Finding Aid for U.S. Life-Saving Service Records in the National Archives

These are the entries in National Archives Record Group 26 that I commonly use to research lifesaving stations.  It is a working document and is by no means a complete list of what is available . . .

Entry 81 (A-1) “Registers of Employees

Entry 226 (NC-31) “Letters Sent by USLSS Officers, Employees & Miscl. Persons, 1878 – 1897” (Primarily letters from Kimball, Genrl. Supt., arranged chronologically but no index) 62 volumes

Entry 227 (NC-31) “Letters Sent by U.S. Life-Saving Service, 1878 – 1891, 1898-1915” (Bound press copies in boxes for 1898 – 1915 period)

Entry 230 (NC-31) “Register of Letters Received, 1873 – 1911” (Arranged chronological and then indexed by topic with references to file number of letter received.  Short descriptions of each letter are in chronological and numerical order in early years but in later years they are still chronological but the file numbers are out of order since multiple letters are assigned to each file number)

Entry 231A (NC-31) “Letters Received, 1861 – 1910”  (Consists of three sets of boxes. The largest set, 799 boxes, are arranged by letter number found in registers in Entry 230; some file numbers include a press copy of the response sent by General Superintendent)

Entry 231B (NC-31) “Correspondence Subject File, 1876 – 1916” (Arranged by file number. Unclear as to why these were separated from Entry 231A)

Entry 233 (NC-31) “Correspondence with Lifesaving Keepers, 1870 – 1878” (1 volume, indexed)

Entry 241A (NC-31) “Register of Wreck Reports Received from the Life-Saving Service, 1881 – 1910” (Indexed by Ship Name; Volume 1: 1881 – 1887; Volume 2: 1889 – 1892; Volume 3: 1905 – 1909; Voume 4: 1892 – 1897; Volume 5: 1897 – 1905)

Entry 241B (NC-31) “Wreck Reports of Stations, 1883 – 1920 (These have been regionalized)

Entry 241C (NC-31) “Wreck Reports from Stations, 1901 – 1915” (Arranged by year and then by district)

Entry 241E (NC-31) “Miscellaneous Wreck Reports” (Box 2: 1854 – 1879 Districts 1 – 4; Box 3: 1889 – 1900 Districts 1, 2, & 10; Box 4: Miscl., 1899, 1900, District 12 1901 – 1902, District 10

Entry 245A (UD) “Life Saving Service – Lifeboat Station Logs, 1876 – 1883 (Transcripts)” (Arranged by District)

Entry 248 (NC-31) “Records of Medals Awarded, 1876 – 1944” (3 indexed volumes: Volume 1: 1876 – 1903, Volume 2: 1903 – 1926, and Volume 3: 1926 – 1944)

Entry 258 (NC-31) “Record of Applications & Engagement for Surfmen, ca. 1878 – 1895”

Entry 259A (NC-31) “Nominations of Lifesaving Keepers, ca. 1855 – 1910”

Entry 259B (NC-31) “Changes of Surfmen, 1878 – 1910” (Arranged by district and name of surfman)

Entry 259C (NC-31) “Miscellaneous Applications for Posts in the Lifesaving Service, 1878 – 1897” (2 boxes: A – L and M – Z)

Entry 259D (NC-31) “Applications for Superintendents of Lifesaving Districts, ca. 1854 – 1899”

Note Entries 259 (A-D) are reflected in a database created by the National Archives Staff that I modified as National Archives RG 26 Personnel

Entry 260 (NC-31) “Articles of Engagement of Surfmen, 1875 – 1914 (Arranged by year and district; includes crew lists with salary and medical certificates; early years reference letters in “Letters Received – Entry 231A)

Entry 82 (A-1)
USCG General Correspondence (Four parts, three parts correspond to a specific time period; fourth part consists of station files; arranged according to subject files) — Archivist Mark Mollan has created these box lists for each time period: 

USCG General Correspondence 1910-35 Part 1

USCG General Correspondence 1910-35 Part 2

USCG General Correspondence 1936-41 Part 1

USCG General Correspondence 1936-41 Part 2

USCG General Correspondence 1942-53 Part 1

USCG General Correspondence 1942-53 Part 2

Entry 82D (A-1) “Correspondence to Sites for Stations, Bases, Depots, 1870 – 1941” (Lifesaving Station site files arranged by district and alpha by station name – see box list in Archive reference branch at downtown D.C. facility)

Entry 403 (A-1) Shore Units Division Correspondence, 1920 – 1958 — Archivist Mark Mollan prepared this box list — Shore Units Division Correspondence

Entry 454 (A-1) “Station History Files, ca. 1890 – 2001” (Arranged by district and name of station)

Microfilm #T720 “U.S. Coast Guard Reports of Assistance to Individuals and Vessels, 1916 – 1940” 247 rolls

Microfilm #T925 “U.S. Coast Guard Casualty and Wreck Reports, 1913 – 1939” 21 rolls (Indexed in T926 – 7 rolls)

Note:  Most of lifesaving station logbooks prior to WWII have been regionalized.

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