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Ask a Genealogist: Looking for an ancestor who worked on the railroad.

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I am looking for my ancestor James Mathieson who settled in Massachusetts from Canada in the 19th century.  He later worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad. Can you offer a suggestion?


By Alice Kane, NEHGS Genealogist

Thank you for your query about James Mathieson who lived in Boston.

The U.S. population censuses of 1900 to 1930 include information about the arrival year of immigrants as well as the immigrant's citizenship status. If your ancestor is a naturalized citizen, his naturalization petition may provide not only his date and place of birth, but also the date and port of his entry into the United States. Naturalization petitions for Massachusetts as well as those from other New England states are available from the National Archives and Records Center in Waltham, MA (380 Trapelo Road, Waltham, MA, 02452-6399; phone: 781-663-0144; email:  Indexes to Massachusetts naturalizations can be found at at for 1791-1906 naturalizations, and at for 1906-1966 naturalizations.

Since your ancestor worked for a railroad, information sources available about Boston and Maine Railroad employees include the archives of the Boston and Maine Railroad Historical Society which is maintained by the Center for Lowell History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Libraries (40 French Street, Lowell, MA, 01852; phone: 978-934-4997; and the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (844 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL, 60611-2092; phone: 877-772-5772;

Posted by Jean Maguire at 10/29/2013 11:53:55 PM | 

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