Carol Combes is the official historian for the village of East Quogue, Long Island. She cares for headstones and writes local obituaries.
“I’m on the computer and am in the Social Security death index, and I’m scanning down and all of the sudden, whoa!” she said. “There’s my name, Carol Combes, where I was born, when I died.”
The story is reminiscent of the Mark Twain quote, "rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated."
Ancestry Web sites even publicly listed her presumably ‘dearly departed’ Social Security number – that was still active.
“Every account I had was frozen, no matter where it was at,” she said. “I was left with just pocket change.”
Since then she and her husband Rich have collected hundreds of documents, made endless trips to social security officers, and spent hours on the phone with government workers who finally solved the riddle.
They traced the error to a clerk in Alabama typing in the wrong nine digit number.
A clerk in Alabama, or anywhere, could just as easily miss-type a SS# and show anyone dead - you, me or a neighbor down the street.