Children's Aid Society

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Children's Aid Society

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.
Children's Aid Society office in the Bronx, New York.

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



Children's Aid Society
105 East 22nd Street
New York, NY 10010
Re: adoption search request

Telephone:[1] 212-949-4800

Map: Google Map.

Internet sites and databases:

Collection Description[edit | edit source]

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)[2]

Tips[edit | edit source]

$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: <>). 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.)[2]

Guides[edit | edit source]

  • Guide to the Records of the Children's Aid Society 1836-2006 (bulk 1853-1947) MS 111 at the New-York Historical Society. This guide contains materials pertaining to emigration programs such as the Orphan Train, foster care and adoption programs operating between 1853-1947, annual reports to 2006, a small collection of materials from 1948-1951, and The Children's Aid Society lodging houses, industrial schools, convalescent homes, health centers and farm schools.[3]
  • Inskeep, Carolee R. The Children's Aid Society of New York: An Index to the Federal, State, and Local Census Records of Its Lodging Houses (1855–1925). Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield, 1996. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.71 J3i. Includes 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890 (police census), 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, and 1925 censuses.

Alternate Repositories[edit | edit source]

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.

Overlapping Collections

  • New-York Historical Society, NYC, houses the Children's Aid Society archives, and some New York Foundling Hospital records, both orphan train sending institutions, as well as has the largest manuscript collection in New York State, many town records, colonial records, newspapers, periodicals, biographies, histories, directories, maps, photos.[4]
  • National Orphan Train Complex, Concordia, Kansas, preserves the records of the children and agents who rode the trains, history of the orphan train movement, stories of the children, photos, artifacts, a rider registry, a speakers' bureau, and the organization's online news.[5]

Similar Collections

Neighboring Collections

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Contact Us at The Children's Aid Society (accessed 27 September 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Guide to the Records of the Children's Aid Society 1836-2006 (bulk 1853-1947) MS 111 at The New-York Historical Society (accessed 28 September 2012).
  3. The Orphan Trains at The Children's Aid Society (accessed 28 September 2012).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 William Dollarhide, and Ronald A. Bremer, America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, UT: Heritage Quest, 1988), 81. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Book 973 J54d.
  5. NOTC Home at National Orphan Train Complex, Inc. (accessed 26 September 2012).
  6. Guide to the Records of the New York Foundling Hospital 1869-2009 MS 347 at New-York Historical Society (accessed 28 September 2012).
  7. List of Holdings in NYC Department of Records (accessed 8 May 2016)
  8. Birth Records in NYC Health (accessed 8 May 2016).
  9. Office of the City Clerk in The City of New York (accessed 8 May 2016).
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 890. WorldCat 50140092; FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  11. Introduction to Family History Centers in Family History Research Wiki (accessed 29 February 2016).
  12. Home in Leo Beck Institute (accessed 5 May 2016).
  13. Dollarhide and Bremer, 125-26.
  14. History of the NYG&BS in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (accessed 5 May 2016).
  15. Irma and Paul Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy in New York Public Library (accessed 16 October 2010).
  16. Collections in Archives of the Archdiocese of New York (5 May 2016).
  17. Dollarhide and Bremer, 83.
  18. Vital Records in New York State Department of Health (accessed 6 May 2016).
  19. Dollarhide and Bremer, 4.
  20. New England Historic Genealogical Society in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia (accessed 30 August 2010).
  21. Dollarhide and Bremer, 5, 57, and 59.
  22. Gwenn F. Epperson, New Netherland Roots (Baltimore: Genealogical Pub., 1994), 37-43. WorldCat 29980509; FHL Book 974.7 D27e.
  23. Holland Land Company in SUNY Fredonia (accessed 22 November 2013).