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  • 10 Mar 2023 10:37 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by TheGenealogist:

    The 1871 Census for England, Scotland and Wales has, for the first time, been georeferenced on TheGenealogist. This is the process of linking a record to a geographical spot and means you can now see where a household stood with links to detailed maps on the powerful Map Explorer™. This is set to make investigating the places where ancestors lived in this year even more interesting for family and house historians. 

    Viewing a household record from the 1871 census on TheGenealogist will now show a map pinpointing its location. Clicking through from this preview map opens the powerful Map Explorer™ with its georeferenced modern and historical maps. This then enables subscribers to explore their ancestors’ area in much greater detail than on other census sites.

    1871 census household pinpointed on Map Explorer™ 

    Joining the earlier census releases, which saw the 1911, 1901, 1891 and 1881 census linked up to the powerful mapping tool, researchers can now easily identify with just the click of a button where their forebears had once lived and get a sense of the routes their ancestors used. 

    Using these linked maps allows researchers to trace the thoroughfares that ancestors may have walked down as they went shopping, or popped into their local pubs for a drink. Researchers can likewise, work out the routes that their forebears may have taken to get to their nearby churches, or find the shortest way to their places of work and the direction they needed to go in order to reach their nearby park for relaxation. Historical maps can also reveal where the nearest railway station was to their home, important for understanding how our ancestors could have travelled to other parts of the country to see relatives or to visit their hometown.

    With this powerful resource, Starter, Gold and Diamond subscribers of TheGenealogist can look into their ancestors’ neighbourhood from home on their computer screens, or even access the census and the relevant maps on their mobile phone as they walk down the modern streets.

    The Greater London Area, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire along with most towns and cities can be viewed down to the property level, while other parts of the country will identify down to the parish, road or street.

    Albert Mansions and Albert Hall

    In this particular census year, Queen Victoria opened the Royal Albert Hall, Gilbert and Sullivan premiered the first of their light opera collaborations at the Gaiety Theatre in London and a technologically advanced lighthouse was switched on near Tyne and Wear. 

    Read our article “Putting 1871 on the map” to discover more as Nick Thorne takes a look at events in 1871 and brings context to the census records. 

    About TheGenealogist

    TheGenealogist is an award-winning online family history website, who put a wealth of information at the fingertips of family historians. Their approach is to bring hard to use physical records to life online with easy to use interfaces such as their Tithe and newly released Lloyd George Domesday collections. 

    TheGenealogist’s innovative SmartSearch technology links records together to help you find your ancestors more easily. TheGenealogist is one of the leading providers of online family history records. Along with the standard Birth, Marriage, Death and Census records, they also have significant collections of Parish and Nonconformist records, PCC Will Records, Irish Records, Military records, Occupations, Newspaper record collections amongst many others.

    TheGenealogist uses the latest technology to help you bring your family history to life. Use TheGenealogist to find your ancestors today!

  • 10 Mar 2023 7:15 AM | Anonymous

    The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

    Lancashire, Barrow-in-Furness Shipbuilding & Engineering Employees 

    Travel back to the early 20th century with this brand-new collection, covering shipbuilding and engineers from Lancashire. These 96,374 records normally give a name, date of birth, the department worked in, address, and duration of work. They also include around 1,300 female employees from the First World War period.  

    United Kingdom, Commemorative Plaques

    Discover famous faces and great deeds in this second new collection of the week. These 12,785 commemorative plaques remember figures like Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Pankhurst, and even Hodge, the feline friend of Samuel Johnson. Depending on the plaque, you may find a name, date of birth, date of death and address. 


    Findmypast’s newspaper publishing is taking a short break this week, as they undertake essential maintenance in preparation for even more upcoming rich newspaper content.

  • 9 Mar 2023 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    The next significant genealogy conference appears to be New England’s Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) which is returning to the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, May 3-6, 2023. NERGC 2023 will feature 8 session tracks with 100+ talks, 7 workshops, a large exhibit hall with vendors and genealogical societies, SIGs, Ancestors Road Show, Society Fair, the Libraries, Archives, and Museums Showcase, and so much more.

    Whether you are a genealogical novice just getting started or a seasoned professional, there is something at NERGC 2023 for you. The conference will cover the full gamut of New England genealogy, from colonial-era research to genetic genealogy, from military research to writing for publications, from methodology to technology. There are talks that focus in on each of the New England states, as well as various ethnic groups in New England, including Native American, African America, Irish, French Canadian, Jewish, and Polish.

