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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Information About My Uncle's Rail Work

(Posted September 8, 2007)

Question 632: How can I find out anything on my great uncle, who worked as a railroad worker in Alabama in 1900?

Answer: Social Security numbers were not issued until late in 1936. Both Social Security and Railroad Retirement began collecting workers' earnings information in 1937. Before that time, individual railroads were the primary sources for finding individual worker's records. Each railroad issued it own I.D. numbers.

As you are aware, many of those early records have not survived. It is extremely difficult to find records of rail workers before 1924; You face a difficult challenge finding records more than one hundred years old. The first thing you need to establish is exactly where your great uncle worked and the dates of his service.

Local historical sources might help find the names of the railroads operating at that location. You will then need to trace the numerous mergers and consolidations in the rail industry to find the name and address of the current company. You can then write that company and ask about their employment records for your grandfather.

Good luck with your search!


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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