Orphan train research helps find foster children between 1853 and 1930 who rode trains from New York City, Boston, or Chicago to new homes in other states or Canada. The genealogy of many of these 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, or homeless children can often be traced back to the Children's Aid Society, or the New York Foundling Hospital, among others.
| National Orphan Train Complex
| Orphan Train Museum at the Union Pacific Railroad station, grand opening in 2007 at Concordia, Kansas.
- National Orphan Train Complex
- 300 Washington St.
- PO. Box 322
- Concordia, KS 66901
Hours and holidays:
- Tuesday thru Friday: 10:00am-Noon, and 1:00pm-4:00pm
- Saturday: 10:00am-4:00pm
- Closed: Sunday, Monday, and all national holidays
Directions: Google Map
Internet sites and databases:
- National Orphan Train Complex Internet site: history, rider stories, events, news, rider registry, research, FAQs, educational material, and national speakers bureau.
- Orphan train research facilities addresses and links in New York, New England, and Nebraska.
- State orphan train groups in AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MN, MO, NY, TX, and, WI.
The National Orphan Train Museum and Research Center (a.k.a. Complex) collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate knowledge about the orphan trains, the children and the agents who rode them. This includes the history of the orphan train movement, and the stories of the children, photos, artifacts, and an archival collection. Also, they maintain a rider registry, a speakers' bureau, and the organization's online news.
Admission: $5.00 Adults; $3.00 Children under 12; $4.00 Group rate for 10 or more people.
If you cannot visit or find a source at the National Orphan Train Complex, a similar source may be available at one of the following.
- National Archives Central Plains Region (Kansas City), censuses, military, pensions, naturalizations, photos, for IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD; Internet access to Ancestry, Heritage Quest, and Footnote.
- National Archives I, Washington, DC has homestead applications for Kansas.
- Family History Library, Salt Lake City, 450 computers, 3,400 databases, 3.1 million microforms, 4,500 periodicals, 310,000 books of worldwide family and local histories, censuses, civil, church, immigration, ethnic, military, and Mormon records.
- Kansas Historical Society indexes, photos, letters, diaries, newspapers, maps, censuses, vital records, family histories, land records, railroads, and county place information.
- American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, NE, has Russian geography info, church records, civil records, maps, family histories, photos, and surname charts, newspapers, U.S. arrival lists.
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment, .
- Kansas Genealogical Society, Dodge City, .
- Topeka Genealogical Society, .
- Shawnee County Historical Society, .
- Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library Ancestry.com, America's Obituaries, HeritageQuest Online, and the Topeka Room with local interest materials.
- Wichita State University Library, Wichita, .
- University of Kansas Library, Lawrence, .
- Iola Public Library, .
- Shawnee County Register of Deeds, .
- District Court Clerk, .
- Shawnee County Probate Court Clerk, .