    The main conference starts on Thursday, May 4th, but those who plan to arrive in Springfield a day early can sign up to participate in one of our four pre-conference tracks on Wednesday May 3rd:

    • Revolutionary War
    • Advanced DNA
    • Jumpstart Your Research
    • French Canadian Research

    There will also be four two-hour workshops later Wednesday afternoon:

    • Prove It! Writing a Winning Proof Argument” (Nora Galvin)
    • Getting to the Heart of Land Records (Sara E. Cambell)
    • Solving Photo Mysteries: Approaches & Analysis (Maureen Taylor)
    • Bridging The Decades: Little-Used Clues From the Census ( Elissa Scalise Powell).

    Learn While You Eat

    Along with presentations galore on the full panoply of topics related to New England genealogy, several of the lunches and dinners will have a speakers:

    • Thursday Lunch (sponsored by MGC) will feature David Rencher speaking on “The Future of Records Preservation.”
    • Friday’s Dinner Banquet (sponsored by CSG) will feature Michael Strauss speaking on “Prisoners, Thieves, and Scoundrels: Your Black Sheep Ancestors.”
    • Saturday Lunch (sponsored by CAS) will feature Debra Dudek speaking on “Every Girl Pulling for Victory– Suffrage and Service During the Great War.”
    • Saturday’s Dinner Banquet (sponsored by MSOG) will feature Dr. Michael Lacopo speaking on “Top Ten Things I Have Learned in Four Decades of Genealogical Research.”
    • For Friday’s lunch, you become the speaker (in a sense) at Table Topics (sponsored by NEAPG) when you sign up for a table focused on a specific area of research and talk with like-minded genealogists over your lunch.

    Thursday afternoon at 5:30pm starts the Society Fair, where tables are setup outside the Exhibit Hall for smaller genealogical societies and family associations, giving attendees the opportunity to visit with them and learn more about their organizations. Over twenty societies have signed up for Society Fair, and you can find them listed here.

    A similar opportunity is provided during the day on Friday and Saturday for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and you can find them listed here.

    You can read a lot more in the conference's web site at:

  • 9 Mar 2023 3:20 PM | Anonymous

    Whether referred to as “the Sherry Black bill” or SB.156, a new bill is regulating investigative genetic genealogy and which information law enforcement can access. 

    As predicted by the Center for Genetics and Society, CGS, at the start of 2021, 100 million people had taken at-home DNA tests. 

    Utah’s SB.156 outlines how law enforcement can use and access this data.

    According to bill sponsor Utah State Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Salt Lake, if you submit DNA and consent to external law enforcement use, your DNA data is fair game. 

    “[Law enforcement] has to be using only databases that have made the consumer aware that [their] data could be used for that purpose,” Rep. Eliason told KSL NewsRadio. 

    You can read more at:

  • 9 Mar 2023 1:47 PM | Anonymous

    A Senate committee meeting to vote to advance President Joe Biden's pick to run the National Archives and Records Administration was postponed Wednesday shortly before its start, again delaying action on Colleen Shogan. 

    The committee rescheduled the vote for March 15 on Thursday morning. 

    Shogan's nomination has been held up in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee since August, when Biden first tapped her to be National Archivist.

    The meeting was postponed because the "two-hour rule" was invoked, according to a committee aide. The two-hour rule prevents most committees from meeting if the Senate has been in session for two hours or past 2 p.m., unless a deal is struck, according to the Congressional Research Service.

    Shogan and the White House did not immediately respond to inquiries. 

    The National Archives has been running without a permanent leader since May, a situation that experts say makes it hard for an interim leader to plan fixes to long-term problems. Aside from the high-profile classified documents issues, the agency faces a backlog of requests for veteran service records, records that need to be declassified, and longtime struggles with funding. 

  • 9 Mar 2023 1:31 PM | Anonymous

    I don't receive many notices of Croatian genealogy events so I am delighted to announce this one. If you have Croatian ancestry, you will want to know about a Croatian genealogy seminar with Robert Jerin from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22 at Croatian Hall, 610 Broad St., Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

    Attendees will learn how to research their Croatian roots, how to locate important Croatian records and how to translate Croatian records and names, the meanings of surnames and categories of surnames, along with additional genealogy research tips.

    Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

    Cost is $35 per person and includes a digital copy of Jerin’s book, “Searching for Your Croatian Roots.”

    Deadline to register is April 8.

    Reservations, including name, email address and phone number, can be mailed to Patty Respet at CFU Lodge 5, 612 Broad St., Johnstown, Pa. 15906.

  • 8 Mar 2023 7:50 PM | Anonymous

    From an article by Kelly Kultys  published in the Fordham University web site:

    In the first half of the 20th century, the Bronx was home to hundreds of thousands of Jewish residents, many of whom had immigrated with their families in the late 1800s and early 1900s from Europe. More than 600,000 Jewish people lived in the borough in the late 1940s, but by 2003, just about 45,000 were left, according to a 2002 Jewish Community Study by UJA-Federation.

    For Sophia Maier, a senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, interest in Bronx Jewish history was sparked when she interviewed her grandparents about their upbringing for a Bronx history course at Fordham.

    “I said, ‘all right, well this is really important,’” she said. “So I did my thesis on doing oral history interviews with folks who grew up in the Bronx and left during the period of white flight in the 60s and 70s and into the 80s.”

    She added that her research, which included interviews with more than 40 community member so far, focused mainly “on the 40s, 50s, and into the early 60s—a lot of those folks are people whose grandparents immigrated to this country, typically from Eastern Europe.”

    “Since they came into this country, there has been this sort of upward movement—both geographically and on a class basis, starting out on the Lower East Side, or Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in this kind of crowded tenement living, [and then]folks moved up to the South Bronx, or then further up into the Northwest Bronx.”

    Maier and Reyna Stovall, a sophomore at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, shared their research on March 1 at “Jews in the Bronx: Archival and Oral Histories,” an event hosted by Center for Jewish Studies. They were joined by Daniel Soyer, Ph.D., professor of history; Ayala Fader, professor of anthropology; and Ayelet Brinn, Ph.D., the Philip D. Feltman assistant professor of modern Jewish history at the University of Hartford who did postdoctoral research at Fordham.

    The students’ work is at the heart of a new initiative of the Center—the Bronx Jewish History Project, which was publicly launched at the event. Maier’s interviews, paired with Stovall’s archival research, are the basis for the project, Sarit Kattan Gribetz, Ph.D., associate professor in the theology department, said. It was also partially inspired by the Bronx African American History Project, which was founded by Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African and African American studies.

    Magda Teter, Shvidler Chair of Judaic Studies and co-director of the Center for Jewish Studies, helped introduce and combine the students’ work into a larger project that will live beyond their time at Fordham, Gribetz said.

    “Through our new initiatives at the Center for Jewish Studies, we’re collaborating across generations and fields to collect, preserve, share, and learn from these stories,” Gribetz said.

    You can read more at:
  • 8 Mar 2023 7:45 PM | Anonymous

    If you were not at RootsTech 2023, you can watch the video of it at:

    Actor Sean Astin's presentation begins about 10 minutes into the video.

  • 8 Mar 2023 7:11 PM | Anonymous

    Experienced genealogists are always aware that they must verify information by looking at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We should know better than to believe a statement on a web site, in a genealogy book, or a verbal statement from Aunt Tilley about the "facts" of our family trees. However, what is the definition of an "original document?"

    Let's take one well-known claim of an original document that isn't really accurate: the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Almost all American schoolchildren are familiar with this document; and, if we paid attention in class, we know that the document is on display at the U.S. National Archives building in Washington, D.C. In fact, millions of us, myself included, have visited that building to view the document on display. However, how many of us were ever told that the document displayed in Washington is not the original, hand-written document? Instead, it is one of many copies that were produced on a printing press.

    No, this isn't a story plot from a Nicholas Cage movie. In fact, the document displayed at the National Archives building in Washington, D.C. is a copy made by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress, during the evening of July 4, 1776, after the original, hand-written document was given to him. Admittedly, the original and the copies made by John Dunlap had no signatures. The "copy" now on display at the National Archives is the only copy that was actually signed by each delegate and therefore is the one that we can now refer to as the real Declaration of Independence. However, it was produced on a printing press and is not the original, hand-written piece of paper.

    The original Declaration of Independence was written by hand by Thomas Jefferson. After making alterations to his draft as suggested by Ben Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson later recalled that, "I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the Committee, and from them, unaltered, to Congress." 

