Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S., Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Personnel Files, circa 1909–1960s. Personnel Dept. records. Northern Pacific Railway Company records. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.

About U.S., Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963

”I’ve been working on the railroad” was simply a statement of fact for millions of Americans during the hundred years covered by these records. This collection of personnel files from the Northern Pacific Railway Company in Minnesota includes company correspondence, job history, salary and promotion documents, leaves of absence, and more.

The files for each employee include multiple pages, with most including dozens of pages. Be sure to page through all of them to retrieve important personal details that can fill out your family stories. Some of the details you may find include the following:

  • dates of employment
  • birth date
  • physical description
  • leaves of absence (including layoffs and strikes)
  • job titles
  • salary, promotions, and raises/cuts in pay
  • correspondence handwritten by your ancestor
  • death date and information

Research Tips
Pay special attention to leaves of absence. Some farmers took railroad jobs during the winter and requested leaves of absence during the summers to work their family farms.

Each case has a file number that is browsable. Be sure to browse the entire file to capture all of the records in that file. Documents in the file are typically in reverse chronological order, with the most recent pages appearing first. Not all pages will be indexed.

Note: This database does not yet include the entire collection of personnel files. Currently, only the file numbers listed in the browse are included. The remaining files will be added to this database at a later date.