The Social Security Death index is a master index file of deaths reported to the Social Security Administration. It has been kept since 1962, when operations were computerized. The index includes about 50 percent of deceased persons from 1962 to 1971 and about 85 percent of deceased persons from 1972 to 2005. It also includes a few deaths from 1937 to 1961.
Many legal instruments other than deeds appear in deed books. They include Bills of Sale, Prenuptial Agreements, Powers of Attorney, Contracts, Affidavits, Wills and Inventories and Voter and Jury Lists.
Digital copies, sometimes called "portable files", are copies of your original documents, family group sheets, notes, pedigree charts, etc.
When it comes to spelling variations, be creative. Often clerks and government officials were unable to correctly record the names given them by unschooled immigrants not familiar with languages used in their port of entry. The surname was written down as the official heard it and the immigrant accepted that as the official American rendering of his name.
The 1850 census was the first census to give the name, sex, color, age, occupation and birthplace of each free member of the household.