History - Historical Records AssistanceDavid Turk, U.S. Marshals
Each year, the Marshals Service averages 500-700 requests for
historical or genealogical information. While we have approximately
30,000 names and references to personnel, there are names constantly added to our official tally. This is due to the scattered
source material available to document the enormous number of Posse
Members, Guards, and Deputy U.S. Marshals over a 215-year period.
For the ease of the researcher, we have compiled a “where to” list for
primary sources of USMS historical or genealogical material.
The USMS Collections
Our research collections consist of subject area files, listings and references
to names and copies of materials on line-of-duty deaths, most
official USMS publications, and a small library of secondary source
information and photographs. The last is drawn from other sources with
an emphasis on historical events. Most surviving original material,
including Oaths of Office, are found at the National
Researchers are welcome to e-mail, mail, or call the Historian at
202-307-9114 on any subject of historical or genealogical interest in
relation to the agency.
The best resource for original records on USMS personnel is the National
Archives. As the repository for all federal governmental records, their
Civil Reference Division is the custodian of this material. The fastest
way to reach an archivist is through their website at
archives.gov – and
then to their “research room” segment. You may also write their facility at:
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
When you contact the National Archives, it assists their search to have
the following pieces of information:
-Full Name or Names
-Date of Service (or a Range of Service)
-State of Service (and if possible, district)
The following record groups maintained by the National Archives have
notable references to the activities of the U.S. Marshals.
-RG 21 Records of Federal Courts (Specify State or District)
-RG 60 Letters Received by the Department of Justice
-RG 118 Records of U.S. Attorneys (and formerly U.S. Marshals)
-RG 206 Records of the Solicitor of the Treasury
-RG 527 Records of the U.S. Marshals Service
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress Manuscript Division maintains the records of
most major American political figures, including the Presidents of the United
States and key members of the judiciary. Application letters for appointment of U.S. Marshals
are found within these
In addition, their Photograph and Prints Division contains the
portraiture of early U.S. Marshals.
There is still much material held in state and local historical societies and
archives. Photographs, news accounts, and personal papers of prominent
citizens can yield much material that make reference to service.