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.
Golden Spike Monument, Utah
Linking the Railroad Coast to Coast
Source: Public Domain
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
Boston & Maine Railroad Employee Rosters – records vary but the time span is 1908-1944.
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
The Frisco Papers – Fred Veregge’s website about the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway
The Great Search-Finding Railroad Employment Records – another RootsWeb hosted page with many links.
U.S. Department of Transportation – online database of Investigations of Railroad Accidents 1911-1993
Virginia Tech – Manuscript Sources for Railroad History