Saturday, October 13, 2007

Obtaining Civilian Federal Personnel Records

Many families had persons employed by the Federal government in an agency, and the government has personnel records of that employment.

To see what records might be available, and the process needed to obtain them, you can visit the web site of the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Missouri at

To obtain an Official Personnel Folder (OPF), the directions are:

"The NPRC, CPR stores official personnel folders (OPFs) of former civilian employees from most Federal agencies world-wide. The records date from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. OPFs are retired to the center within 120 days after separation from Federal employment.


"If the subject of the file is LIVING, the NPRC, CPR will provide copies of documents or information only to:

* the subject of the file.
* someone with written authorization from the subject of the file.

"If you are not the subject of the file and do not have authorization from the subject of the file, only certain data may be obtained: position titles and occupational series, grades, annual salary rates, duty stations, and position descriptions for the present and the past.

"If the subject of the file is DECEASED, copies of some documents and some information about the deceased may be releasable to someone who submits a request.

"If you are looking for your own records, and less than 120 days have elapsed since your separation from Federal employment, write to the last Federal office that employed you for your records.

"To request information from an OPF, follow the steps below.

"STEP 1 - Provide written authorization.

"* If you are the subject of the file, send a signed letter indicating that you are requesting information from your own file.
* If you are not the subject of the file and the subject is living, send a letter signed by the subject indicating that he/she authorizes the NPRC, CPR to release information to you.
* If the subject of the file is deceased send proof of the subject's death. Proof of death is not required if the subject of record was born more than 100 years ago.
"STEP 2 - Provide information needed so that the NPRC, CPR can identify the file. Lack of the following information may result in our inability to identify a record and you may receive NA Form 13022, Returned Request Form.

"* Full name used during Federal employment
* Date of birth
* Social Security number, if applicable
* Name of employing Federal agency
* Beginning date of Federal service
* Ending date of Federal service

"STEP 3 - Identify the documents or information needed and explain the purpose of your request.

"STEP 4 - Mail to:
National Personnel Records Center

Civilian Personnel Records
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO 63118-4126"

The problem here is that a descendant may not know about all of the agencies for which their ancestor worked, or their dates of employment.

I don't have any 20th century ancestors who worked for the government, so I haven't pursued this research opportunity.

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