Watch this Free Video Course if Your Mexican Ancestors Worked on the U.S. Railroads

Ancestry Academy Lure of the Railroad

Did your Mexican ancestors work on the U.S. railroads?

Mexican laborers played a major role in the construction of railroad lines in the American Southwest in the 1880s, and in the first third of the 20th century as maintenance crews on the Western and Midwest lines.1

Starting around 1900, railroad recruitment reached its peak in 1910 and 1912. Originally recruited by the Southwestern lines, Mexicans were used after 1905 in an ever-widening arc which gradually extended through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.2

These traqueros were heavily recruited by the railroad companies.

A traquero is a railroad track worker, or “section hand”, especially a Mexican or Mexican American railroad track worker (“gandy dancer” in American English usage). The word derives from “traque”, Spanglish for “track”.3

About the Course

This course discusses the history of railroads in the U.S., the types of records that exist, the type of genealogical information you can get from those records, and where you might find those records in both online and physical repositories.

My friend and colleague Paula Stuart-Warren, CG℠, FMGS, FUGA is an exceptional instructor. I never miss attending at least one of her sessions when Paula teaches at a conference.

A sample payroll record from the California, Railroad Employment Records, 1862-1950 collection. Payrolls – Southern Pacific Subsidiaries El Paso and Southwestern Railroad, June 1918.
Courtesy of

About Ancestry Academy

Ancestry Academy provides a library full of self-paced genealogy video courses that can be watched at your convenience. Recognized experts teach on topics (most 45 minutes to 1-1/2 hours long) covering different record sets, repositories, strategies, ethnic and cultural groups, geographic regions, etc. Short 5-minute-or-less courses highlight just a single skill.

Access to Ancestry Academy requires an account–even just a FREE account.

To get to Ancestry Academy, log in to your account. Then from the main site-wide navigation menu, click on the “Extras” link, and then the “Ancestry Academy” link.

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Sources Cited

  1.  Carey McWilliams, Matt S. Meier, and Alma Garcí, North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States, 3rd Edition: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2016), 131-2.
  2.  Carey McWilliams, North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of the United States, 132.
  3.  Wikipedia, (, “Traquero,” rev. 01:03, 8 February 2017.

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1 thought on “Watch this Free Video Course if Your Mexican Ancestors Worked on the U.S. Railroads”

  1. Hello, I am having trouble accessing this video. When I click play, it takes me to a page that says that the page is not found. Thank you!

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