Orphan Trains of Nebraska

Thanks to A Country Rag for the wonderful train picture.


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From 1854 to 1929, signs like this were posted and published all across the Midwest. Over 150,000 orphaned, homeless or neglected children were uprooted from the city and sent by "Orphan Trains" to farming communities, primarily in the Midwest, to be adopted out to good homes. In this way, the city of New York was not only drastically reducing their orphan problems, -- they were also aiding others who desperately wanted children. The children were taken by train and often lined up at predetermined stops to be "looked over" and adopted (or in many cases indentured). Those not selected were taken to the next stop in hopes of finding a new home. For many children, life improved because they found homes with loving adults to care for them. Others, however, were not so fortunate, and their lives became more miserable as they found themselves in homes where they were used chiefly for slave labor. (in 1927, there were still 12 states, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, West Virginia, Nebraska and Kansas allowing indenture of children who had been turned over to poor farms or county authorities) And even though the "Orphan Train" brings thoughts of poor orphaned children, this was not always the case. Many of the children still had parents, but their family could not care for them and put them into state run homes, until they could get back on their feet. When the official transporting of children was ended in 1930, the migration of these children encompassed 47 states!

The Howard Hurd Story

In Memory of Howard Hurd
13 Oct 1921- 17 Jan 2002

Howard Hurd, known as Howie, took immense delight in sharing his story, and that of other riders to anyone that was interested. School projects were one of his favorites, and he was a wealth of information. He and his brother Fred kept the spirit of the Orphan trains alive, and we at the NEGenWeb will continue to carry on his mission.. seeking riders, answering questions, and telling the stories of the riders.

The Sedlacek Story

Stories from other riders

If you have Rider stories or newspaper articles to share.. please contact me!

Arrival Announcements

Orphan Train Rider Obituaries

If your ancestor was a child of the Orphan Train you can contact the following agencies for further assistance. (However, you MUST know your ancestors name). Birth information, etc. would make the search easier.

Children’s Aid Society
Office of Closed Records
150 East. 45 St.
New York, N.Y. 10017

New York Foundling Hospital
Dept. of Closed Records
590 Avenue of the Americas
New York, N.Y. 10001

NATIONWIDE "HOMECOMING" DRIVE TO LOCATE AND BRING TOGETHER ADOPTEES, FORMER FOSTER CHILDREN AND THOSE WHO CARED FOR THEM Historic child welfare agency plans "homecoming" event and builds online community at www.nyfoundling.org (New York, NY - November 11, 2008) - Thousands of adoptees, former foster children and those who cared for them, divided by generations and scattered across the country, will have a unique opportunity to come together as The New York Foundling, one of America's oldest and largest child welfare agencies, organizes a "homecoming" for all those connected with The Foundling's 140 year history. Founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1869, The Foundling has launched its 140th year of service by asking that anyone with a story of connection to the agency share those pieces of their lives at www.nyfoundling.org. The goal is to build a "virtual family room" - an online network of connection where history will come alive through the stories of people The Foundling has helped to save - a place where they can forge new relationships with countless others who share the same past - a history that links back to The Foundling. Next year's "homecoming" in New York and the virtual community of Foundling alumni being created in advance of that event, will be part of The Foundling's 140th anniversary celebration. From its early days, when desperate mothers left their babies in a bassinette outside the front door of what was then called The Foundling Asylum, to the era of the "Orphan Trains," when children traveled by train to the future homes of their adoptive families - The New York Foundling, which was also previously called The Foundling Hospital, has evolved into a major child welfare provider with a diverse range of services and has lived up to its simple motto: "Abandon No One." "This homecoming is more than merely a plan to unite people physically in one place - although that is an important part of it," said Bill Baccaglini, The Foundling's Executive Director. "We are also creating an online community, where people who have been connected personally or through their families to The Foundling over the years can join with others and share their common experiences." Information about the homecoming and the online community can be found at www.nyfoundling.org. All those who visit the site will have the opportunity to share their stories of connection publicly through a wide variety of online content that The Foundling will help to produce. On October 9 - 12, 2009, The Foundling is planning a weekend in New York City where alumni will trace the agency's history firsthand through its astounding collection of archival materials, experience The Foundling as it is today - a broadly expanded network of social services programs, and forge relationships with each other that can continue to grow through The Foundling's online communities. The Foundling is also inviting doctors and nurses trained through its programs, volunteers, relatives of foundlings, and anyone else with a New York Foundling story to share, to visit www.nyfoundling.org. About The New York Foundling Founded as a home for abandoned children, The New York Foundling has been saving children, preserving families and building communities since 1869. The agency helps children, youth and adults in need through advocacy and through preventive and in-care services that help each individual reach his or her potential. In the tradition of openness and compassion of its sponsors, the Sisters of Charity, the agency touches the lives of more than 13,000 people each year in the New York City area and in Puerto Rico as it upholds its guiding principle:Abandon No One.www.nyfoundling.org. New York Foundling New York City, NY 212-886-4002

To learn more about the children of the Orphan Train contact ---
Orphan Train Heritage Society of America
P.O.Box 322
Concordia, KS 66901-0322

Other Orphan Train Reunions

Orphan Trains

The Last Orphan Train

Orphan Trains to Kansas

Orphan Trains to Missouri

Orphan Train to Grundy County, Missouri

Orphan Trains to Wisconsin

Orphan Trains to Iowa

Partial List of Iowa Riders

Orphan Trains to Indiana

Orphan Train on PBS

Orphan Train Links

Orphan Train Information at Nebraska State Historical Society


Bits and Pieces


Victoria Geyger, Orphan Train Rider To Exeter, Nebraska>


Email: Lee (Marlin) Schneider,
NEGenWeb Orphan Train Coordinator

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