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Frequently Asked Questions
What genealogical sources do you have?

The Mudd Manuscript Library has several genealogical resources available to patrons interested in researching family history or tracking ancestors with a Princeton University connection. Patrons should begin by reviewing available online resources. Several University publications may help in locating information about an ancestor. Patrons should review these resources and contact the Mudd Library for assistance in retrieving information. When possible, individuals are encouraged to visit the Mudd Library to review these and other collections of interest as staff are not able to undertake extensive research for patrons. Photocopies may be ordered.


Alumni (Undergraduate), 1748-1920 indexes all undergraduate alumni from the Class of 1748 to 1920. In addition, there is some non-graduate information for individuals through the Class of 1947. [Note: For many non-graduates little or no information exists.] This database will provide basic biographical data, including the name, class year, and graduation status of alumni, and note if photos or images of the individual exist. Information in each file varies greatly but can include the names of relatives, achievements, news items, address updates, and obituaries. When requesting materials, patrons should note the box number, the class year, and the name of the individual.

Alumni (Undergraduate), 1921-1979 indexes all undergraduate alumni from the Class of 1921 to 1979. This database will provide basic biographical data, including the name, class year, type of file available, and relevant box number for records found in Mudd Library. Undergraduate records from this time period are kept in two series: the Bureau of Alumni Records Public Information Files and the Dean of the College Undergraduate Academic Files. The former are open for all users and include some honorary class members. The later are restricted according the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which for most purposes means that the records of living alumni are closed. For some deceased alumni, academic records can be found in the public file. When requesting materials, patrons should note which file type they are requesting, the name of the individual, the class year, and the box number.

Alumni (Graduate), 1839-1998 indexes graduate alumni from 1839-1998. This database will provide the name, graduate school class, department, and death date, if any, of alumni, and note if photographs of the individual exist. Files of more recent graduates may not have yet been transferred to the Mudd Library, and therefore, will not be found in this database. Many files are restricted according the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) which for most purposes means that the records of living alumni are closed. When requesting materials, patrons should note the class year and the name of the individual and the class year.

Princeton Alumni Weekly Memorial Index, 1894-2004 provides an index to obituaries of alumni. These obituaries appeared in the Princeton Alumni Weekly (PAW) and its predecessor the Alumni Princetonian from April 1894 to July 2004. The index includes some faculty and honorary class members. For alumni who have died since 1989 the PAW maintains their memorials online here.

Princeton University Honorary Degree Index, 1748-2001 lists honorary degree recipients from 1784-2001, the date the degree was awarded, the date of the individual's death (if known), the degree received, and if an informational folder exists in the Honorary Degree Records held at the Mudd Library. The contents of these files vary, but often include an announcement of the award and biographical material.

Faculty and Professional Staff Index, 1764-2001 indexes over 28,000 University faculty, professional research, technical staff, and library personnel. This database contains the name, death date, departure date, and department for Princeton University personnel. Files for some trustees, administrators, and others may also be found in this collection. Material in these files varies, but can contain a variety of personal information such as resumes, publications, wedding announcements, press releases, news articles, and obituaries. Access to personnel files is governed by University policy.

University Publications

In addition to the above online resources, several University publications located at the Mudd Library provide genealogical information.

Early editions of The Nassau Herald (1864-present) contain orations, poems, and addresses. Later volumes include student names and addresses. By 1915 the Herald included student photographs and biographies.

The Bric-A-Brac (1875-present) is a supplement to the Herald and documents student activities. The Bric includes photographs and student lists.

The Freshman Herald (1926-present) is a face book with photographs and brief biographical information on incoming freshman. This is often the only record for a student who did not graduate from Princeton University.

An important resource for tracking alumni is the class reunion book (1835-present). These are compiled by the classes to commemorate important reunion years (5th, 10th, 15th, etc.) and often include biographies of class members.

Sources for World War I and II Veterans

During World War I and II, Princeton welcomed a variety of armed forces programs to campus. Students temporarily based at Princeton to attend the Naval Training School (also known as the V-12), Army Specialized Training program, the Marine V-12 program, the Naval School of Military Government, and the Navy Pre-Radar School were not considered alumni, and thus lack files listed in our alumni databases. However, a variety of records exist that document the Princeton and military service activities of these individuals, as well as those who were enrolled as regular Princeton students.
First, the records of the Office of the Registrar (AC116) contain grade cards for participants of these programs. See the Subseries 1C: Special Programs of the finding aid for the Office of the Registrar Records for more details. Because of the grade information contained, each card is restricted for 75 years after its date of creation (or until the death of the individual student), but we can confirm a student’s presence on campus. Thus at present, only the World War I cards and the listing of each participant in who was enrolled as a special student (Box 203) are completely open.

For information about students who were actively enrolled at Princeton, the War Service Bureau (AC014) provides an additional source of information. The Bureau was a University department that sought to maintain contact with Princeton students during their deployment. To do so, it collected a variety of biographical information such as military rank, the names of each student’s parents, home address, service branch, and activity updates. Most of this information is stored on cards, some of which are accompanied by correspondence with the student, news clippings, or other updates about individual wartime actions.

The War Service Bureau Records also contain a series of questionnaires, arranged chronologically by class and alphabetically within each class. The questionnaires were Princeton’s replacement for the Personnel Placement Form (850A), used to determine which military task each recruit was best suited for. As such, questions focused on biographical and academic information, providing details about each student’s major, courses, grades, and campus activities. Because of the academic information contained, each questionnaire is restricted until the year 2019, though files for deceased alumni may be accessed with proof of the individual’s death.

When requesting materials from the Registrar’s Grade Cards or the War Service Bureau Records, patrons should note the box number, class year, and the name of the individual whose records they seek.

One more source worth noting is the Bureau of Student Placement Records. The Bureau was a precursor to today’s Career Services. During World War II, its director, Gordon Sikes, took on the responsibility of serving as an adviser to the Marine detachments stationed at Princeton. As such, Sikes maintained a card file with academic information concerning individuals, both from Princeton and other institutions who enrolled in the Marine V-12 and the US Marine Corps Reserve, and corresponded with former Marine V-12 students seeking full admission to Princeton following their discharge. The most interesting items for genealogists would be the academic cards, which have grades, class rank, and often hand-written notes about each student’s campus activities. This collection is unprocessed and must be reviewed for potentially restricted records before access is given. Please contact the University Archives prior to your visit if you plan to use this collection.

Last modified: Tuesday, 24-Apr-2012 14:10:32 EDT