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Civil Servant/Service Records (Occupations)

Nature of Source

Records of those that worked for the civil service in the United Kingdom as Crown employees. Those employed as civil servants support the work of government departments and do not include public sector employees such as local government staff, teachers, NHS staff or police officers.

A useful source of information on civil servants is the Civil Service Evidence of Age records, 1752-1948. Those applying to the Civil Service Commission for employment or for a pension were required to provide proof of their age and birth date which could include a civil birth certificate or a certified baptismal entry. The employment of the applicants covered a varied amount of different work roles with the applicants coming from many areas of the world. However, it must be noted that the surviving records only cover about two per cent of all the papers originally collected. The original documents are housed at the Society of Genealogists with the collection available online at

Where Found

The National Archives (CSC 11, Records of the Civil Service Commission; CSC 10, Civil Service Commission: Examination, Tables of Marks and Results; PMG 28, Superannuation and Retired Allowances; T 268, Treasury: Selected Personal Files)
Society of Genealogists (Civil Service, Foreign Office, Colonial Office, Diplomatic Lists and other official lists)

Period Covered

1700 - Onwards

Further References

Kirk-Greene, Anthony H. A Biographical Dictionary of the British Colonial Service, 1939-1966: Hans Zall, 1991  
Kirk-Greene, Anthony H. On Crown Service: A History of HM Colonial and Overseas Civil Services 1837-1997 Buy Now on Amazon
Lowe, Rodney. The Official History of the British Civil Service: Routledge, 2011 Buy Now on Amazon
McNaughton, Neil. The Civil Service: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000  Buy Now on Amazon
Page, Edwards & Jenkins, Bill. Policy Bureaucracy: Government with a Cast of Thousands: Oxford University Press, 2005  Buy Now on Amazon
Pellew, Jill. The Home Office 1848-1914: from Clerks to Bureaucrats: Heinemann, 1982 (Available to view online at Google Books)  
Petherick, Simon. The Essential Civil Servant: Robert Hale, 1994  
Pyper, Robert. The British Civil Service: Prentice Hall/Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1995  Buy Now on Amazon
Pyper, Robert & Burnham, June. Britain's Modernised Civil Service: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008  Buy Now on Amazon
Stanley, Martin. How to be a Civil Servant: Politico's Publishing 2000  Buy Now on Amazon


Directories of Government Departments and Key Personnel  
British Imperial Calendar and Civil Service List (1809-1972)  
Civil Service Year Book: Stationery Office (From 1973)  
Colonial Office List (1862-1966) (Some editions available to view online at Google Books or to download at the Internet Archive. The series continues with the Diplomatic List from 1966)  
Court & City Register (1742-1808) (Some editions available to view online at Google Books or to download at the Internet Archive)  
Foreign Office List and Diplomatic And Consular Year Book (1852-1965) (1857 edition available to view at Google Books)  
Office-Holders in Modern Britain (Various volumes): Institute of Historical Research  
Royal Kalendar (1767-1890) (Some editions available to download from the Internet Archive)  
The Diplomatic Service List (1852-2006)  

TNA Research Guide: Royal household and Wardrobe

Websites (Looking for records of a civil or crown servant)
(How to be a Civil Servant) (Biographical Sources Civil Servants) (The Civil Service: A partial history of the Civil Service) (A Brief Rundown of the British Civil Service) (Civil Service Evidences of Age in England) (Ancestry Message Boards: Occupations)

Online Databases (Civil Service Evidence of Age Index, 1752-1948 extracted from TNA series CSC 1) (Institute of Historical Research Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Lists of office-holders largely confined to the post-medieval offices of the English central government. Information on the printed volumes in this series are available at the IHR bookshop) (The Database of Court Officers 1660-1837: The database provides the career histories of every remunerated officer and servant of the English royal household from the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 to the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837) (British Imperial Calendar and Civil Service List) (British Imperial Calendar and Civil Service List, 1895)

CD Roms

S & N Genealogy Supplies (British Imperial Calendar 1823; Record of War Service - London County Council Staff 1914-1918; Indian Army & Civil Service List 1862)
Your Old Books And Maps (Court & City Register 1753)