Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

United States federal civil service

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


  • John Burton Davis (1893 - 1970)
    John Burton Davis, newspaperman, war correspondent, and writer, was born in Perryville, Missouri, on October 14, 1893, the son of John Brooks and Laurette (Saunders) Davis. He attended high school in B...
  • Alonzo Bettis Cox (1884 - 1968)
    Alonzo Bettis Cox, teacher and authority on cotton marketing, son of Van Buren and Manerva (Compton) Cox, was born in Hamilton County, Illinois, on April 2, 1884. Ten months later his family moved to a...
  • Clarence Cottam (1899 - 1974)
    Clarence Cottam, biologist and conservationist, son of Thomas P. and Emmaline (Jarvis) Cottam, was born in St. George, Utah, on January 1, 1899. He was raised in this rural community and worked as a fa...
  • Brevet Major General William Thomas Clark (USA) (1831 - 1905)
    William Thomas Clark (June 29, 1831 – October 12, 1905) was an American soldier and politician, serving as a general in the Union army during the American Civil War and as a postbellum U.S. Congre...
  • Earl Hays Burris, Jr. (1908 - 1981)
    Earl Hays Burris, Jr. served the state of Texas as a Texas Ranger and a cattle inspector for the U. S. Department of Agriculture during World War II.

Note: this project is not intended to duplicate existing "Related Projects". For example, the FBI, U.S. Cabinet Members, Postmasters General, Ambassadors of the United States, and CIA Directors are covered by existing Geni "Related Projects" that are linked here.

United States federal civil service

In the United States, the federal civil service was established in 1871. The Federal Civil Service is defined as "all appointive positions in the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of the Government of the United States, except positions in the uniformed services." (5 U.S.C. § 2101). In the early 19th century, positions in the federal government were held at the pleasure of the president—a person could be fired at any time. The spoils system meant that jobs were used to support the American political parties, though this was gradually changed by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 and subsequent laws. By 1909, almost two-thirds of the U.S. federal workforce was appointed based on merit, that is, qualifications measured by tests. Certain senior civil service positions, including some heads of diplomatic missions and executive agencies are filled by political appointees. Under the Hatch Act of 1939, civil servants are not allowed to engage in political activities while performing their duties.

According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as of December 2011, there were approximately 2.79 million civil servants (civilian, i.e. non-uniformed) employed by the US Government. (This includes executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. This also includes more than 600,000 United States Postal workers.)

The U.S. civil service includes the Competitive service and the Excepted service. The majority of civil service appointments in the U.S. are made under the Competitive Service, but certain categories in the Diplomatic Service, the FBI, and other National Security positions are made under the Excepted Service. (U.S. Code Title V)

U.S. state and local government entities often have competitive civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.

List of federal agencies in the United States