New York Foundling Hospital

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New York Foundling Hospital

The New York Foundling Hospital was one of the two main sending institutions 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. The New York Foundling Hospital is administered by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.
New York Foundling Hospital entrance.

Contact Information


No adoption-search requests may be answered by email.


New York Foundling
Record Information Department
Attn: Yvonne Wintz
590 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011

Telephone:[2]  212-206-4171

Map:  Google Map

Internet site: Records Information at The New York Foundling contact information, affiliate of NY State Adoption and Medical Information Registry, inquiries, and rebuilding adoptees' personal stories.

Collection Description

The New York Foundling's Record Information maintains records on orphan train riders and on people who have been in foster care or adopted. They provide non-identifying and medical information to adults who have been adopted. Adopted parents may also receive medical information. When authorized by New York State, they may be able to provide identifying information to birth parents, siblings, and adoptees.[2]

They respond to inquiries from those who have a history with them personally or, after their deaths, to their children and grandchildren. Due to the volume of requests they are unable to respond to inquiries regarding aunts, uncles and cousins. They strive to locate information from all possible sources.[2]

They help clients rebuild their personal stories. For the first time, many people begin to understand why they were placed into care and the circumstances of their family’s life. This knowledge gives clients a greater understanding of their past and helps diminish the painful sense of secrecy and loss that many have carried. Most of our clients take away a stronger sense of self and connection to the Foundling.[2]

The Foundling  has individual case files of orphan train riders and other adopted children including some notes from mothers.[3]

The New-York Historical Society  has The Foundling's minutes and annual reports; correspondence and memos; bound registers and other administrative volumes; pamphlets, brochures and fliers; legal documents; reports; grant proposals; manuals; birth certificates; clippings and periodicals; published books; audiovisual materials, including some restricted volumes about orphan train riders.[3]


Please note: For privacy reasons, no adoption search requests may be answered via email.[2]


  • Guide to the Records of the New York Foundling Hospital 1869-2009 MS 347 at New-York Historical Society. The collection documents the programs of the New York Foundling Hospital, 1869-2009, and the St. Agatha Home for Children, which operated separately from the Foundling beginning in 1884, before merging into the Foundling in 1977. The collection at the NYHS includes much orphan train information, but no case files from the placing-out and boarding-out program. Those records remain at the New York Foundling Hospital.
  • Inskeep, Carolee R. The New York Foundling Hospital: An Index to Its Federal, State and Local Census Records (1870–1925). Baltimore, Md.: Clearfield, 1995. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.71 J3in. Includes 1870, 1880, 1890 (police census), 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, and 1925 censuses. Alphabetical list of children, sisters, and workers.

Alternate Repositories

If you cannot visit or find a source at the New York Foundling Hospital, a similar source may be available at one of the following.

Overlapping Collections

  • New-York Historical Society houses the Children's Aid Society archives and some of the New York Foundling Hospital records, both orphan train sending institutions, as well as other manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, histories, directories, maps, and photos.
  • National Orphan Train Complex 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.

Similar Collections

Neighboring Collections

  • Municipal Archives has New York City birth, death, and marriage records; the 1890 police census; city directories; voter registrations; almshouse records; and municipal government records.
  • Division of Vital Records births 1910-present, and deaths 1949-present.
  • Vital Records Section of the New York State Dept. of Health, Menands, NY, for outside New York City births and deaths (1881-present), and marriage licenses (1880-present). Also, all divorces since 1963.
  • Courts: city, state, and federal.
  • New York Public Library Genealogy Division has an outstanding collection of American history at national, state and local levels; international genealogy and heraldry in Roman alphabets; Dorot Jewish collection; photos; New York censuses, directories, and vital records.
  • New York State Library, Albany, has local histories, genealogies, atlases, church, cemetery (including DAR), city directories, microfilmed newspapers, censuses, passenger lists, and periodicals.
  • New York State Archives, Albany, has manuscripts, vital record indexes, land grants, maps, military, court, alien depositions, prisoners, Erie Canal passenger lists, wills, estates, and state censuses.
  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, New York City has censuses, city directories, church, cemetery, Bible, land, probates, genealogy, local history, and manuscripts.


  1. Contact Us at The New York Foundling (accessed 28 September 2012).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Records Information at The New York Foundling (accessed 28 September 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Guide to the Records of the New York Foundling Hospital 1869-2009 MS 347 at New-York Historical Society (accessed 28 September 2012).