Source Information

Ancestry.com. New York, Orphans Placed in the New York Foundling Hospital and Children's Aid Society, 1855-1925 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.
Original data:

Inskeep, Carolee.The Children's Aid Society of New York: An Index to the Federal, State, and Local Census Records of Its Lodging Houses (1855-1925). Genealogical Publishing Co. Baltimore, MD, USA. 2000.


Inskeep, Carolee.The New York Foundling Hospital: An Index to the Federal, State, and Local Census Records [1870-1925). Genealogical Publishing Co. Baltimore, MD, USA. 2004.

About New York, Orphans Placed in the New York Foundling Hospital and Children's Aid Society, 1855-1925

Between 1853 and 1929, an estimated 200,000 poor, abandoned and orphaned children were shipped from New York City orphanages to western families for adoption. These children were placed primarily by the New York Foundling Hospital (NYFH) and the Children's Aid Society (CAS) and are now referred to as "Orphan Train Riders." Information as to the identities of a large number of these children has been preserved in federal and state censuses taken between 1855 and 1925, as well as in the 1890 New York City police census, and represents a potential boon to the descendants of these foundlings. This collection contains a two-volume work that encompasses the "Orphan Train Riders" from NYFH.

The names in the first volume represent 13,000 children who lived in the Roman Catholic New York Foundling Hospital between 1870 and 1925. The names were extracted from the following enumerations conducted at the hospital: the 1870 and 1880 federal censuses; the New York City Police Census of 1890; the federal censuses of 1900, 1910, and 1920; and the New York State censuses of 1905, 1915, and 1925. The orphans are arranged chronologically by census, and alphabetically thereunder, though only a handful of names exist for 1870. The descriptions vary from census to census; however, in virtually all cases they provide the individual's name, race, sex, age, and status (inmate versus caretaker). Researchers should note that, although not included in this work, they may find references to the birthplace of the child's parents in the 1920 federal census and references to the birthplace of each child in the 1925 New York State census.

Mrs. Inskeep's Introduction to the work consists of an extremely informative history of the NYFH, complete with references to living conditions, immunizations, nursing, schooling, recreation, sources of funding, number of placements, etc.

The second volume, the sequel to Mrs. Inskeep's 1995 work on the orphans from the New York Foundling Hospital, treats the residents of the Children's Aid Society. While it is estimated that the Society placed as many as 30,000 children in permanent homes, the names in this volume represent the 5,000 children who lived in one of the dozen or so lodging houses of the Children's Aid Society long enough to be counted as a resident in one of the federal, state, or city enumerations conducted between 1855 and 1925. The orphans are arranged chronologically by census, and alphabetically thereunder. The descriptions vary from census to census; however, in virtually all cases they provide the individual's name, race, sex, age, and status (inmate versus caretaker). Researchers should note that, although not included in this work, they may find references to the birthplace of the child's parents in the 1920 federal census and references to the birthplace of each child in the 1925 New York State census.

Genealogists, students of social history, and persons intrigued by the resurgence of interest in orphanages will find Mrs. Inskeep's Introduction compelling reading, particularly her history of the Children's Aid Society, the influential role played by the Rev. Charles Loring Brace, and descriptions of the lodging houses. The author has added a bibliography of contemporary sources for our further edification.