Civilian Federal Employees
Since the Federal government was organized in 1789, individuals have served the United States as employees of the Executive and Judicial branches, including Federal departments, agencies, and bureaus, as well as the Supreme Court and Federal district and circuit courts, and also as elected members of the Legislative branch (Congress). Occupations ranged from the heads of departments and agencies to entry-level caretakers, clerks, mechanics, and other types of manual labor. Until the 20th century, the Federal government kept information about appointments and personnel with the general headquarters records of the respective Executive departments. Other information about employees was often dispersed through correspondence files of the agencies for which they worked. After the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) was established in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1966, the administrative and physical control of all former Federal personnel records, both civilian and military, became centralized.
Federal Employee Reference Reports describe research strategies for some of the most common topics and records relating to Federal employment, including appointments to the State Department, Interior Department, Post Office Department, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and various maritime agencies including the Revenue Cutter Service, Life-Saving Service, and Lighthouse Service; presidential nominations to the U.S. Senate; and the publication of Federal employees in the Official Register of the United States.
Click on the title to view a PDF version of the reference report.
- Using the Official Register of the United States to Research Federal Employees, 1816-1959
- Civilian Personnel Records at the National Personnel Records Center: Official Personnel Folders and Medical Folders
- Civilian Personnel Records at the National Archives at St. Louis: Official Personnel Folders and Service Record Cards
- The Lighthouse Service in The American State Papers, 1793-1820
- Lighthouse Service Employees, 1801-1912
- The Annual Reports of the Lighthouse Board, 1852-1935
- Life-Saving Service Employees, 1855-1913
- The Annual Reports of the Life-Saving Service, 1871-1913
- Revenue Cutter Service Employees, 1790-1915
Department of State
- State Department and Foreign Service Employees: Personnel Lists and Official Personnel Files (OPFs), 1778-1990
- State Department and Foreign Service Personnel: Appointment Records, 1797-1968
- Employees of the Department of State in the Official Register of the United States, 1817-1925
- Early Presidential Nominations in the U.S. Senate, 1797-1811
- Presidential Nominations for Federal Employment: Researching the Records of the U.S. Senate
- Employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Official Register of the United States, 1817-1925
- Indian Agents and Superintendents, 1849-1907
- Interior Department Employees: Records of the Appointments Division, 1849-1907
- The Official Register of the United States, 1816–1959, an article in Prologue.
- Agricultural Extension Service Annual Reports, 1909-1968, and Related Records
- How the 1930 Census Enumerators Were Appointed, a memorandum.
- Foreign Service Officers, 1869-1887, an article in Prologue.
- Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Archival Holdings & Access, ca. 1850-1951
- Official Personnel Folders (OPF), Federal (non-archival) Holdings and Access, 1952 and later
- The Official Register of the United States for 1829, 1835-1837, 1841-1861; 1879-1891, 1895-1907, 1911-1921, 1925-1926, 1929-1934, and 1936-1959, are available from the Government Printing Office's Federal Digital System to download and search, and many years are available at Internet Archive.
- Electronic Records Relating to Federal Civilian Employees