NOTE: We are voyaging again, so Friday’s Family History Finds is on hiatus for a short time.
Every so often, I am asked about locating railroad records. I have to admit I haven’t been successful at finding records relating to any one particular person (including my great grandfather, who worked as a conductor on a railroad in the early 1900s), but, as with other genealogical resources, more and more records are becoming easily accessible.
If you have an ancestor or more recent family member who worked for any of the U.S. railroads, here are some good resources to browse.
Ancestry Wiki – gives some basic information about railroad records
Cornell University – Guide to the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen Records, 1883-1969. Collection contains reports, pamphlets and correspondence. Also the Catherwood Library railroad related holdings.
FamilySearch – has an informational page with tips on finding railroad records
Genealogy Today – has a searchable collection of many railroad records, but a subscription is required to view them. Time span is mid 19th century to early 20th century.
Midwest Genealogy Center – 1.5 million national railroad pension record index searchable online
Minnesota Historical Society – maintains some records from the Burlington Northern, Northern Pacific, and Great Northern railroad companies. There is a detailed section on the society’s overall holdings.
Missouri Pacific Historical Society – no employee records, but lots of history
National Archives at Atlanta – Note that there were no railroad pensions before 1936. There is a fee to order copies of any records found. There is also an article in NARA’s journal, Prologue, on railroad history and the archives collection.
Pennsylvania and Historical Museum Commission – railroad employees
U.S. Department of Transportation – online database of Investigations of Railroad Accidents 1911-1993
U.S. Railroad Retirement Board – Note that there were no railroad pensions before 1936.
Virginia Tech – Manuscript Sources for Railroad History
Washington State Historical Society – has records for the Northern Pacific Beneficial Association hospital records, 1905-1930, with a finding aid.