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Chicago & North Western Historical Society
An Illinois not-for-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the legacy of the C&NW and its predecessor roads since 1973.
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Genealogy

The C&NWHS Archives holds an important collection of railroad employee data (#4) which is especially valuable to historians of the railroad and to family history researchers. The holdings include:

  • Social Security applications for all C&NW non management personnel employed between 1937 and 1970.
  • Card records of long term C&NW personnel who were able to retire under the railroad sponsored pension plan between 1909 and 1940.
  • Employment cards for large numbers of C&NW as well as “Omaha” personnel employed in Illinois and Wisconsin between 1935 and 1970.
  • Work record ledgers of C&NW and “Omaha” employees in Iowa and Dakota.
  • Detailed personnel records of “Omaha” Railroad employees in Wisconsin from 1890 through 1948.
  • Detailed personnel records of Wisconsin Division (Northwest Line) C&NW personnel employed from 1850 through 1960.
  • Lists of Station agents and telegraphers system wide from 1878 through the 1930’s.
  • Various sytem wide ledgers listing telegrapher, brakeman, and conductor work histories.
  • Annual Seniority lists of C&NW personnel system wide from 1920 through 1970.
  • Employment applications for M & St. L personnel from 1909 through 1928.
  • Limited amounts of data concerning C&NW management personnel.
  • Odds and ends of C&NW and related lines personnel data throughout the entire C&NW system from 1850 through 1970.

Unfortunately, the Society does not hold any significant amount of data for Chicago Great Western Railroad personnel. Much data for those employees can be found at the Hub City Heritage Museum, Box 300, Oelwein, Iowa 50662.

Since the collection is warehoused, only very limited access to the material is possible. Those wishing to obtain data on C&NW employees can make an e-mail (genealogy@cnwhs.org) or a postal mail (Craig Pfannkuche, 8612 Memory Trail, Wonder Lake, Illinois 60097) request. Stamped, self addressed reply envelopes are appreciated since the collection is maintained by Society dues and donations and is staffed by volunteers. Look ups are done “as time allows”. There is no charge for doing personnel look up work.

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