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Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants

About the union:

The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales was founded in 1872. In 1892 it absorbed the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants of Scotland. It was the dominant partner in the 1913 amalgamation with the General Railway Workers' Union and the United Pointsmen's and Signalmen's Society which established the National Union of Railwaymen.

Records relevant to genealogical research include:

Branch balance sheets, 1875-1882, 1884, 1886-1889 [MSS.127/AS/2/1/1-13]

These are printed forms which were completed in manuscript at branch level and returned to the central office, where they were bound into large volumes. The balance sheets are arranged alphabetically by branch name. You therefore need to know which branch the member joined in order to locate any relevant entries.

Members who joined the ASRS between 1872-5 are included in the volume for 1875 [ref. MSS.127/AS/2/1/1]. Balance sheets in this first volume have registers of branch members on the reverse, usually including details of age, occupation and date of joining.

From 1876-1889, the branch balance sheets carried details of new members and of members who left the union or transferred to another branch [MSS.127/AS/2/1/2-13]. For this period, it is essential to know both which branch the member joined and also the year that they joined the union. The Centre does not hold the volumes for 1883, 1885 or 1890. From 1891 onwards, the balance sheets no longer listed new or departing members.

Membership registers, 1897-1913 [MSS.127/AS/2/3/1-26]

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).

Volunteers have indexed the first of the ASRS membership registers. The index to entries for members who joined between 1872-1888 (with a few out-of-sequence entries up to 1899) is available as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (it may take a while to open initially). It only includes those individuals who were still members of the union in 1897, the year that the register was compiled.

Annual reports and proceedings, 1876-1913 [MSS.127/AS/1/1/2-47]

They contain: details of benefits given to individual members from 1876-1926. 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, 1889, 1893-1912 [MSS.127/AS/4/3/22/1-22]

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', 1880/1-1912 [MSS.127/AS/4/1/1a-19]

They contain: death notices and obituaries of members, including accident victims.

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

Record of accidents, inquests, Board of Trade enquiries, and legal cases, 1901-1907 [MSS.127/AS/7/3]

This contains: information on accidents between c.1900-1905. It is arranged in approximate chronological order and indexed by name of branch, with members' names and page references being listed after each branch. Entries contain: branch, name and grade of member; date, place and nature of accident; plus additional information about the amount of any compensation obtained, or the outcome of an inquest, Board of Trade enquiry or legal case.

You need to know: approximate date of accident and, ideally, the member's branch.


Other sources:

Information about the location of some branch records is included in the National Register of Archives - try searching for 'Amalgamated Society Railway Servants' under 'record creators'.