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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Genealogical Quests

(Posted May 8, 2003)

Question 252: My great-grandfather was a locomotive engineer for 46 years for the old New York Central Railroad. He worked from 1877 to 1923 when he retired; he received a pension from the NYC Railroad. I'm doing a family history, so I would appreciate any information I can find about him and the NYC Railroad.

Answer: Your late great-grandfather's NYC service is remarkable! He retired 11 years before the Railroad Retirement began so the RRB would likely not have any information about him. You could try the Norfolk Southern or the CSX, the two current railroads that have absorbed the former NYC lines (through the Penn-Central and then through Conrail).

You'll want to have have your grandfather's full name, the locations(divisions) in which he worked, the names of foremen and other coworkers, and any badge number or other unique railroad ID. Remember, this was before Social Security Numbers were issued, so each company had a unique way of tracking its workers.

Most of the railroad payroll records before 1924 were destroyed years ago, but one of the railroads might find personnel records. Good luck!

Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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