6 Replies Latest reply on Mar 10, 2020 10:25 AM by Andrew Bernos Branched from an earlier discussion.

    Seeking records about the USPS

    Andrew Bernos Wayfarer

      What records are available here on History Hub in regards to the USPS? My 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers were lifetime USPS workers. Starting as Postal Carriers on horses up to eventual Postmasters.  I didn't realize USPS information was accessible.  Can you advise what I may be able to find out?  I guess I'd love to see if there are any pics but any information would help my genealogy research.  I do have death certificates.  I never really thought of using the USPS as a source of information but if it is available, I'd gladly use it! Thank you!

        • Re: Seeking records about the USPS
          J. Andrew Scout

          Roughly speaking, what time span are you interested in?  It might make a difference as to what records are available and relevant.

          • Re: Seeking records about the USPS
            Junemarie Brandt Newbie

            Try looking in this publication, although it is somewhat outdated. You may want to double check any contact addresses.

             

            https://about.usps.com/publications/pub119.pdf

             

            If they did indeed serve as Postmasters they may be in Postmaster Finder, searchable by name or city.  However, many offices (and Postmaster names)  have not been added yet or had all of the information researched.

             

            https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postmasterfinder/

             

            There will not be any pictures available.  The USPS (and prior to that the Post Office Department) did not take employee photos until the era of photo IDs and even those would not be available. While there may be photos out there from different offices who created composites showing employees or group photos, they are not in the USPS archives.

             

            If they served prior to 1911 they would be listed in the Official Register of the United States which was published every other year.  Post Office Department employees were not listed after 1911. Some editions are available online through hathitrust and other sources.

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            • Re: Seeking records about the USPS
              Jason Atkinson Pioneer

              Dear Mr. Bernos,

               

              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!

              The National Archives at St. Louis has custody of the Official Personnel Folders (OPFs) for those who worked for the U.S. government in a civilian capacity prior to 1952, to include Post Office Department employees.  OPFs for the Post Office Department generally begin in 1919, though for some locations there are earlier files available. Individuals may access these records by visiting the Archival Research Room in St. Louis, MO or by submitting a written request for copies of the records (for a copy fee) via postal mail to National Archives at St. Louis P.O. Box 38757, St. Louis, MO 63138. Please include the full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of employing Federal agency, beginning and ending dates of Federal Service. For more information about these records, see https://www.archives.gov/st-louis/civilian-personnel.


              After 1951, OPFs for former employees of the Post Office Department and as well as the United States Postal Service (USPS) are in the custody of NARA's National Personnel Records Center. Written requests may be mailed or faxed to National Personnel Records Center Annex, 1411 Boulder Boulevard, Valmeyer, IL 62295. The fax number is 618-935-3014. Please include full name used during Federal employment, date of birth, Social Security Number (if applicable), name and location of employing Federal agency, and beginning and ending dates of Federal service. Certain information in the OPF may not be available to the general public without the written consent of the individual. For more information, please check their web site at https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/civilian-non-archival.

               

              We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Records of Appointments of Postmasters, 1832 - 9/30/1971 in the Records of the Post Office Department (Record Group 28). These appointment records were reproduced on National Archives Microfilm Publication No. M841, which is described on NARA’s topic page Appointment of Postmasters, 1832 - September 30, 1971. M841 has been digitized by Ancestry and is available through their website as data collection U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971.  There may be a fee for using this service, or you may view these records online at one NARA’s facilities for free on any NARA PC.

              Record Group 28 also includes additional record series that may contain varying degrees of information about individual employees, although many of these series cover relatively narrow topics and time periods.  For example, we searched the National Archives Catalog in Record Group 28 for “carriers” with 73 results and for “Postmasters” with 531 results. The bulk of these Record Group 28 series are in the custody of the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1).  Please contact RDT1 via email at archives1reference@nara.gov for further assistance with narrowing down which series might contain the information you seek. Please be as specific as possible in your request including locations and dates where your ancestors served.

               

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

               

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                • Re: Seeking records about the USPS
                  Andrew Bernos Wayfarer

                  Thank you SO much for the information.  I misspoke.... after review of my info they didn't reach Postmaster but the title of Sr. Superintendent for one and the other finished out as a carrier (delivering mail via horse in NYC). I'm disappointed about the pics but I do appreciate the info!

                   

                  If you could just clarify for me:  One OPF would definitely be before 1952... he started in 1888 and retired around 1917.  This would fall under St. Louis. The second started around 1915, but I'm not sure when he retired.  It may well have been 1940 or after 1951 as he was a career USPS worker.  Do I use St. Louis or NARA? Thanks again for your time and response.

                • Re: Seeking records about the USPS
                  Jason Atkinson Pioneer

                  Dear Mr. Bernos,

                   

                  Thank you for posting your follow up request on History Hub!

                  During these time periods (1888-1917 & 1915-1940 or 1951), postal service was handled by the Post Office Department.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) was not created until the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970. The Official Personnel Files, 1/1919 - 12/1951 (OPFs) of Post Office Department in the Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission (Record Group 146) begins in 1919, however there are other series for some locations or positions prior to 1919.  Therefore, for someone who retired in 1917, NARA may or may not have an OPF for him. If there is an OPF for him, it would be in the custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL). If he retired too early for there to be an OPF for him, there may be other types of records mentioning him in the custody of the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1).  However, please note that the files RDT1 has relating to personnel are not a single comprehensive set of personnel files with information about all Post Office Department employees, but consist of diverse record series with varying degrees of information about very specific categories of employees such as Records Relating to Rural Mail Carriers, 1901 - 1920 and List of Regular and Substitute City Letter Carriers, 1/3/1910 - ca. 11/7/1910 in the Records of the Post Office Department (Record Group 28).

                  For the person who may have retired in the 1940s or 1950s, there should be an OPF documenting his service in the Post Office Department.  If he retired in 1951 or earlier, his record will be in the legal custody of the National Archives at St. Louis (RL-SL) as cited above and will be open to the public without restriction. If you wish to order copies of his OPF, there will be a fee.  If he retired in 1952 or later, the records will be in the legal custody of the United States Postal Service (USPS), the successor agency to the Post Office Department but the file will be in the physical custody of the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).  Access to these records is requested through the NPRC but access is governed by USPS rules.

                   

                  We suggest that you begin by requesting files of both persons from RL-SL, using the procedures outlined in our first response.  Please provide as much information as you can.  If there is any information you do not know, you may omit it, and if you do not know the precise years of service, please estimate them. The more information you provide, the easier it will be for staff of RL-SL to locate the correct file.  For the person that may have retired after 1951, if the RL-SL does not have it because he retired too recently for it to be in their custody, RL-SL will forward the request to NPRC. For the person that may have retired prior to 1919, if RL-SL informs you that they do not have a file, then you should contact RDT1 with as much information as you have about his service and the staff of RDT1 can recommend which, if any, record series in RDT1 custody that might contain the information you seek.


                  In regards to photographs, we searched the National Archives Catalog and located   Photographs, Original Artwork, and Photomechanical Reproductions of Post Office Activities, 1877 - ca. 1959  in Record Group 28 that includes photographs of some Post Office Department personnel.  Please note that this is not a comprehensive collection of photographs of all Post Office personnel. For more information, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) via email at stillpix@nara.gov.

                   

                  In addition, the United States Postal Service Historian and the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum have collections relating to postal history.


                  We hope this is helpful. 

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