|ORPHAN TRAIN RIDERS OF NEW YORK (MIDWEST)
|Orphan Train Rider Research Contacts and Links
|Mary Ellen Johnson of Springdale, Arkansas, affectionately known as the "orphan train lady" recognized a need for the preservation of artifacts, histories, and information involving the
children of the train. In 1986, she established the National Orphan Train Heritage Society of America (OTHSA), a solitary clearing house retaining collections of Orphan Train history.
The organization changed tenure in 2008, and is known as the National Orphan Train Complex, inc. (NOTC), located in Concordia, Kansas.
Their contact information is:
Archives that document the stories of tens of thousands of New York children whose lives were saved by The Children's Aid Society starting in the mid-nineteenth century was given to
the New York Historical Society in 2006, to preserve, catalog, and protect holdings of handwritten ledgers that kept track of children and families, "surrender books," which noted what
families individual children were placed with the U.S., flyers that were posted at railway stations to alert towns people that the Orphan Trains were coming and photos. The archives
date from the founding of Children's Aid, in 1853 to about 1930. Future archive transfers will include Children's Aid records from 1930
to the present. For additional information call;
Telephone 218-873-3400 or write
The New York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024 or
The Children's Aid Society, 150 East 45th Street, New York, NY 10017, Attn: Dept of Records or telephone 212-949-4938,
The New York Foundling, 590 Avenues of the Americas, New York, NY10011. Attn: Development or telephone 212-886-4043.
The City of New York, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Records, 125 Worth Street, CN 4, Room 133,
New York, NY 10013-4090
New York State Department of Health, Corning Tower, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12237.
Vital Records website; http//www.health.state.ny.us/vital_records, records in New York State, and outside New York City.
Division of Vital Records, P.O. Box 3776, Church Street Station, New York, NY 10007
New York Juvenile Asylum Records, The Children's Village, Echo Hills, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Jim Gehrlich, Medical Center Archives, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, 1300 York Ave #34 New York, NY 10021-4805
or telephone 212-746-6072, fax 212-746-8279,
website http://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.
Renee Wendinger proudly displays her book, "Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New York," which is the culmination of a lifetime of research.
2011 Winner of the National Indie Excellence Award
About the Author:
Renee Wendinger is from southern Minnesota and is the youngest of five children. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. Renee's mother, Sophia (Kaminsky) Hillesheim, was
one of the children of the orphan trains taking part in a phenomenal journey from New York City to the Midwest. Inspired events documenting experiences. Renee an avid
historian has research the epoch of the largest mass migration of children to occur in American history for many years. This is her first book.
Renee is a speaker on the subject of the orphan trains and immigration experience offering a historical slide symposium to educators and schools, community and civic
organizations and libraries and historical centers.
Christina Baker Kline, Novelist, editor from New York. Novel in progress "Orphan Train", about identity and family history. Christina was keynote speaker at the 49th Annual Orphan
Train Reunion October 17, 2009 - Little Falls, MN.
Orphan Train Riders Making a Difference
A group of railroad historians who want to make a difference by providing train ride itineraries to orphan train riders and their families. They are located
across American and work through the internet. While none of us have ever met, we want to work for you. In addition to individuals, our partners include the
Lakes State Railroad Historical Association (Baraboo, WI) and the Upper Musselshell Historic Society (Harlowton, Montana) If you are interested in learning
about your orphan train rider's itinerary, please feel free to contact us at: John Shontz
Making a Difference, 603 South Oakes Street, Helena, Montana 59601 or email