Searching for Railroad Employee Records
It's a question we often hear: "My father used to work for the MoP. How can I get information on him?"
The Missouri Pacific Historical Society does not keep historical records on employees. We do not have access to any information along these lines of old employee records.
We have no records, no employment forms, no paycheck records. All such records are today owned by the Union Pacific R.R. and are in storage at the Hutchinson, Kansas salt mines -- off limits to all but the lawyers. The Union Pacific declines to help with former MP employee genealogy requests.
It is very rarely that the Historical Society can be of any specific help on genealogical questions. Regarding information about former MP/T&P employees (genealogy requests), the MPHS like most other railroad historical societies does not have access to records of former employees. (As a rare exception to the rule, some Pennsylvania Railroad genealogical research is possible through some records available at Temple University Library - but not through the PRRT&HS).
The MPHS stands for many things and the employees who operated and managed the railroad from start to finish are always important to the MPHS. After all, without the collective work of these individuals the MPHS wouldn't exist. Discussion/stories about the employees of the MP and T&P railroads in The Eagle and the various MoPac Forums (see the Main Page for a list of these forums) is perfectly legitimate and encouraged!
Some Suggested Routes to Follow
We recommend contacting historical societies in the towns or area where you know the former employee you are interested in lived or worked. These groups possibly may have someone doing this type work that could better help your search.
The best bet is to contact the US Railroad Retirement Board. They have general information about employee records (after 1935), and their Help line can assist with questions about family histories and genealogy. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-808-0772, or browse the Railroad Retirement Board Web site. For a fee they will perform a search, however there are some conditions that apply. The web site for the RRB is: http://www.rrb.gov. Scroll down the home page and click on "Genealogical Inquiries" under the heading of Frequently Asked Questions. This will link to a page with much information on the process.
Another site that we might direct people with requests for former employee data is www.rootsweb.com. Look the site over, a new mailing list has been started for Kansas Railroads and the people who worked for them (mailing list is KS-RAILROADS).
An additional suggestion - go to www.ancestry.com. The main section will enable you to check on almost everyone who's had a Social Security card. You can then click on the Railroad Retirement section for deceased railroaders.
Another source of information is the U.S. National Archives. The web address is www.archives.gov . One document, in particular, will be of interest. It is Reference Information Paper 91, titled "Records Relating to North American Railroads." A PDF version of this document can be found at http://www.archives.gov/publications/ref-info-papers/rip91.pdf.
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