'My demise is greatly exaggerated'
'My demise is greatly exaggerated'
Name: Bernard Kouchel
Declared dead: Feb. 1962
Age: 84

I am a genealogist who has been researching my family history for nearly 25 years. One day in 2005, while searching my surname on Ancestry.com, I found a "Florida Death Index" which read:

"Bernard Kouchel, Feb. 1962, Dade County, Florida, Gender F."

My name is unique, and I did reside in Dade County in 1962. It was me alright. However, I am not female, and the report of my demise is greatly exaggerated. I later deduced that the death record was for an unnamed infant we had that died in Feb. 1962, hours after her birth.

Efforts to have the Florida record corrected have been fruitless. Those who view it will likely incorporate bad information into their own family records.

I think it's a state issue -- the Social Security Administration probably has it correct. It hasn't affected me financially yet, but it's got potential if I were ever to apply for another mortgage or a loan since the loans I took out were before my premature demise. Since I'm a genealogist, I'm mainly worried about its affects on future genealogical endeavors.


Last updated August 24 2011: 2:27 PM ET

When the Social Security Administration erroneously declares you dead, it can be a financial -- and psychological -- nightmare to revive yourself.

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