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I never considered getting grandpa’s
retirement pension record until recently since I knew him. I wrote to the Railroad Retirement Board and
sent them $27. as they requested. They
sent the check back to me along with the SSN and a Claim Number and said the
records were now at NARA in Atlanta. I decided
since grandpa was a lifelong IL resident, looks like the records would have
been at NARA in IL. I talked to a man at
NARA in Chicago who knew all about the railroad records and yes, they were sent
to Atlanta since they had a new building with space for the records which IL lacked.
What I learned was that The Railroad Retirement group was
beginning about the same time as Social Security, about 1935. After Social Security was passed, RRB (we’ll
call them Board, although I don’t know when they actually started using that
name) reserved the 700 block of SS numbers. If you see someone in the SSDI with a number beginning in the 700s you
know he was a railroad worker.
The RRB decided they would destroy records older than 30
years and started telling folks who inquired that records had been
destroyed. At some point they decided
they should keep these as historical records and stopped the destruction. So if you have been told that your relative’s
record was destroyed, maybe it wasn’t. A
full record will cost $75. or a shortened version $25. (I know from ordering a full
Civil War record that some legal size pages contained only a couple of handwritten
Grandpa died in 1964 after working for the IL Central
from 1916-1958, and grandma continued benefits another 10 years until she died
in 1974. Martin at NARA in IL told me
that grandpa’s records from 1964 might have been destroyed if it had not been
for grandma getting a pension until 1974.
I called Atlanta NARA and a nice man, Roger, told me it
would be best to e-mail them the information. They want:
Your name, address, phone number
Railroad worker’s name, birth and death dates, SSN.
National Archives at Atlanta
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260
Email: atlanta.archives(a)nara.gov Subject: Railroad Pension Records
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Public Service Hours*: Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30-5:00, excluding federal
*beginning October 1, 2012, we will be open for public research Monday-Friday
and the 3rd Saturday of the month, 8:30-5:00.
I just emailed my info this week and got an
acknowledgment saying they would respond within ten days.