Resource of the Month: Old-Age Assistance Tax Records

The topic of the Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society’s February program was Social Security Records. The speaker went into some detail about the information that is available on the actual application for Social Security. However the Social Security Act wasn’t passed until April 1935 and the first SS-5 forms were not filled out until November 1936. So what options exist for researchers prior to that?

 Well, some states had enacted their own assistance programs.  The state of Iowa’s mandatory old-age assistance program began in 1934. Old-Age Assistance Head Tax file cards and Old-Age Pension Dockets have been microfilmed for Scott County and are available for use in the Richardson-Sloane Special Collections Center. Genealogical gems that can be found include tidbits like the mother’s maiden name, a notation about where someone moved or when they died.

Other available pension resources are the Widows’ Pension Record Books which span 1915-1932 and the Mothers & Widows Pensions Files. Both are court records that document names and birthdates of children in families in need, often because of a father’s death. Sometimes details regarding how a woman earned the little income she could, how much rent she was responsible for, etc. are in these files.

Ask any Special Collections volunteer or staff member to help you explore these records the next time you are in!

(posted by Karen)

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