2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2021 11:08 AM by William Murden

    Seeking Army Corp of Engineers Civilian Records

    William Murden Newbie

      I am seeking records for my great-grandfather Robert Pierre Murden, a civilian engineer employed by the Army Corp of Engineers from 1898-1932. He was hired to work on the Long Island coastal fortifications in 1898 at the start of the Spanish-American War and worked at Fort Tilden. He was also the engineer in charge of the harbor in San Juan, Puerto Rico from 1922 until 1932, at which time he retired as a civilian and received a civil service pension. While I understand that I can request his Official Personnel Folder (OPF) from the National Archives at St. Louis when they return to normal business, are there other information sources? I have already checked Ancestry.com, Fold3, and Familysearch. Thank you.

        • Re: Seeking Army Corp of Engineers Civilian Records
          Rachael Salyer Navigator

          Dear Mr. Murden,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          You may be able to find information about the projects that your great-grandfather worked on in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers (Record Group 77). We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 8 file units and 3 series of records related to Fort Tilden in the early 20th century, for example. We also located multiple records related to Long Island in the late 19th and early 20th century and many records related to Puerto Rico in the 1920s and 1930s. These records consist primarily of administrative papers, reports, correspondence, and similar documents, and it is unlikely that they contain personal information about individuals who worked on specific projects, but they may provide some contextual information for the work your great-grandfather did. Some of these records have been digitized and may be viewed online in the Catalog, but most of the records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives reference unit listed in each Catalog description for further assistance with those particular records.


          In addition, you may wish to explore the National Archives website titled Resources for Genealogists and Family Historians, including Census Records, to learn more about your great-grandfather.


          As you mentioned in your inquiry, your great-grandfather’s Official Personnel File (OPF) also may provide some helpful information. OPFs and medical information for individuals who worked for the U.S. government in a civilian capacity before 1952 are in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). Please email RL-SL via email at stl.archives@nara.gov and  include the full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of the employing Federal agency, beginning and ending dates of Federal Service. For more information, please check the Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings and Access website.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RL-SL or other NARA reference units. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!

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