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Orphan Trains - Waiting To Be Wanted

Hattie May Forbes of Boston, Massachusetts, was placed on an orphan train in 1888. At the age of 9, she traveled to Goshen, Indiana, to an unknown foster parent from the life she knew back east - A. M. Bradford.
(Orphan Train Index, South Bend Area Genealogical Society,, accessed 11/30/2017)

Between 1853 and 1929, over 200,000 children were taken off the streets of Eastern major cities from either abandonment, homelessness, or surrendering, and placed in homes across the Midwest and Texas. It is estimated that less than half of these children were truly orphans, but surrendered by living parents. And thus the birth of the foster care system was created.

Some had prearranged homes awaiting, and some dressed in their Sunday best, stood on the station platforms, and awaited to be wanted. There were those who would be adopted because a couple wanted children, many were placed as an additional home worker.

Orphan Train Indexes are appearing across the web, either through the agency that placed the children on the trains, or through individual state genealogical societies. If you believe that your ancestor was placed through an orphan train, search "Orphan Train" and include the possible state of birth and/or arrival. Every effort is being made to supply as much information as possible so that you can adequately trace your family history.

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