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Kimberly Powell

Working on the Railroad

By November 30, 2013

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Do you have an ancestor who worked on the railroad? According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, over 1.2 million American railroad employees were covered by the Railroad Retirement system in 1939. In addition to those who worked as railroad engineers, signalmen, and ticket clerks, there were also the railroad workers who blasted and tunneled through miles of mountains, and hammered down thousands of miles of track.

Researching individuals associated with the railroads can often be difficult, especially for those who worked prior to the establishment of the Railroad Retirement Board in 1936. Railroad companies have merged and folded. Personnel records have rarely survived. Yet there is still a wealth of historical information available to help you better tell the story of your U.S. railroading ancestors, from accident reports to first-hand accounts.

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