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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course US: Occupational Records  by Beverly Rice, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Occupational Records - Finding Aids And Resources - A Basic Overview

Federal Employee

The term Federal Employee is vast. The researcher must first determine time, place and agency before moving ahead. Since the individual worked directly for the Federal Government the records of the National Archives will be the prominent resource.

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), the central repository of personnel-related records, both military and civil service is located in St Louis, Missouri. NPRC is a branch of the National Archives and Records Administration.

To best understand the workings of this operation review their Internet site. This site will explain the holdings and how to access the material. There are some restrictions that may apply. The “Freedom of Information Act” might have to be used to obtain access.

The bulk of records of the NPRC are after 1900. Before that time period the appropriate Record Group in the National Archives will need to be searched for information related to employee records. This would include both civilian and military records.

The National Archives has created a “Research Topics” page, that will assist the researcher gaining access to the records.

Many of these records are not microfilmed and an onsite search will be necessary. NARA can perform the search for a fee or you can hire a professional genealogist to search the records.

If you are searching for post masters, especially for a post office or town that is no longer on the map, then the book such as the List of Post Offices of the United States arranged alphabetically and giving the Salaries of the Postmasters will assist the researcher. The two Making of America Internet sites have several years available on their sites.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Occupational Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.