Family History and Genealogy Services

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Genealogy Resources


Railroad Records

  • By Bob Kitchen. A website dedicated not only to bringing awareness about our country’s railroad history, both past and present, but also as a resource tool describing and educating about American railroading in general.

  • Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum. The railroad was organized in 1861 by a group of Sacramento merchants. This site features photographs of the era of the Central Pacific, including many construction photos, engines, workers, Chinese, bridges, tunnels, etc.

  • Cram's Standard American Railway System Atlas of the World. Chicago: George F. Cram, 1891.

  • The Erie Railroad, Linking Chicago and Jersey City-New York  This page presents information of use to individuals researching ancestors/relations who worked for the Erie Railroad. The primary data source is the company's "Erie" magazine. The time period covered here is mainly Erie - from the early days (circa 1851) through the first two years of the Erie-Lackawanna merger transition.
  • Frey, Robert L., editor. Railroads in the Nineteenth Century. New York: Facts on File, 1988. This is part of a series: Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography. It presents multi-page histories of major railroads and railroad officials with source citations and the location of archival records.

  • GenDisasters -- Train Wrecks. Links to articles and casualty lists for train wrecks, rail-related accidents across the United States.

  • Hansen, Holly T. The Directory of North American Railroads, Associations, Societies, Archives, Museums, and Their Collections. Croydon, Utah: HT Holly Research Services, 1999.

  • Jackson, Elisabeth Coleman and Carolyn Curtis, compilers. Guide to the Burlington Archives in the Newberry Library 1851-1901. Chicago: Newberry Library, 1940. The collection includes land office records and late 19th century payroll records.
  • Kanely, Edna Agatha. Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Employees, 1842 and 1852, 1855 and 1857. Baltimore, Maryland: E.A. Kanely, 1982.

  • Links to Related Railroad, Photographic & History Websites. Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.

  • Mike's Railway History: A Look at Railways in 1935 and Before. This British site will help you find facts and stories about railways, trains, locomotives and the railway engineers, who built and ran them.
  • Norris, David A. The History Of Railroads: From The Publishers Of History Magazine. History Magazine, 2013.

  • Overland Trail. The American West was vital to many of our families. This is a great site for background information and links on the West as well as the many trails and byways that existed for our ancestors.
  • Pan American Airlines. History of Pan American World Airways.

  • Pfeiffer, David. Records Relating to North American Railroads. Reference Information Paper 91. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2001. Railroad Records description.
  • Pling-Kempes, Lesley. The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West. New York: Paragon House, 1989.

  • Pullman Porters. The A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum is a 501(c)3 institution. Our mission is to promote, honor and celebrate the legacy of A. Philip Randolph and contributions made by African-Americans to America's labor history. At our facility this celebration begins with the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, as we educate the public about their legacy and contributions. The museum exists for the purpose of providing educational, and cultural enrichment for all of mankind. All activities, past, present and future, are for the purpose of objectives that are inexorably intertwined - the study, preservation, interpretation, and enjoyment of African-American history and culture. The permanent collection displays exhibits which are pertinent to the study of the Pullman Historic District, the Great Migration, American Labor History, A. Philip Randolph, the Pullman Porters, and the American Civil Rights Movement.

  • Railroad Historical.

  • Railroad History Archive -- Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut. The Railroad History Collections in Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries, are comprised of individual collections of administrative records, photographs, maps, timetables, ephemera and many other types of archival materials. The collections focus almost exclusively on the history of the railroads of southern New England, particularly the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. This railroad, better known as the New Haven Railroad, controlled most of the rail lines in the region from 1872, through the merger of the Hartford and New Haven Railroad and the New York and New Haven Railroad, to 1969, when it was absorbed into Penn Central after a series of bankruptcies.
  • Railroad Job Descriptions: Past and Present.
  • Railroad Maps 1828-1900. Library of Congress.

  • Railroad Records, Holly Hansen. Good introduction to railroad-related records.
  • Railroad Retirement Board and Genealogical Information
  • References to Railroad Names. This is a nearly complete list of the sources that have provided names of railroads, railways, and any other companies that seem to have been related to railroading in some manner.

  • Riding the Rails Up Paper Mountain: Researching Railroad Records in the National Archives By David A. Pfeiffer.. From Prologue Magazine 29, 1 (Spring 1997).
  • Stuart-Warren, Paula. "Tracking Railroad Records and Railroad History. NGS NewsMagazine (April/May/June 2006): 21-25.
  • Taber, Thomas T. Guide to Railroad Historical Resources: United States and Canada. 4 volumes. Muncy, Pennsylvania: T.T. Taber, 1993. Locations of railroad historical materials with addresses, listings of railroad periodicals, railroads are listed by name, state, or province.

  • United States Railroad Retirement Board. Effective October 1, 2010, many requests for genealogical information concerning railroad workers will be handled by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) rather than the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). However, some requests will continue to be handled by the RRB. Genealogists and family historians should still initially contact the RRB with their requests. We will determine whether the RRB or NARA has the information requested.
  • U.S. Railroad Retirement Board and Genealogical Information after 1936

Maritime Records

  • Chappelle, Howard Irving. The History of American Sailing Ships. New York: Bonanza Books, 1955.

  • A Chronology of Great Lakes Navigation. Center for U.P. Studies, Northern Michigan University. 
  • Goldenberg, Joseph A. Shipbuilding in Colonial America. Charlottesville, Virginia: University press of Virginia, 1976.

  • Great Lakes History by Dave Swayze. Includes "the most complete and accurate list of losses of Great Lakes commercial vessels in existence." The database has excellent information and includes research sources.

  • Great Lakes Maritime Database. This Great Lakes Maritime Database was initially funded by the Library of Michigan in 2005 with a collaborative grant by Alpena County Library and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It contains the 19th century C. Patrick Labadie collection as well as an ever growing collection of 20th century data and pictures.

  • Historical Collections of the Great Lakes. Bowling Green State University. Manuscripts, maps and charts, books, pamphlets and periodicals and, photographs are all part of their collection, as well as three Great Lakes Databases.
  • Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
  • Immigration & Ships Passenger Lists Research Guide
  • Klein, Herbert S. The Atlantic Slave Trade. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

  • Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston [Ontario, Canada]. Research Resources. The holdings are extensive with well in excess of 3,000 artifacts, 11,000 bibliographic titles, 40,000 ships plans, and 3,000 boxes of archival material. In addition there are over 15,000 photographs, nautical charts, paintings and drawings.

  • Marine Historical Collection -- University of Detroit Mercy Fr. Edward J. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection. The collection is searchable by keyword, ship name, owner, builder, hull number, or registry number. Various links can also be browsed.

  • Maritime History of the Great Lakes. This site is an ongoing experiment in the design of a "digital library", a collection of documents intended to be of value to those researching Great Lakes History.
  • Maritime Museums.

  • Maritime Records. National Archives. Research guides to Maritime Records from the United States are outlined here.
  • Rediker, Marcus. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700-1750. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  • Shepherd, James F. and Samuel H. Williamson. "The Coastal Trade of the British North American Colonies, 1768-1772." Journal of Economic History 32 (December 1972): 783-810.

  • The Ships Lists