USLHS OR USLHE Personnel Records
Records from this era are largely stored at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Due to the frequency of requests for this type of information by people conducting genealogical research, the National Archives have made the majority of this data available on 6 rolls of microfilm.
You can order microfilms from the Archives containing most of the records. The microfilms can then be read on a 35 mm. film reader at your local library. Order the microfilm by calling 1-800-234-8861 and asking for microfilm 1373. The cost is $34 per roll including shipping. There are 6 rolls of film covering the lighthouse keepers in the United States.
Roll 1 covers – The New England states 1845 to 1913
Roll 2 covers – New York to Virginia 1845 to 1913
Roll 3 covers – North Carolina to Texas 1845 to 1913
Roll 4 covers – Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes 1845 to 1900
Roll 5 covers – Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes 1900 to 1913
Roll 6 covers – The West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii 1845 to 1913
Many larger libraries have a copy of this microfilm set in their permanent collections. For example, the Michigan State Library in Lansing has the complete set available for public reference. Copies for review at your local library can also be ordered through the Interlibrary Loan program.
Since the 1990’s, Phyllis Tag has conducted in-depth research in this specific subject area. She estimates that she has identified approximately 95% of all the keepers who served at US lighthouses on the Great Lakes through the early 1930’s.
Some time ago, Tom and Phyllis Tag gave their permission to Terry Pepper to incorporate their research into his western Great Lakes lighthouse histories on his website “Seeing the Light.” Each lighthouse history page features a section titled “Keepers of this light” with a link to a listing of all the known keepers who served at the respective light station. Terry’s website can be found at www.terrypepper.com
Coast Guard Military Personnel Records
These records are stored in the National Personnel Records Center.
If the individual you are researching served in the Coast Guard sometime between 1914 to the present, it may be possible to obtain copies of their service records. Contact the National Personnel Records Center at:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Records Facility
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100
Coast Guard Civilian Personnel Records
Civilian personnel records are stored in a different branch of the National Personnel Records Center. If the person you are researching served as a civilian in the Coast Guard or any of its predecessor agencies, you will need to contact the Civilian Records facility of the National Personnel Records Center at:
National Personnel Records Center
Civilian Records Facility
111 Winnebago Street
St. Louis, MO 63118-4199
Coast Guard Crew Lists
These records are stored at the US Coast Guard Records Branch, If you are looking for the names of the crew of a particular cutter or those of a Coast Guard station, you will need to send a request, in writing, to the following office in the Coast Guard’s personnel command. Indicate in the letter which cutter or station and the date (month and year) you are interested in:
Records Branch, CGPC-adm-3
US Coast Guard Personnel Command
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 22203-1840
Locating a Coast Guard Retiree:
You will need to contact the Coast Guard Pay and Personnel Center. Due to the Privacy Act, however, they cannot provide home addresses. Nevertheless, if you would like to contact a Coast Guard retiree, send an envelope addressed to:
COMMANDING OFFICER (RPD)
U.S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center
444 SE Quincy
Topeka, KS 66683-3591
Enclose in this envelope your correspondence (your letter to the retiree you wish to contact) inside another stamped envelope with the retiree’s full name on it. The Pay and Personnel Center will look through their files, add the retiree’s address, and forward your correspondence on to the retiree. Please include a telephone number where you may be reached-since there may be more that one retiree by the name you are seeking, they may need to contact you.
There are a number of books and search engines on the Internet that are useful references to utilize when attempting to locate someone who served in the Coast Guard, such as:
Richard S. Johnson. How to Locate Anyone Who Is Or Has Been in the Military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard: Active, Retired, Reserve, National Guard, Veterans and Others: Unit Reunion and Veterans Organization Information. Fort Sam Houston, TX: Military Information Enterprises, 1988
Lighthouse Keepers’ Documentation
Researching the career of anyone who served with the Lighthouse Service or the Coast Guard entails accessing documentation available at a number of different locations. The Coast Guard Historian’s office does not have any information of individual keepers. Personnel records for those who served in lighthouses prior to the Lighthouse Service’s merger with the Coast Guard in 1939 need to contact the National Archives, which is the primary repository for all records concerning the Lighthouse Establishment & Service:
Write to them for further information:
National Archives and Records Administration
7th & Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20408
If the individual(s) served with the U.S. Lighthouse Service or the Coast Guard as a civilian, you will need to contact the National Archives branch in St. Louis, Missouri. Please be advised that privacy restrictions apply to these records:
Civilian Employees (lightkeepers prior to 1939 were civilians, many stayed in as civilians after the Lighthouse Service merged with the Coast Guard after that date);
National Archives & Records Administration
ATTN: Archival Programs
P.O. Box 38757
St. Louis, MO 63138
Crew Lists & Muster Rolls
Please write to:
Military Records Branch (pst-mr)
U.S. Coast Guard Personnel Service Center
4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1100, Stop 7200
Arlington VA 20598-7200
Or visit their website’s contact page here: http://www.uscg.mil/psc/adm/adm3/concatc.asp
Include the cutter’s or station’s name and the month and year you are interested in.