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Orphan Train Riders to Iowa  Orphan Train Riders

A huge Thank You to Constance Diamond for recovering all of the records from the 2002 original project begun and coordinated by Madonna Harms and Nettie Mae Lucas.

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Where do I begin?
Where did they live in Iowa?
Orphanages & Placing Agents
Announcements of the arrival of Orphan trains
Railroad Itineraries of Orphan Train Riders
Research aides and Resources: addresses, links,  queries, mail list & more
Riders who came to Iowa: locations, families & more  
Stories and News Articles
Additional State Orphan Train Riders Projects

Iowa Orphan Train Riders Query Board
Post your query here or read queries posted by others.

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Welcome to 'Orphan Train Riders to Iowa' archived 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 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 Linda Z, the IA Orphan Train Site Admin. You are encouraged to use the Post A Query logo link (left column.)

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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