Employment Records

If your ancestor worked for a company, there may be a record out there that could help you in your family history research. Those of us who have generations of farming ancestors or otherwise self-employed family members have to rely on whatever materials our relatives left behind–and those are often minimal. However, if your ancestor worked for a large employer, it’s possible records are sitting around somewhere.

Employment records for your ancestor can provide significant information on your relative, perhaps brief biographical data, citizenship status, address, etc. The difficulties with these records are that they were not always retained long term by the company, may have been destroyed when the company closed (was sold, went bankrupt, etc.), and are not public records. If you find them, you may be surprised at the amount of detailed information they contain. Some places to start looking and asking about the availability of these records include:

  • local historical or genealogical societies,
  • local libraries,
  • regional libraries,
  • the company itself (do they have an archives?).

Google searches for “myancestorsemployer business records,” “myancestorsemployer company records,” etc. may also be helpful.

Keep in mind that a company’s employment records are not public records and that access to these materials may be limited or not allowed at all.

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