Kansas Resource

Many families of Kansas can trace their genealogy roots to the orphan trains which ran from 1867 to 1930. An estimated 6,000 children were sent from charitable institutions in New York City to Kansas in the hopes that living with families in the west would offer these orphans a better life than living in orphanages in the city.

The Kansas Collection website has a page devoted to the Kansas Orphan Trains. This page includes stories about some of the riders, the history of the movement, transcriptions of newspaper accounts, graphics of some of the riders and a reference section.

Some of the children and the families that took them in are listed in the newspaper accounts so its worth a look to see if you find the name you are looking for. In some cases, the age of the children are also given. If you're looking for a common name, having the age may help pinpoint if you have the correct orphan train rider.

The reference section contains several free genealogy resources of interest. These include a  partial list of the institutions that sent children west, a partial list of the riders, examples of the forms used, a list of trains arriving in Kansas, placing agents of the train and a bibliography that lists books, magazine articles, videos and newspaper articles that contain information on the Kansas Orphan Trains.

Last but not least, the reference section has a page that lists some town name changes. This can be helpful if you know an ancestor arrived in a certain city, but are having trouble locating them in later censuses or other records.

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