Did you have a Grandpa that worked on the railroad? From about 1850 to the 1950's this was a very popular occupation for people living in Southeast Michigan. The service records and location of the railroad routes can be valuable resources when researching your ancestors. This resource is not one that is commonly consulted when looking for information on your ancestors.
When looking through a ancestors obituary or stories you may learn that one of your relatives had worked for the railroad. This information can be used to gather additional information on your ancestors work career. The following resources are excellent for completing your search.
1. Jackson, Elisabeth and Carolyn Curtis. Guide to the Burlington Archives in the Burlington Archives in the Newberry Library 1851-1901. Chicago: Newberry Library, 1940.
This book includes land office records and payroll records.
2. Kanely, Edna. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Employees, 1982.
3. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collection, Washington DC. Library of Congress 1962-1994.
This is a excellent record of where the records are stored at almost 1400+ repositories
4. Taber, Thomas T. Guide to Railroad Historical Resources. United States and Canada. 4 vols. Muncy, PA: TT Taber, 1993.
Another guide for location of historical materials. Lists addresses and all is listed by state.
The largest resource for locating your railroad workers is the United States Railroad Retirement Board which was established in the 1930's and house records up to pre 1937. You need to have the ancestors Social Security Number to complete the search. You will also need persons full name, railroad they worked for, time period of employment, birth date and death date. They can be contacted at www.rrb.gov/mep/genealogy.asp
Some other sources for online research are as follows-
1. www.cyndislist.com- Extensive resource for railroad links.
2. www.cprr.org/museum/links.html.com- Site for the Central Pacific Railroad
3. www.historical.com- Extensive railroad links
In the future I will be talking about other occupations and the genealogical records they may have.