Most of the records I post here at stately Graham Ancestry can be found online, but sometimes we researchers can only obtain records an old fashioned way – by mail. I recently requested a copy of Blanche Graham’s Application for a Social Security Number, Form SS-5. Let’s take a closer look at it.

Blanche Watts’ Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Number, 1974.
(Click to view larger image.)

Block 1, Full Name You’ll Use in Work or Business: “Blanche B. Graham.” Her married name, of course.

Block 2, Full Name Given You at Birth: “Blanche Bamma Watts.” It seems like every time I encounter Blanche’s middle name, it’s slightly different. In the obituary for her son Jimmie Graham, it was spelled “Bami.” My own research compiled from family sources (i.e., Dad) had spelled it “Blamy.”

Blanche's full maiden name.
Blanche’s full maiden name.

Block 3, Place of Birth: “Watts, Sercy, Arkansas.” The name of Searcy County is misspelled here.

Block 4, Mother’s Full Name at Her Birth: “Adelie Kimborough.” This is a spelling variation – I have recorded “Cordelia Mae Kimbrell” as Blanche’s mother’s name, spelling sourced from census records.

Block 5, Father’s Full Name: “Marlie Watts.” A variation of William Marley Watts.

Blanche's parents' names.
Blocks 4 and 5, Blanche’s parents’ names.

Block 6, Your Date of Birth: 5 March 1915. Consistent with other sources.

Block 7, Your Present Age: “59.” Just to get very specific for a moment, 59 years, five months and eight days.

Block 8, Your Sex: “Female;” Block 9, Your Color or Race: “White;” Block 10: Have You Ever Before Applied…: “No.”

Block 11, Your Mailing Address: “15034 Maplewood, Harvey, ILL, 60426.” This was the final address in Harvey where Blanche resided before returning to Marshall, Arkansas in the late 1970s. Note the traditional three-letter abbreviation for Illinois.

Block 12, Today’s Date: 13 August 1974.

Block 13, Telephone Number. I’ve obscured the telephone number in the image because it may be in use today. It’s interesting to me that Blanche did not include the area code. In 1974, the area code for Harvey was 312. Presently, 312 is reserved for downtown Chicago and 708 is in use in Harvey.

Block 14, Blanche’s signature.

Blanche's signature.
Block 14, Blanche’s signature.

This card likely was filled out by Blanche herself. In genealogical terminology, this would be an original record created by a primary source. Therefore, this record has more relevance to Blanche than would a secondary source, like Jimmie’s obituary, or even Dad. So, I’m correcting the spelling of Grandma’s middle name in my tree!

Lastly, if you’d like to order a Form SS-5 for someone, you can do so at the Social Security Administration’s web site, Request for Deceased Individual’s Social Security Record.


Blanche B. Graham, 13 August 1974, Application for a Social Security Number (Form SS-5), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland.