3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 8, 2022 9:15 PM by William Wells

    Revenue Cutter Service personnel records

      Do US Revenue Cutter Service personnel records (Enlistment/discharge) records exist and do you hold them?
        • Re: Revenue Cutter Service personnel records
          Rebecca Collier Guide

          Dear Mr. Adrian,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          For U.S. Revenue Cutter Service personnel records prior to December 31, 1897, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC (RDT1) via email at archives1reference@nara.gov.


          The medical records and Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs) of the personnel of the U.S. Coast Guard (including the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service) who were separated from service after 1897 and prior to April 1999 are located at NARA's National Personnel Records Center, (Military Personnel Records), 1 Archives Drive, St. Louis, MO  63138-1002. A GSA Standard Form 180 should be used to request these records.


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

          • Re: Revenue Cutter Service personnel records
            Richard Samford Newbie

            You may find something useful at: https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/rediscover/us-coast-guard-revenue-cutter-logbooks  ??  "U.S. Coast Guard & Revenue Cutter Logbooks"


            Mostly Pacific/Arctic related.  Hope it helps!

            • Re: Revenue Cutter Service personnel records
              William Wells Wayfarer

              Although a bit late, there are no official records of "enlisted" men prior to say 1861.  Revenue Cutter "enlisted" men were hired the same as merchant mariners.  The came either from direct recruitment on the street and wharves or from a broker.   They signed on for one year and the only notations of those labor agreements are in the individual cutter logs.  Each captain logged the signing and discharge (for whatever reason or desertion).

              The rules later required the submission of monthly rosters to the Treasury Department.  The Treasury Department required these rosters to prevent "ghosting" of crews.  Meaning men being paid who did not exist  and the captain pocketed the pay.   This was common for the gallies of the Quasi-War.  Another reason was some captains hired more people than allowed on board. The authorized numbers of men were perpetually too low for the cutters.  This low number complaint from captains came with the first cutters launched in 1791.  However, the Treasury Department was only concerned with the bottom line and costs of cutter operation.   As with any business personnel were the greatest costs.

              The answer is yes and no. Some records exist but one must dig for them.  The Coast Guard has made no effort to digitize the early cutter logs.  In the past, I have had to personally copy the logs or hire someone to do it. In hiring it is best to lay out expectations about the digital files about file arranged and quality.   I have received some that looked as if the digital photographer was playing video games while making the copies. 

              Not all logs exist.  Check NARA's catalog for available cutters logs. Then check libraries and universities around the country for copies of other cutter logs.  For instance, the New York Public library has cutter logs in its collection - logs that do not exist in the National Archives or its regional depositories.