Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Beryl Johnston Russell Taylor Worked for the Feds

Today I received a thick envelope from the National Personnel Records Center for the civilian records of employment for my great-aunt, Beryl Johnston Russell Taylor.[1] It measured at one-half inch think, probably about 125 pages. I haven’t counted them yet but I have looked at every page.

So how did I get this file? I wrote a letter to the National Personnel Records Center at the address in Valmeyer, Illinois asking for the Official Personnel Folder (OPF) of my aunt who worked for the federal government for about 30 years. I gave all of her names (she was married twice), her birth and death dates, and her Social Security Number.

One of many of the forms in Beryl's file


I had known little about her work. I knew that she worked a year or so in Greece after World War II (from her passport) and that she worked in Sacramento until her retirement (from her obituary). But I didn’t know what she did for a living.

I will keep the pages in the order in which they came. The newest pages were on top. These were about her retirement in 1974. She had worked thirty years and five months total, and had 518 hours of sick leave and 277 vacation hours saved that was paid to her at the rate of $5.61.

All through the papers her title was Secretary (stenography). Her last position was with the Department of the Interior in the Office of the Solicitor, and her office was in Sacramento, California.

Some of the treasures found in the file:
  • Pay change forms/Salary increases
  • Life insurance coverage
  • Notification of Personnel Actions
  • Civil Service Test
  • Performance award
  • injury report
  • listings all of her previous employment
  • signatures

What was interesting was all of the addresses for witnesses and beneficiaries were redacted with large black marker. I doubt any of these people from the 1960s and 70s are still alive. I know none of her siblings are.

As I work my way through the file in more detail, I’ll write more. I’m especially interested in the sheets about all of her previous employment. This will help with creating a timeline. I have yet to find her and her husband in the 1940 census. I think once I figure out where she was, I might have a better chance of finding them.


[1] Official Personnel Folder (OPF) for Beryl Russell, 6510, National Personnel Records Center, Valmeyer, Illinois.


Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. The personnel file for cousin Ruth, who disappeared in the early 1950s and never contacted the family again, is similarly informative. She worked for various Federal departments as an economist in an era where not many women worked outside the home. She was actually living in New York less than 2 miles from my family in the 1960s, and we never knew!

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