World Archives Project: Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971

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About this project

This collection contains the Post Office Department's record of appointment of postmasters, covering approximately 1832-1971. The records are generally organized by state (or territory), and thereafter alphabetically by county (or parish or district) and then post office.

Information recorded in these documents includes:

  • Dates of establishment and discontinuance of post offices
  • Changes in names of post offices
  • Names and appointment dates of postmasters
  • Names of post offices to which mail from discontinued offices was sent
  • Dates of Presidential appointments of postmasters and their confirmation dates by the Senate


Contents

Need help keying this project?

World Archives Keying Standards
Discussion Page
US Records - Other Message Board

Year - Key years AS SEEN. It may be 2 or 4 digits.
2 page images - Check for left and right sides of page.
Do NOT add a section unless the COUNTY changes.
Key state as seen. If shown as Ga, Ga is what should be keyed. Illinois is not showing in the dictionary so key Illinois and f7 to accept.

Project-specific sample images and form field help:

Choose a sample image from below to see the corresponding form field examples.
NARA Microfilm Target Page
Register Page

NARA Microfilm Target Page

NARA Microfilm Target Pages have the words "National Archives Microfilm Publications" written accross the top and bottom. There are several different types of these target images. However, there are only two that we will be keying from: 1) Image that contains the Volume Number and Year Range 2) Image that contains the State and County. Only these two different types of images should be classified as "NARA Microfilm Target Page". All other target images should be classified as "Cover page, Section header, etc." under the "No Information to Key" section.

State

Capture the State or Territory from the middle of the NARA Target Microfilm Page. Use the provided dictionary to assist you, but otherwise, key as seen. On the Target Microfilm image, if both a state and territory are listed, and they are for the same state (ex. "Arizona" and "Arizona Territory", then just key "Arizona" into the state field. If two different states or territories are listed, then create a new section so that you can create a new header, and key both entries. Copy the state down to subsequent images within your image set until you see differing information.
Do not key a state if there is not one showing.
See Example

County

Capture the county from the middle of the NARA Target Microfilm page. Do not key a county if there is not one showing.
See Example

Volume Number

Key the volume number from the middle of the NARA Target Microfilm images. Do not key roll number.
See Example

Volume Year Range

Enter the year range from the middle of the NARA Target Microfilm images. Capture just the years; do not enter things such as "ca." or "approx." Expand year ranges written such as "1832-42" to "1832-1842".
See Example

Post Office Locality

On the NARA Microfilm Target Pages, key the post office if given on the same page as the state and county. We do not expect this to happen very often.
See Example


Register Page

State

Capture the State or Territory from the header area of the register page. Use the provided dictionary to assist you, but otherwise, key as seen. Copy the state down to subsequent images within your image set until you see differing information.
See Example

County

Capture the county from the header area of the Register page or from the the appropriate column on the Register page. If the County is found in a column of a register page instead of in the header, create a new section so that you can enter a new header, if the county changes within the page. If the words "Unknown Counties" is given, key "Unknown" into the County field. Copy the County down to subsequent images within your image set until you see differing information.
See Example

Post Office Locality

Key the Post Office location from either (1) the header area of the register or (2) the appropriate column in the register. If the post office is listed in the header, please copy down the name of the post office to all records on the page, or until another post office name is provided. On the NARA Microfilm Target Pages, key the post office if given on the same page as the state and county. We do not expect this to happen very often.
See Example

Postmaster Prefix

Key any titles before the Given name of the Postmaster, such as "Dr", "Rev", "Mr" or "Mrs", using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a prefix does not appear in a dictionary then key the prefix as seen. Create a new record for each entry in the register, even if the Postmaster is the same on several lines. Likewise, in the cases where there is one line per post office and there are multiple postmasters listed for that post office, create a new record for each postmaster and apply the appropriate post office information to each individual.
See Example

Postmaster Given

Key the first name or initial and any middle names of the Postmaster, using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen. Create a new record for each entry in the register, even if the Postmaster is the same on several lines. If there are multiple dates listed for the same postmaster - in the same entry- key the first date listed. DO NOT key a new record when there are multiple dates listed for one postmaster.