    The committee sent the hand-written manuscript document, probably Thomas Jefferson's "fair copy" of his rough draft, to John Dunlap, official printer to the Congress. Dunlap printed the copies on the night of July 4, 1776. It is unknown exactly how many copies were printed, but the number is estimated at about 200. On the morning of July 5, copies were dispatched by members of Congress to various assemblies, conventions, and Committees of Safety as well as to the commanders of Continental troops. Also on July 5, a copy of the printed version of the approved Declaration was inserted into the "rough journal" of the Continental Congress for July 4. The text was followed by the words, "Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, John Hancock, President. Attest. Charles Thomson, Secretary." 

    Twenty-six copies are known to exist today of what is commonly referred to as "the Dunlap broadside," 22 owned by American institutions, 3 by British institutions, and 1 by an unknown private owner. A list of their present locations may be found on Wikipedia at

    All of these copies were unsigned as they were printed before approval had been granted by the 13 colonies. Each delegate had to await approval from his home colony before being allowed to sign.

    Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776. While the document was APPROVED by the delegates on July 4, several weeks were required for the document to be printed and distributed to all 13 colonies for approval, and then some more time to re-assemble all the delegates again in Philadelphia. Delegates were not authorized to sign until after their home colony had approved the document and that required some time back in the days before instant communications.

    One of the "Dunlap broadside" copies was signed by all the delegates in attendance on August 2, 1776, and that copy now is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Therefore, the document that most people think of as the U.S. Declaration of Independence is not the original, hand-written document. It is a copy, although it is the only SIGNED copy. The copy on display in Washington was printed on a printing press, but each delegate signed this one copy by hand.

    If Thomas Jefferson's memories were correct, and he indeed wrote out a fair copy which was shown to the drafting committee and then submitted to Congress on June 28, the original document has not been found. "If this manuscript still exists," wrote historian Ted Widmer, "it is the holy grail of American freedom." 

    What does this have to do with our searches for accurate genealogy information? A lot.

    In all cases, we should strive to look at original documents or a microfilm or digital image of an original document. We then document our efforts by recording a "source citation" that refers to the location of the original document. In recent years, many genealogists also include a digital image of the appropriate part of the original document.

    Wikipedia defines a citation this way: "Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source)." Bold text added by myself for emphasis.

    Elizabeth Shown Mills, probably the leading expert of today when it comes to recording genealogy source citations, has written no less than two books on the subject for genealogists: Evidence Explained; Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace and Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian. Mills states that the best source is an original source, one created at the time an event occurred. However, she also states that a source can be either an original or derivative document. Let's focus on the word "derivative."

    In the example of the Declaration of Independence, we note that the original, hand-written document has been lost. For all we know, printer John Dunlap may have tossed the original into a local trashcan after he finished making his copies. Of course, that is just a guess. Nobody knows what happened to the hand-written original. However, the existing twenty-six copies still meet Elizabeth Shown Mills' definition of an acceptable source citation. It is a "derivative document" that was made at nearly the same time as the original, probably within a few hours, and apparently is an exact copy of the original. Therefore, it is believable.

    Of course, not all derivative documents are exact copies. For instance, let's consider the U.S. Census records. In most cases, the enumerators (census takers) visited homes, asked questions, and wrote the answers in small notebooks or something similar that they carried with them. We can only imagine what the notebooks contained. Can you imagine the words written by an enumerator with poor handwriting, traveling around the countryside on horseback or on a small wagon in the 1800s and recording his words with a quill pen and ink of questionable quality? Some of these enumerators traveled in rain or sleet or snow. We have to assume that some of these pages got wet. Perhaps a few pages became unreadable or were even lost.

    At a later time, the enumerator went home or to an office or perhaps to a local tavern, got out the official enumeration pages that we all know and love, and transcribed his findings from the notebooks to the worksheets. He then sent the worksheets to his superiors, where the worksheets became the official record. Most of the worksheets have been preserved while most of the notebooks were discarded. 

    What do we see today when we look the census records online? Do we see the enumerators' hand-written notes from their workbooks, made at the time of each visit? Or are we viewing the official forms that were filled out later, also hand-written? You probably already know the answer: what we see online and in microfilms are images of documents made within hours or days AFTER the original visit. These are derivative documents.

    There is nothing wrong with using a derivative document. In fact, it is all we have in most cases. A derivative document was made at or shortly after the original event by a person who had full knowledge of the facts involved. Genealogists will generally accept a derivative document as a suitable "original" source citation.

