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Railroad Records Research: Family History

Railroad Records Research: Family History

Personnel records for railroads not listed here can be found in the library catalog by browsing the subject headings Railroads -- Employees or by searching for "Railroads" and "Payroll records." 
 

Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.). Personnel Department. Index to Personnel Files.
Index to the personnel files of the Great Northern Railway Company. Although most of the files to which the index refers no longer exist, the index provides verification of an individual’s employment and other information, including name, employee number, occupation, location (city or division), and (for common names) social security numbers.
MNHS Call Number: See the finding aid in the library (M379​). 
 

Great Northern Railway Company (U.S.). Personnel Department Records, 1890s.
Selected personnel files (many are missing) created by Great Northern during the first decade of its corporate existence, which document the hiring and service of many of its earliest employees. The sequence includes file numbers 1-1532 and 1680-1927. The files typically contain application forms and letters, internal memoranda about the employee or prospect, performance data, and service records.Includes private information about individuals. Records with private information are closed for 75 years from date of last entry in the record. 
MNHS Call NumberDigital Finding Aid
 

Northern Pacific Railway Company. Personnel Department. Index to personnel files
Microfilmed card index to the personnel files of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. Each entry gives the individual’s surname, given name, employee number, and occupation.
MNHS Call number: See the finding aid in the library (M380). 
 

Northern Pacific Railway Company. Personnel Department Records, 1909-1960s.
Personnel files, indexes, and reference files from the Northern Pacific Personnel Department. A fairly complete run of personnel files (nos. 1-210,100) for Northern Pacific employees in all departments, as well as a microfilm index. Some files are missing, especially for earlier years. There is also a microfilm reference file containing biographical data on a number of employees, mostly executive and managerial.  Includes private information about individuals. Records with private information are closed for 75 years from date of last entry in the record.
MNHS Call NumberDigital Finding Aid
 

Northern Pacific Railway Company. Personnel Department. Personnel Reference File, 1860s-1960s.
This microfilm reproduces a ready-reference card file to selected personnel of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. Most, but not all, of the individuals represented in the file held administrative or supervisory positions. The cards record names, dates, and other information relating to appointments, promotions, and other administrative actions.
MNHS Call Number: See the finding aid in the library (M381). 
 

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad Company. Minneapolis Depot. Employee Rosters, 1936-1969
Manuscript rosters of baggage department employees (1936-1969) which include employee name, date and place of birth, hiring and termination dates, social security number, marital status, and number of children. Some entries contain additional information including transfers, leaves of absence, military service and selective service classification, personal injuries, and cause of death/termination. Due to the presence of Social Security numbers, access to the Employee Appointment Cards is restricted. Files must be reviewed and redacted before they can be used in the Reading Room. Please consult library staff for more information. 
Restricted: Some information in these files is restricted due to privacy concerns. Please consult library staff for more information.
MNHS Call Number: See the finding aid in the library (P1985). 

Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railway. Company Records, 1874-1984.
The collection consists largely of employee-related materials (personal record files, employment record books, wage schedules). It also includes files concerned with collective bargaining; financial and valuation records; legal files; information about the Cloquet Fire of 1918; some maps and posters; track profiles and engineering records; land records; minutes of directors and stockholders meetings; some executive correspondence (1912-1914, 1922); some photographs; and information about company-owned tugboats and ore docks.
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid
 

St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba Railway Company Corporate records, 1874-1961.
The corporate records include two volumes of the General Manager's records of agents, station men, and trainmen, 1882-1883.
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid
 

St. Paul & Pacific Railway Company. Corporate records, 1862-1962.
Includes personnel records (1873-1879) and payroll records (1869, 1871, 1876-1878).
MNHS Call Number: Personnel Records: 132.D.11.1B
MNHS Call Number: Payroll Records: 132.D.11.2F - 132.O.11.4F 
 

Twin City Rapid Transit Company. Corporate records, 1872-2001 (bulk 1890-1965).
Includes Appointment Record Books, 1914-1925; Seniority Record Books, 1923-1954 (men) and 1943-1954 (women); and Employee Appointment Cards, 1891-1990. Due to the presence of Social Security numbers, access to the Employee Appointment Cards is restricted. Files must be reviewed and redacted before they can be used in the Reading Room. Please consult library staff for more information.
MNHS Call Number: Digital Finding Aid

Resources Outside MNHS

U.S. Railroad Retirement Board

Genealogy Today magazine's list of Railroad Employee Records

Research Options

MNHS Reference Staff

reading room bookshelves

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