Wednesday, August 01, 2007

HistoryKat Completes First Phase of U.S. Postal Department Records Digitization

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from Matthew Helm. All inquiries should be addressed to him at:

Nine record sets are featured in the collection spanning the years 1793 to 1926 including information on postmasters, clerks, letter carriers, early postal routes, and postal offenders.

SAVOY, Illinois, August 1

Since 1672, when Governor Lovelace of the New York colony established mail service between New York and Boston, the delivery of mail has been a vital part of the life of Americans. While the delivery of mail has taken several forms, from horse-mounted couriers to high-flying air mail pilots (and even missile mail was tried in 1959), there have always been people responsible for ensuring that the post arrived at its intended location. To mark the achievements of those who braved the elements, HistoryKat has placed online nine sets of digitized records of the U.S. Postal Department in its U.S. Postal Records collection.

“HistoryKat’s U.S. Postal Records collection contains a very unique set of documents that run the gambit from postmasters to postal offenders,” said April Leigh Helm, President of, Inc., the company behind HistoryKat. “Posting these records online allows researchers to view interesting documents that traditionally have not received a great deal of exposure.”

The U.S. Postal Records collection includes the following record sets:

  • Index to Names, Aliases, and Histories of Postal Offenders: A list of the names and aliases of postal-law violators on record with the Post Office Department.
  • Indexes to Rosters of Railway Postal Clerks, ca. 1883 - ca. 1902: Alphabetical lists of railway postal clerks and a list of the railway postal routes.
  • Journal of Hugh Finlay: This journal was kept by the Surveyor of the Post Offices and Post Roads on the Continent of North America during his 310-mile journey from September 1773 to June 1774.
  • Benjamin Franklin Ledger: This General Post Office account book was kept by Benjamin Franklin from 1770-1772 and shows some early monetary transactions of the Post Office.
  • Postal entries from A Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, 1829 and 1831: The entries are from the postal portion of the Register and include a list of postmasters as well as postal contractors.
  • Record of First Returns Received from Postmasters, 1789-1832: These documents include a list of postmasters, date of appointment, and, in some cases, the rate of pay.
  • Record Cards of Letter Carriers Separated from the Postal Service, 1863-1899: Images of 3x5 cards indicating the post office name, letter carrier's name, date of appointment, and date and cause of separation from employment.
  • Record of Appointment of Substitute Clerks in First- and Second-Class Post Offices, 1899-1905: Registers of substitute clerks including the date of appointment.
  • Record of Appointment of Substitute Mail Carriers in First- and Second-Class Post Offices, 1885-1903: Registers of mail carriers including the name, post office, and date of appointment.

“Researchers may certainly be surprised to find out that their ancestors worked for the Post Office,” said Matthew Helm, Chief History Officer of HistoryKat. “I was shocked to find three of my ancestors were listed in the Postmasters record set. Nothing in my previous research had even hinted that they were involved with the Postal Office Department.”, Inc. recently began the second phase of digitization of Post Office Department records that will include the Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, and selected Post Office Department Reports of Site Locations, 1837–1950.

About HistoryKat
The HistoryKat subscription site was launched in July 2006 by, Inc. The site features digitized images of documents of interest to historians and genealogists. Currently, there are four collections within HistoryKat including U.S. Military Records, U.S. Postal Records, State and Territorial Records, and U.S. Government Employee Records. Subscriptions are available for individuals, as well as institutions.

About, Inc., Inc. is a privately held company that traces its lineage to 1995 when it was founded as Toolbox Internet Marketing Services, Inc. The company has specialized in placing historical online resources online as well as maintaining Web sites for researchers including the Genealogy Toolbox and TreEZy, Inc. also has produced the Genealogy Toolbox DigiSources line of original record CD-ROMs. The company is co-owned by Matthew Helm and April Leigh Helm, authors of several books including the popular Genealogy Online For Dummies.

CONTACT: Matthew Helm,


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