JAMES F. JUSTIN CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS MUSEUM
HOW TO RESEARCH THE CCCs
The single most common question I receive running this page is how do I find out something about a CCC veteran's service, company, or about a camp or a project. Here, therefore, is what I know about these subjects. I am new to this myself, however, and you should keep looking for more avenues and ask for more help from others as you go along.
FINDING ABOUT A INDIVIDUAL'S CCC SERVICE
Getting Started, Getting Times and Place of Service
If you are looking to find out about an individual's CCC service then you probably already know all you need to get started, the person's name. This may not always suffice if he has a common name, but it is a start. All person's who were members, or enrollees as they were called, of the Civilian Conservation Corps were Federal Employees. As such they have a file in the archives of the National Personnel Records Center. I have a page on the NPRC which includes their instructions for getting these records and also a link to their website, linked to below. Basically when writing to the National Personnel Records Center you must ask for the persons CCC service record and CCC discharge record. You should tell them the person's name and as much as you know about the times and places in question. Also you should tell them that the person is deceased and that you are a family member (or if the person is living I think they need to sign the letter). In my case I knew the name, time frame and a vague idea as to place (I had the state right but not locations). I had a response within a few weeks. There is no fee.
What you get is a listing of the places and times of service with Company numbers and Camp locations. There will be some biographical information (schooling and address and where pay is sent) and also I think there was a medical record of some sort. This may not seem like much but it gives you the key information of when and where and also gives you the Camp Identifier, which you will need to get inspection reports from the National Archives.
The National Personnel Records Center is linked to from my Government Records Page.
Next Step, What Did The Camp Do?
Part One - Camp Inspection Reports
The National Archives holds records of some CCC records, mostly the camp inspection reports of the various CCC camps. These will describe the duties of the camp and outline any difficulties they may have had which created paper records (perhaps serious discipline problems etc). To get these you will need to write or telephone the National Arcives (number and information is on the Government Records Page). You will also need the camp identification number. If you do not have this you can get it from the CCC service records of the veteran. If you do not have a veteran you may be able to get it from the NACCCA. The Camp Identification number is a letter or letters (SCS, F, MC etc) then a dash then a number followed by another dash and usually more letters. An example is SCS-6-NY. The first letters are the camp type (F forestry, SCS soil conservation service, etc) which shows who ran the camp. The number is the number of that camp type (maybe in the state or maybe national not sure). The final letters are the State Abbreviation, and may not always be listed.
When you order the records the Archives will search for such records as it has and mail you a report on what they have and what it will cost to order them. The copy costs are like fifty cents a page and for my two camps the reports were like 40-50 pages, though they vary.
The Archive records will not give you information on who was at a camp.
Part Two - Miscellaneous Federal Government Records
Beyond the National Archives each service or department which utilized CCC men may have a record of the work projects undertaken by the CCCs. I have not explored these records, though a link to the Forestry Service page is on my Government Records Page. The intial letters in the camp name show the service who was working the camp. The services were Federal Departments and agencies. An incomplete description of the various camp abbreviations is on my CCC Company and Camp Designations, Nomenclature page. These department's records should be held by the agency in DC or its "descendant". If you find out more about this let me know as I have not fully explored this option.
Two collections with online information which I have knowledge of are C.C.C. Material in the National Park Service History Collection and the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters History Collection.
Another Federal Record would be the National Archives photograph section, information on which is on my Government Records Page, and which may be able to locate CCC photos on a given subject. You tell them what you are looking for and they mail you a report saying what they found and provide forms for ordering copies. I have not had much luck with this, the photos they have mostly seem to lack labeling as to subject locations, companies et cetera.
Part Three - State and Local Records
One possible CCC source is the Government records from the State in which the camp is located. Each State probably will have an State Archive, Museum, Library and State Historical Society or some organization with similar functions. Each may, or may not, have CCC records available for research on the camps and CCC projects within the State. These will probably be located within the State capital and can be reached by telephone (though not all are in fact in the Capital, Delware's Historical Society is in Wilmington). You will have to ask them to see what records they have. If you find anything at all out about this please let me know.
