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National Union of Railwaymen

About the union:

The National Union of Railwaymen was formed in 1913 by the amalgamation of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (founded in 1872), the General Railway Workers' Union (founded in 1890) and the United Pointsmen's and Signalmen's Society (founded in 1880). An online exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the union is available elsewhere on our website.

The records of the National Union of Railwaymen are essentially a continuation of those of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which was the largest partner in the amalgamation forming the union. The offices of the other partners, the General Railway Workers' Union and the United Pointsmen's and Signalmen's Society, were closed upon amalgamation and very few records of these unions survive.

In 1953 the National Association of Transport Employees was formed and National Union of Railwaymen members in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland transferred to that union. In 1990 the National Union of Railwaymen amalgamated with the National Union of Seamen to form the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT).

Records relevant to genealogical research include:

Membership registers, 1913-1919, 1925-1928 [MSS.127/NU/OR/2/27-97]

In 1897 the union compiled a new, multi-volumed, register of members, listing all current members in that year and all new members who joined thereafter. Members who had joined before 1897 are arranged chronologically by year of joining and then more or less alphabetically by branch. Members who joined in 1897 or later are arranged only in order of membership number (assigned on a broadly chronological basis).

These contain: name, age, date of joining, occupation, railway company, branch, and sometimes (but not necessarily) dates of branch transfers, exclusion, retirement and/or death. Information about family members, address or place of birth is not given.

These registers have been digitised by Findmypast and can be searched through their website (charges apply to view images and transcriptions of the volumes).

Annual reports and proceedings, 1913-1926 [MSS.127/NU/1/1/1-14]

They contain: details of benefits given to individual members from 1913-1926. These include lists of members who received death benefits and grants to orphans.

You need to know: the year that the benefit was granted (e.g. date or year of death).

Annual reports of the Orphan Fund, 1913-1920, 1943, 1944, 1958 [MSS.127/NU/4/4/1-12]

They contain: details of payments to the children of deceased members.

You need to know: the year(s) that the benefit was granted.

'Railway Review' / 'Transport Review', 1913-1990 [MSS.127/NU/4/1/1-78]

They contain: death notices and obituaries of prominent members.

You need to know: a precise date of death and the name of the branch that the member joined.

Other sources:

Information about the location of some branch records is included in the National Register of Archives - try searching for 'National Union Railwaymen' under 'record creators'.