Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday's Website/Railroad Retirement Records


     The railroad played a huge part in my hometown of Manchester New York's history.  When the Lehigh Valley Railroad opened their freight transfer yard there in 1892 the population soared.  Everyone worked for, or knew someone who worked for, the railroad--engineers, firemen, gandy dancers and engine repairmen all found employment in this little village. The number of saloons also soared, but that's a story for another blog.

     Today's website is an index to the records of the Railroad Retirement Board.  Just click on the Collection tab and scroll down to the last listing.  The search results will give a birth and death or retirement date, so it's helpful to have that information. Many of my Irish immigrant ancestors and their children worked for the New York Central and Lehigh Valley railroads, and I've already found two of them in the index. 

    With the information generated by the search you can ask the National Archives to send you a copy of your subject's file.  The beauty of this is that requesting the documents directly from the RR Retirement Board would set you back $27-- the only charge from NARA is a copying fee of 80 cents per page.  There is even a handy link on the results page that leads to the NARA site.

     Many of our Irish immigrant ancestors and their descendants were employed by various railroads and since this is a national database you might just find them there.

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