater. It's named changed when Lewis Archer Darling bought the Company in the early twentieth century. The headquarters are now in Arkansas. It manufactures wood and metal store fixtures and point-of-purchase displays for the retail store industry. I know from Clementina's son-in-law's obituary that he also worked there, and I know from city directories that Clementina's son, Peter Jr., lived in Coldwater in the early 1940s.

Some of you non-genealogists may be wondering why I've posted social security information on a public blog. Don't worry. Social security numbers for deceased individuals are public knowledge. They are kept track of in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), which many online genealogy sites offer free access to. In fact, you can see how the SSDI actually helps to prevent identity theft here.

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