Retirement Plan Consultant
Cetera Retirement Plan Specialists
Blue Ridge ESOP Associates
(Charlottesville VA / Telecommute)
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|Question 635: I am trying to find information on a great uncle who was a conductor with the Southern Pacific line out of Alameda. He worked at the Oakland Pier. How do I get information on him? I am looking for his survivors.|
Answer: Searching for information about long deceased relatives with a railroad connection is often very difficult and time-consuming. The following information might be useful in planning the search.
Social Security numbers were not issued until late in 1936. Both Social Security and Railroad Retirement began collecting information on workers' earnings in 1937. Before that time, individual railroads were the primary sources for finding individual worker's records. Each railroad issued it own employee identification numbers.
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 approximate dates of his service.
If you believe that your relative worked for a railroad after 1936, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has records of all railroad service beginning in 1937. To contact the RRB, write to the following:
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.