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Orphan Train Riders to Iowa  Orphan Train Riders

This project is being rebuilt and dedicated to Madonna Harms (see memoriam) who spent many years gathering much of the information being placed here. All files of the original site are credited to Madonna.
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Welcome to 'Orphan Train Riders to Iowa' website! Children 'placed out' during the Orphan Train Era (1853-1929) and their descendants have particular research problems.  We hope to educate you a bit on this subject and help you further your research on any ancestors you may have that came to Iowa on one of the infamous Orphan Trains.

This website is here for you to tell the story of your family's Orphan Train Rider, as well as to try and help you find information that may add to your research.  If you have questions or comments please email me and I will do my best to help you.

Beginning sometime during 1853, charitable institutions in New York City began sending orphans on trains to the west to find new families, hoping the children would fare better out west than on the streets of New York. Orphan trains began arriving in Iowa during 1854 ending about 1930.  During this time over 5000 children were placed in Iowa homes.
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