    You can find thousands more examples of citing "original" sources that are really derivative documents. Most birth records made by town clerks prior to the twentieth century were recorded by men or women who were not present at the birth. They weren't midwives; they were town clerks! They recorded what was told to them by reliable witnesses, often the mother or father or perhaps the doctor or midwife in attendance at the birth. Marriage records were often the same. Town clerks may not have attended the marriage ceremony; but, in most cases, the clerks recorded information given to them at a later date by the clergyman who performed the ceremony.

    The list goes on and on. Death records, military service records, and thousands of other documents were not recorded at the event by the individuals involved and often not within hours. Instead, these documents were recorded by clerks and clergymen and others shortly after the event and were based upon information provided by the principal(s) involved. In some cases the description was verbal while in other cases the clerks transcribed written information created earlier. 

    Land transfer records recorded in deed books were rarely written by the individuals who bought or sold land; they were written by clerks who listened to the descriptions provided by the principals involved. Probate records typically were transcribed from original, often hand-written wills, often years after the will was written and always after the person who perhaps wrote the will had died. 

    While these may be derivative records, we still accept them as primary source citations.

    NOTE: In contrast, secondary sources are generally those records created after a passage of time. Examples include an elderly person recounting events in his or her youth or an author of a genealogy book recording the life events of people who have been dead for many years or other people whom he or she has never met. Secondary sources are never as reliable as primary sources.

    Now that we have examined both kinds of primary sources (original and derivative) as well as secondary sources, a question arises: Just how reliable are derivative (primary) sources?

    Genealogists generally consider primary sources to be reliable, including derivative sources. After all, these records were made at or shortly after the event and were recorded by eyewitnesses or, in the case of derivative records, by transcribers who were given information by eyewitnesses. Yes, we all know that eyewitness reports occasionally contain errors, but are usually correct. 

    How about derivative records where the information was recorded by a third party, using information provided by eyewitnesses? Can we really trust the enumerator's record made some hours or days or even a few weeks after visiting our ancestors? Could he read his own writing, smudged from rain or melting snow? If he was sitting at a fireplace in a warm and cozy tavern, already having consumed a few drinks, can we believe his written recollection of a visit made a few days earlier? Did the residents give him correct information? Or did he obtain his info from a neighbor who may or may not have known all the correct answers? 

    When an eyewitness provided information to a clerk, can we always believe that both parties understood clearly what was said and the information recorded by the clerk is a true and faithful recording of the facts provided by the eyewitness?

    For an example, I will offer the 1910 census record for my great-grandparents in a small town in northern Maine. The enumerator lived in the same town and recorded his own family on another page of the same census. (That is one record that I would believe!) He wrote his place of birth as "Scotland." Therefore, we can assume that he spoke with a Scottish accent, perhaps a very strong accent.

    My great-grandparents were Joe and Sophie Theriault. (My great-grandfather was often listed in many records as Joe, but never listed as Joseph.) "Theriault" is a common Acadian French-Canadian name. They lived in the same town. The enumerator recorded that neither of them was able to speak English. Can you imagine that conversation? A Scotsman with his accent trying to ask questions and obtain answers from someone who could not speak English? It is no wonder that their last name was recorded as "Tahrihult."

    To make matters worse, there was another couple in the same small town with the same names: Joseph and Sophie Theriault. However, they were listed with different children and different dates of birth and marriage. The enumerator then spelled their last name correctly! I assume the correct information was recorded for them because the enumerator listed them as being able to speak English. That should have been an easier, and probably more complete, conversation. Yet all of these are derivative records, written by the enumerator a few hours or days after his interview and assisted by the notes he made in his notebook.

    Similar errors have been repeated thousands of times in census records and probably elsewhere as well.

    Let's return to the original question: How accurate are derivative records where the information was recorded by a third party, using information provided by eyewitnesses?

    I believe the only correct answer is: Derivative records made at or shortly after the event are generally correct, but we should always be aware that there are exceptions. All derivative records should be treated as “probably correct”–with a strong emphasis on the word PROBABLY.

