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The following is excerpted from the US National Archives Tumblr blog and may be of some help:
Did your ancestors work on the construction of the Panama Canal? The records of these workers are a rich resource for genealogists.
All personnel records for the Panama Canal are a part of RG 185 Records of the Panama Canal, and are located at the National Archives at St. Louis.
The records may provide a lot of genealogical information such as the age, place of birth, parent’s names, occupation, and whether the employee was single or married.
Thanks for the reply.
Since the Canal was constructed in the mid 1910s, is it likely that employment records of the early 1930s would be found there? Was construction continuous after the canal was open, creating a longer time frame than I am thinking?
Donald was part of the Commissary from mid-1930 to 1932, at which time he went out on his own and supplied (probably) the government and others for a couple of years before returning to the USA permanently.
There are also several blog posts covering research in the Panama Canal Personnel Records,which have been compiled in the "Rediscovering Black History" blog:
- “How to use Panama Canal Personnel Records at the National Archives: My Grandfather worked on the Panama Canal” by Patrice Brown
- “Panama Canal Employees: Service Record Cards (Part 1)” by Patrice Brown
- “Panama Canal Employees: Service Record Cards (Part 2)” by Patrice Brown
- “A Callin’ from Colón: Photographs of Black Employees Working on the Panama Canal” by Barbara Lewis Burger
- “In Celebration of 100 Years of the Panama Canal: West Indian Canal Employee Records” by Patrice Brown
- “Accidents, Injuries and Deaths in the Canal Zone, 1884–1999” by Patrice Brown
- “All We Demand is Justice: Caribbean Union Leaders on the Canal Zone” by Sonia A. Prescott
Thanks! Several of these look very interesting and germane. Jill