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Orphan Trains: Placing Out Children in Minnesota: More

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  • Many of the unrestricted images from the Children's Aid Society Records have been digitized and are available through the New-York Historical Society on Flickr.  

  • Local Historical Societies
  • A list of Minnesota county and town historical societies, with contact information and web links.

  • New York Public Library
    The Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy houses many resources relating to orphan trains, dependent children and New York City tenements.
     
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  • Searches the collections of thousands of libraries all over the world.

    Books Outside of MNHS

    Adoption Agencies, Orphanages and Maternity Homes: An Historical Directory, by Reg Niles.
    Garden City, New York: Phileas Deigh Corp, 1981.

    The Children's Aid Society of New York: An Index to the Federal, State and Local Census Records of Its Lodging Houses (1855-1925), by Carolee R. Inskeep.
    Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Company, 1996.

    The New York Foundling Hospital: An Index to its Federal, State and Local Census Records (1870-1925), by Carolee R. Inskeep.
    Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Company, 1995.
    Also available digitally through Ancestry.com

    Orphan Train Riders: Their Own Stories, Volumes I-VI, compiled by Mary Ellen Johnson.
    Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1992-.

    Research Collections Outside of MNHS

    Guide to the Records of the New York Foundling Hospital, 1869-2009.  New York Historical Society Museum & Library.
    This collection contains board minutes, administrative files, visual materials and case files.  Of particular interest to researchers tracing their family histories is Series XIV, Records of Children and Mothers, 1869-1966, which includes documentation of children placed out via the orphan trains. These records are not complete and due to privacy restrictions, access to records about individuals is restricted; researchers should contact the N-YHS reference staff for more information about gaining access to restricted records.

    National Orphan Train Complex. Concordia, Kansas.
    Housed in the restored 1917 Union Pacific Depot, the National Orphan Train Museum and the Morgan-Dowell Research Center are valuable sources of information about the orphan trains. The museum includes rotating exhibits featuring artifacts from the orphan trains era and the research center houses books, photographs and over 10,000 files on individual orphan train riders. Formerly the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America, this organization publishes the quarterly newsletter Crossroads and organizes an annual celebration for orphan train riders and their descendents.

    New York Juvenile Asylum Records (Childrens' Village), 1853-1954.  Butler Library, Columbia University.
    This collection contains a variety of information, including administrative and medical records, general ledgers and case files.  Of particular interest to researchers tracing their family histories is Series II: General Operation Records, 1853-1954.  The series contains information about individual children cared for by the agency, as well as Parent Surrender Forms and Transfer Slips.  Apprentice Records also detail the experiences of older children who were sent West.

    Stearns History Museum Research Center. St. Cloud, Minnesota.
    The Research Center houses a variety of materials relating to the orphan trains, including oral history interviews with, and biography files about, orphan train riders who lived in Stearns County. There are also manuscript collections and books of local significance.

    The Victor Remer Historical Archives of the Children's Aid Society, 1836-2006 (bulk 1853-1947).  New-York Historical Society Museum & Library.
    This collection contains official correspondence, photographs and case files.  Of particular interest to researchers tracing their family histories is Subseries XI, Records of the Children's Emigration, Placing-Out, and Foster Home Programs, which includes case files of children placed out via the orphan trains.  There are over 900 boxes of individual case files and 100 volumes of surrender documents relating to groups traveling west.  These records are not complete and due to privacy restrictions, access to records about individuals is restricted; researchers should contact the N-YHS reference staff for more information about gaining access to restricted records.

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