Thursday, February 27, 2014

Looking for Orphan Trains at the Cincinnati History Library & Archives

Cincinatti Union Station
CityImages: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0

I managed to find a few hours to research at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, located in the beautiful Union Station. What an amazing building, and so appropriate for museums and archives. The staff at the archives was delightful. I’m sorry I did not get the name of the person who helped me so much. Once she found out what I was researching she went out of her way to think of sources that might be helpful.
While I did not locate the exact “orphan train” I was looking for, I did find lots of useful information about orphanages in the area. Many of the staff did not realize that there were orphan trains from Ohio, believing  as many people do,  that they all originated in New York. I showed them some information that children were indeed sent out from Ohio orphanages. In a nine year period one of the “visitors” from one orphanage logged nearly 180,000 railroad miles placing and visiting children, according to an annual statistical report by the Cincinnati Children’s Home.
My interest in orphan train children began with one line in a family history of a family I was researching. It has become a major interest of mine, in part because it involves a huge number of children, and partly because I used to do social work with abused children and their families. Every time I do a presentation about orphan trains, I have people in the audience with orphan train children in their family who are looking for answers about their heritage.
I hope to follow up at the public library in Cincinnati, starting with local newspapers to find information about the particular trip I'm looking for in 1892.

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