The California State Railroad Museum Library has several types of documents which may provide biographical information about railroad employees and officials. Biographical directories tend to document high-level management. Other railroad-issued publications, such as corporate directories or employee magazines cover a wider range of individuals. Listed below are selected sources which may include personal information. All are available for review in the reading room. If you are unable to schedule a visit to Sacramento, contact the Library. Library staff will search for a single specific name in the sources noted with an asterisk. Some restrictions may apply. For the remaining sources, your personal review is requested.
- Pocket List of Railroad Officials* Published quarterly since 1895. Arranged by corporate name with a personal name index. Lists only upper-level management with job title.
- Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials in Amercia* Published: 1885, 1887, , 1896, , 1906, 1913, 1922. Biographical entries for upper-level management. CSRM does not have the years enclosed in brackets.
- Who's Who in Railroading in North America* Published: 1930, 1940, 1946, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, . Biographical entries for upper-level management. CSRM does not have the years enclosed in brackets.
- Who's Who in Railroading and Rail Transit* Published: 1971, 1977, 1983, 1985. Biographical entries for upper-level management.
Many railroads published magazines which included information about employees. The CSRM Library has extensive runs of titles issued by Western railroads and selected issues for other North American lines. CSRM Library staff can advise you of the appropriate title for your search and our holdings. Library staff cannot search magazines for individual names.
Seniority Lists/Corporate Directories
Railroads and railroad unions compiled lists of employees for labor or record-keeping purposes. In nearly all cases the information is limited to employee name, date of hire and job title. Occasionally there will be notations for promotions or location of employment. The Library does not have this type of document for every railroad. These documents are available for review in the Reading Room.
The California State Railroad Museum Library has several archival collections which contain employee information. These documents cover specific railroads, for specific occupations, during specific time periods. The Library does not have complete employee records for any railroad. Some materials are held offsite. Call in advance for an appointment to use manuscript sources.
Several of the large employee files are described below. Library staff will search for a single specific name in collections marked with an asterisk.
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway* Coast Lines employees, Arizona and California, circa 1900-1950. Single sheet personnel records arranged in alphabetical order by surname. Incomplete file for surnames beginning with the letters A, B, C, I, J, K, L, M, R, S, W, Y. These records have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Yardmen and office workers, Los Angeles Division, 1915-1925. One bound volume. This is an incomplete file and contains ONLY surnames beginning with the letters Tak – Zim. Advance appointment required for use. These records have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
- Central Pacific/Southern Pacific Railroads Corporate financial vouchers. Central Pacific, 1861-1889; Southern Pacific, 1879-circa 1910. Approximately 70,000 vouchers arranged by year and then by voucher number. Some vouchers contain payroll information. There is no index. Advance appointment required for review. One year of vouchers will be brought to the reading room each visit.
- Pacific Fruit Express Company* Employee record cards, Roseville shops, circa 1920s-1970s. Includes laborers, carpenters, carmen.
- Southern Pacific Railroad* Employee record cards, Sacramento General Shops, circa 1900-1930. Approximately 50,000 cards arranged in alphabetical order by surname. Information may include birth date, occupation, address, previous SP employment and wages. The file is incomplete for surnames beginning with the letters H through K, and T through Z. These records have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
Trainmen and yardmen, Southern California area, circa 1890s-1910s (with some annotations into the 1940s). One bound volume. Not in alphabetical order. Advance appointment required for use. These records have been microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
Researchers may also wish to contact the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board at: U.S. Railroad Board Genealogy Research.