Likewise, in the cases where there is one line per post office and there are multiple postmasters listed for that post office, create a new record for each postmaster and apply the appropriate post office information to each individual.
See Example

Postmaster Surname

Capture the Surname of the Postmaster using the dictionary provided for assistance. If the surname does not appear in the dictionary then key the surname as seen. Create a new record for each entry in the register, even if the Postmaster is the same on several lines. If there are multiple dates listed for the same postmaster - in the same entry- key the first date listed. DO NOT key a new record when there are multiple dates listed for one postmaster.

Likewise, in the cases where there is one line per post office and there are multiple postmasters listed for that post office, create a new record for each postmaster and apply the appropriate post office information to each individual.
See Example

Postmaster Suffix

Key all titles, such as "Jr" or "III", following the surname of the Postmaster using the provided dictionary for assistance. If a suffix does not appear in a dictionary then key the suffix as seen.Create a new record for each entry in the register, even if the Postmaster is the same on several lines. Likewise, in the cases where there is one line per post office and there are multiple postmasters listed for that post office, create a new record for each postmaster and apply the appropriate post office information to each individual.
See Example

Appointment Day

Key the Day portion of the Date, using the following rules to determine which Date to key:
(1) If only one date is given for a person, key from that date.
(2) If columns are not titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person, key the first date written for that person.
(3) If columns are titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person please follow the following order:

Key the date labeled as "Confirmed".
If "Confirmed" date is not given, key from the "Commission Signed and Mailed" date.
If "Commission Signed and Mailed" date is not given, key the "Assumed Charge" date.
If "Assumed Charge" date is not given, key the "Recess or Acting" date.
If "Recess or Acting" date is not given, key the "Nomination" date.
If none of these guidelines can be followed for keying the date, please post a question to us.

Note: Please be sure to check the list of preferred dates to use in order. "Confirmed" date is the preferred one, if that column is blank, use the list.

1. Confirmed
2. Comm Signed and Mailed
3. Assumed Charged
4. Recess or acting
5. Nomination date
6. If only one date, use that date

If there are no columns, key the first written date.
P=Appointed by the President, P&S=Appointed and Confirmed by the Senate
If you see P and P&S, key the P date, which should be the first written date.

See Example

Appointment Month

Key the Month portion of the Date, using the following rules to determine which Date to key:
(1) If only one date is given for a person, key from that date.
(2) If columns are not titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person, key the first date written for that person.
(3) If columns are titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person please follow the following order:

Key the date labeled as "Confirmed".
If "Confirmed" date is not given, key from the "Commission Signed and Mailed" date.
If "Commission Signed and Mailed" date is not given, key the "Assumed Charge" date.
If "Assumed Charge" date is not given, key the "Recess or Acting" date.
If "Recess or Acting" date is not given, key the "Nomination" date.
If none of these guidelines can be followed for keying the date, please post a question to us.
See Example

Appointment Year

Key the two or four digit number designation as the Year portion of the Date. Key as seen. Use the following rules to determine which Date to key:
(1) If only one date is given for a person, key from that date.
(2) If columns are not titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person, key the first date written for that person.
(3) If columns are titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person please follow the following order:

Key the date labeled as "Confirmed".
If "Confirmed" date is not given, key from the "Commission Signed and Mailed" date.
If "Commission Signed and Mailed" date is not given, key the "Assumed Charge" date.
If "Assumed Charge" date is not given, key the "Recess or Acting" date.
If "Recess or Acting" date is not given, key the "Nomination" date.
Use the following rules to determine which Date to key:(1) If only one date is given for a person, key from that date.(2) If columns are not titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person, key from the first date written for that person.(3) If columns are titled and multiple dates are given on one line for the same person please follow the following order: Key the date labeled as "Confirmed". If "Confirmed" date is not given, key from the "Commission Signed and Mailed" date. If "Commission Signed and Mailed" date is not given, key the "Assumed Charge" date. If "Assumed Charge" date is not given, key the "Recess or Acting" date. If "Recess or Acting" date is not given, key the "Nomination" date.
If none of these guidelines can be followed for keying the date, please post a question to us.
See Example

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