Two State records which I have links to are the Colorado State Archives CCC Collection and the Maryland State Archives Special Collections ( photos).
Local records might include similar sources as at the State level. These might include the local historical society, library, schools or universities and perhaps older newspapers from the region. If nothing else the local municipality may be able to tell you where the local parks are, which is probably where the camp worked. Also the local county clerk should have deed records showing who owned what property. Finding the deed for a camp may tell you what department ran the camp (not sure on this but there should be some information on a deed unless it was on private land).
Part Four - State and National Parks
The CCC men worked at many many projects but a great many of them worked at State and National Parks. If so, they quite likely are remembered at the parks where they worked. Many parks have CCC museums or markers and groups interested in preserving the local CCC history. By calling the park near to your camp you may well find some resources about the camp. I have had some success with this by calling the park and speaking to the rangers. These people are there to help, so don't be bashful.
One more thing about the National parks, these often are the central gathering place of CCC alumni groups. They also are often the site sof CCC Museums.
Part Five - CCC Alumni Groups and Museums
The CCC men formed alumni groups after they left the service and many of these are still going strong across the country. Many National Parks are the sites for there meetings. They have newsletters and can probably help with questions about CCC subjects. However these groups seem to be local gatherings, not necessarily the men who worked on that camp but men who now live near that camp.
There is a National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni (NACCCA) in St Louis which can help you with all sorts of CCC questions. They will need, usually, the town to which the camps mail went. This is I believe the town with which the camp is associated and is the one named in the veterans CCC service records. The NACCCA is an all volunteer group. They have a National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni Website where you can contact them.
CCC Museums are often located at State and National parks, possibly located on the camp location. Some have websites, most do not and will need to be called or visited. Many I believe are also either run by the park rangers or the local CCC alumni group.
I will post alumni group and museum contact information at my CCC Alumni Groups and Museums page. Let me know if you find any more.
Part Five - CCC Officers, Staff and Technical Personnel
The CCC camps were not only inhabited by enrollees but also by military officers and federal employees who served as technical staff. The former were employed by their military service and were on active duty. There records can be found at the National Military Records Center while the records of the technical staff is found at the same National Personnel Records Center where CCC enrollees are kept. They will have worked for the department or service who ran the camp. Both are linked to on my Government Records Page.
Part Six - CCC Day Records or Logs
The CCC camps were run by military men. I understand that they kept Daily logs or Records. I do not know what material was kept in these records nor where those records are stored. This is fairly new material to me. I would suspect they would be archived in the federal archives. However I do not know where or if that is true. The NACCCA website, National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni,cites some Day Records which they used to get camp locations. You might want to check with them for more details. I would suspect that these records MAY include roster materials but I do not know this.
Justin Civilian Conservation Museum
Well that is what I have for ideas on how to get information. The last source that I know of is my page itself. Here I have gathered the information obtained from CCC men, their families, and papers and documents I have found at yard sales or paper shows. Go back to the main page and look to Biographies and Anecdotes to see stories from men about camps (and find some CCC men you can ask questions of directly by email), look through my Camp and Company histories to see some rosters, and lists of camps in certain areas, my Looking For information page where you can see if anyone else is looking for the same thing you are so you can compare notes and my links page for other sites on the web which may help. It is quite possible that someone has already told me what you want, so do check out all the pages of the Museum before you go. Also mark it as a favorite as I am adding things all the time.
And Finally, Ask Me and Other Visitors
The last thing I can tell you is to ask me, I will probably just point you to this page but I do have some things I have not posted yet which might help. Also I can post your query to the Looking For Information Page so others who visit might answer your questions.
Whatever You Find, Tell Me
The main source of information for my pages is what the people who visit it tell me. If you know of a veteran tell me what you know of his CCC service so I can do a bio page for them, if you know something about a CCC company camp or project tell what it is. Finally as you find out more from the above sources update me with your progress so I can add this new information to the page too.
Thanks and Good Hunting. Take Care,
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