Research Resources

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Searching local databases is also a good way to find riders.  Many organizations announced the distribution in the newspaper and often listed the children who were taken by local families.  Public libraries generally have microfilm archives of the local newspapers and regional and county genealogical and historical societies may have information about Orphan Trains to the area as well.  If you have a specific date or even a year, it really helps when searching back issues of newspapers.

Division of Vital Records
P.O. Box 3776
Church Street Station
New York, N.Y. 10007

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Records
Albany, NY 12230
http://www.health.state.ny.us

New York Children’s Aid Society
Attn: Records, Paul Clarke
150 East 45th St.
New York, NY 10017
212-949-4847
pclarke@childrensaidsociety.org
http://www.childrensaidsociety.org
($25 Research Fee)

New York Historical Society
(For general information requests concerning the Children’s Aid Society)
New York Historical Society
http://www.nyhistory.org/
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
212-873-3400 ext. 327

New York Foundling Hospital
Record Information Department
590 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011
http://www.nyfoundling.org
212-206-4171
(Ask for “all copies of microfilm records.” You will need to prove immediate relationship. Send in copy of death certificate or your birth certificate and a copy of a photo-ID.)

Brooklyn Home for Children
c/o Forestdale Inc.
67-35 112th St.
Forest Hills, NY 11375

New England Home for Little Wanderers
c/o The Home for Little Wanderers
271 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115 

New York City
Department of Records and Information Services
Municipal Archives
31 Chambers Street
New York, NY  10007
(212) 788-8580

New York Juvenile Asylum
University of Columbia
Rare Book & Manuscript Library
535 W. 116th St.
New York, NY 10027
212-854-5590
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/index.html
(Fill out an email request for information:
rbml@libraries.cul.columbia.edu) 

Brooklyn Nursery and Infants Hospital
c/o Salvation Army Social Services for Children
132 W. 14th St.
New York, NY 10011

New York City Orphan Asylum Records
Westchester County Historical Society
Attn: Chris Marinaro, Curator
2199 Saw Mill River Rd.
Elmsford, NY 10523
(914) 592-4323
info@westchesterhistory.com
www.westchesterhistory.com

New York Infant Asylum
Jim Gehrlich
Medical Center Archives
New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell
1300 York Ave #34
New York, NY 10021-4805
Phone: 212-746-6072; Fax 212-746-8279
http://www.med.cornell.edu/archives

  • Contact for records of the New York Infant Asylum (1871-1909), the Nursery and Child’s Hospital (1859-1905), or the New York Nursery and Child’s Hospital (1909-1934).
  • Must have documentation that the person was an orphan train rider to receive additional information.

National Adoption Information Clearinghouse
http://naic.acf.hhs.gov/parents/prospective/funding/adopt_assistance/

(Nebraska Riders, Possible Stop)
Epworth Village
Kerry Hoffschneider
Public Relations Director
2119 Division Ave.
York, NE 68467
402-362-3353
kerry@epworthvillage.org
(She answers historic inquiries.  The historic name of the orphanage is Mothers’ Jewells Home.)

New York Juvenile Asylum Records

The Children’s Village
Echo Hills
Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
www.childrensvillage.org
914-693-0600 

Tel: 212-678-3494
Columbia UniversityTeachers College Library
Special Collections Dept
525 West 120th Street
New York, NY  10027

Include as much of the following information as you can when contacting record departments.

  • Birth name of rider
  • Birth date
  • Adopted name of rider or family taking in child
  • State, county, and town taken to
  • Date arriving
  • Name of agent
  • Organization sending child