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The Children's Aid Society of New York was the primary sending institution involved in the orphan train movement from 1853-1930 which "placed out" by railroad 200,000 orphans, abandoned, or homeless children to 48 states and Canada. In some cases they have records of birth parents.
Map: Google Map.
Internet sites and databases:
Archived records of the Children's Aid Society are housed at the New-York Historical Society. The CAS programs which placed children in homes outside of the city make up the bulk of the CAS collection. These records may be found in Series XI, box numbers 45-971 and volumes 362-473. Boxes 56-971 are restricted and need special permission to be viewed. Many of the volumes in this series are also restricted. Restricted volumes are noted in the container list. Most records involving specific children require special permission to be viewed. Boxes 45-971 include the case files and correspondence of foster or adopted children sent to the country, and of boys who had completed the CAS farm school program and who were then placed on farms for wages.
674.0 Linear feet (996 archival boxes; 490 bound volumes)
$25 fee for research conducted by the Children's Aids Society.
Researchers who wish to personally view restricted children's files or restricted volumes should contact the library of the New-York Historical Society (Phone: 212-873-3400; Fax: 212-595-5707; E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>). These researchers will be referred to a designated specialist from the Children's Aid Society who will interview the potential researcher to determine what he or she may consult and will then supervise the reader's use of the appropriate material. Guidelines currently in place for family history research at CAS, as determined by legal restrictions on the accessibility of adoption and foster care records, will be followed. Such researchers will follow as well the general registration procedures of the New-York Historical Society.
Researchers who wish to view open materials will register at the New-York Historical Society as Manuscript users, and be allowed access to the unrestricted materials in the collection.
Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)
If you cannot visit or find a source at the Children's Aid Society, a similar source may be available at one of the following.
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