Kirk's Uncle John told us he had heard that his grandfather, Timothy Corcoran, worked for the Pullman Company. I thought that might be true as Timothy Corcoran and Helen Smith's marriage license stated they were married in Pullman. I knew enough about Pullman to know that it was a company town. I set about trying to prove that Timothy Corcoran did work for the Pullman Company.
My first step was to google Pullman Company. From here, I checked out the following websites:
- Wikipedia: Pulllman Company-a basic overview and history of the company is here.
- Pullman State Historic Site-an excellent resource for all things Pullman. History, pictures, company advertisements and more can be found here.
- Newberry Library-Pullman Archives- a pdf. research guide for the Pullman Archives is available. It provides a list of what is available at the Newberry Library in Chicago for the Pullman Company.
- South Suburban Genealogical and Historical Society- this society located in Hazel Crest, Illinois proved to be my best source of information for my genealogy purposes. I was so impressed with what they have to offer, that I joined this society!
A quick search form is provided that one can copy and paste into an email for a look up. The information asked is Name, Date of Birth, Race, and Chicago Address, if known. I submitted my search except for the Chicago address and within days, I received a two page reply form listing 16 Corcoran's who worked for the company. One of them was Timothy Corcoran, born approx. 1876. This birth date fit with what I knew about Timothy.
Next, I sent a request and check for $7, society member price, to obtain Timothy's employee records. The cost for non members is $15. I was prepared to wait awhile for the records to reach me, but it didn't take that long. I was hoping I would get more than a name. I was really hoping for a birth certificate, or some proof of who his parents were.
Did I get such proof? No such luck, but what I did receive was two pages of records. The first page was a general information page. Click to enlarge.
Name: Corcoran, Timothy
country of birth: USA
Occupation: Mach. ?
Total service with Co.: 4 yrs.
Family of 1 children and wife
When last employed by Co.: Nov. 03
How long: 3 3/4
Where: Freight 2988
Reason for leaving: New Card
Foreman's Name Vander Veen
Old Check No. 3409
Other record with Co.: 3 mos. Boiler Rm
Other Employment During Past 12 Months: None
Relatives in Company's Employ: None.
I found this to be very interesting information. I learned that Timothy Corcoran did work at the Pullman Company. He was a machinist in the freight department, which correlates with later work he did when he moved to Grand Rapids. He worked for fours years, 1899-1903, for Pullman. These dates coincide with the date of his marriage, 1900, and the date his first child was born, January 1903. Interestingly, his record states that no other relatives were employed. Does this mean they never did, or was no one working there at the time Timothy did? None of the birth dates provided with the original search work for a father of Timothy.
The second sheet didn't provide much personal information, but it provided more work records. Some of the writing is faint and unreadable. The information provided includes:
Name: Corcoran, Timothy
Information on Check No., Department and Occupation, Pay Rate, Rate Increased, Transferred, Hired and Dropped is included in table form: