Orphan Train Riders: Entrance Records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York, Volume 2 by Tom Riley; 282 pp; paperback; 5½x8½; Published: 2006; alpha.; ISBN 0-7884-3644-9; Item # HBR3644
Orphan Train Riders: Entrance Records from the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York, Volume 2 - Tom Riley. This volume of records from the “surrender books” of the American Female Guardian Society’s Home for the Friendless in New York spans the years 1880-1930. The books contain records of children being admitted and discharged from the homes. Nearly 250,000 children were fostered out to families across the United States via the “orphan trains.” Orphan train riders and their destinations are identified in some of these records. Volunteers from the Orphan Train Heritage Society of America painstakingly copied the surrender books, which had been left to the Rockland County (New York) Historical Society. These records were found in an old barn at The Rockland County Historical Society in New City, New York, by the author who realized their historical significance. They were later sent to The Orphan Train Heritage Society. The American Female Guardian Society was a nineteenth-century temperance organization that established orphanages and homes for unwed mothers and battered women: “homes for the friendless.” Some of the children in the homes were orphans, but some were “surrendered” by parents who were simply unable to take care of them. Recently, several Orphan Train Rider organizations have been formed, providing opportunities for the riders to reunite with family and loved ones, and to seek sources such as these surrender book records that may hold clues to their roots. The number of children who were sent on orphan trains is continually being updated as new information comes to light. The latest figures are in the 400,000-500,000 range.