Main Sources For Family History
Pensions and Gratuities records
Pensions and Gratuities records date from 1719 to 1959. Records before 1860 generally list senior and clerical grades only (before then, not everyone was eligible for a pension).
From 1860 to 1940, pension and gratuity applications (POST 1) were sent to the Treasury. These give details of individuals' careers, but do not contain personal information such as private addresses or family details. Not all letters have survived.
In November 1940, the Treasury delegated power to grant pensions to the Post Office and so after this date only exceptional cases resulted in a detailed form to the Treasury. From 1940 to 1959, indexes contain one-line entries confirming when an award was paid.
Eligibility for a pension or gratuity depended on length of service and individual circumstances. Success in finding these details is not guaranteed.
Appointment Books (POST 58) provide a register of all employees from 1831 to 1956. Other volumes cover 1737-1774. Arranged by year of appointment and then by surname, they give date of appointment, grade and place of work. These are now searchable online via ancestry.co.uk. A list of abbreviations used in these records is available at the end of the Family History Guide.
Before 1831, Treasury Letters (POST 1) sometimes refer to individual appointments. These are usually indexed according to year and place of work.
From 1691 onwards the Establishment Books (POST 59) list people employed by each department at a given time. The details given do vary. Some entries include lower grades, later entries are mostly senior officials.