  • 8 Mar 2023 6:41 PM | Anonymous

    From the 1850s through the 1920s, New York City was teeming with tens of thousands of homeless and orphaned children. To survive, these so-called "street urchins" resorted to begging, stealing, or forming gangs to commit violence. Some children worked in factories and slept in doorways or flophouses. The children roamed the streets and slums with little or no hope of a successful future. Their numbers were stunningly large; an estimated 30,000 children were homeless in New York City in the 1850s.

    Charles Loring Brace, the founder of The Children's Aid Society, believed that there was a way to change the futures of these children. By removing youngsters from the poverty and debauchery of the city streets and placing them in morally upright farm families, he thought they would have a chance to escape a lifetime of suffering.

    Brace proposed that these children be sent by train to live and work on farms out west. They would be placed in homes for free, but they would serve as an extra pair of hands to help with chores around the farm. They wouldn't be indentured. In fact, older children placed by The Children's Aid Society were to be paid for their labors.

    The Orphan Train Movement lasted from 1853 to the 1920s, placing more than 120,000 children. Most of these children survived into adulthood, married, and had children of their own. Several million Americans today can find former Orphan Train children in their family trees. 

    Orphan Trains stopped at more than 45 states across the country, as well as Canada and Mexico. During the early years, Indiana received the largest number of children. There were numerous agencies nationwide that placed children on trains to go to foster homes. In New York, besides Children's Aid, other agencies that placed children included Children's Village (then known as the New York Juvenile Asylum), what is now New York Foundling Hospital, and the former Orphan Asylum Society of the City of New York, which is now the Graham-Windham Home for Children. Not all the children were from New York City. Children from Albany and other cities in New York state were transported, as were some from Boston, Massachusetts, where the Boston Children's Services merged with the New England Home For Little Wanderers, which also is still active today. 

    Only a few of the Orphan Train children are alive today, and most were too young at the time to remember their experiences. However, a few elderly Americans can recall their experiences on the Orphan Trains.

    Stanley Cornell and his brother are amongst the last generation of Orphan Train riders. When asked about his experience, Mr. Cornell replied, "We'd pull into a train station, stand outside the coaches dressed in our best clothes. People would inspect us like cattle farmers. And if they didn't choose you, you'd get back on the train and do it all over again at the next stop."

    Cornell and his brother were "placed out" twice with their aunts in Pennsylvania and Coffeyville, Kansas. Unfortunately, these placements didn't last, and they were returned to the Children's Aid Society.

    "Then they made up another train. Sent us out West. A hundred-fifty kids on a train to Wellington, Texas," Cornell recalls. "That's where Dad happened to be in town that day."

    Each time an Orphan Train was sent out, adoption ads appeared in local papers before the arrival of the children.

    J.L. Deger, a 45-year-old farmer, knew he wanted a boy, even though he already had two daughters, ages 10 and 13.

    "He'd just bought a Model T. Mr. Deger looked those boys over. We were the last boys holding hands in a blizzard, December 10, 1926," Cornell remembers. He says that day he and his brother stood in a hotel lobby. 

    "He asked us if we wanted to move out to farm with chickens, pigs, and a room all to your own. He only wanted to take one of us, decided to take both of us."

    Life on the farm was hard work

    "I did have to work and I expected it, because they fed me, clothed me, loved me. We had a good home. I'm very grateful. Always have been, always will be."

    Cornell eventually got married. He and his wife, Earleen, now live in Pueblo, Colorado. His brother, Victor Cornell, a retired movie theater chain owner, is also alive and living in Moscow, Idaho.

    Stanley Cornell believes he and his brother are two of only 15 surviving Orphan Train children. 

    Some of the children struggled in their newfound surroundings, while many others went on to lead simple, very normal lives, raising their families and working towards the American dream. Although records weren't always well kept, some of the children placed in the West went on to great successes. There were two governors, one congressman, one sheriff, two district attorneys, and three county commissioners, as well as numerous bankers, lawyers, physicians, journalists, ministers, teachers, and businessmen.

    The Orphan Train Movement and the success of other children's aid initiatives led to a host of child welfare reforms, including child labor laws, adoption and foster care services, public education, and the provision of health care and nutrition and vocational training.

    The Orphan Train Heritage Society of America in Concordia, Kansas, serves as a clearinghouse of information about the estimated 150,000 children who were "placed out" from 1854 to 1929. It helps members establish and maintain family contacts, retrace their roots, and preserve the history of the Orphan Train Movement. Look at and at for more information. 

    Other web sites that provide information about America's Orphan Trains may be found at, and at

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

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