Orphan Train - New York to WI

Orphan Train Cloth Identification Label
Orphan Train Cloth Identification Label

My grandmother, Genevieve Townsend, was born in New York City in October, 1883.  Her mother was an immigrant from England.  At ten days of age, Genevieve was left at the New York Foundling located at 175 E. 69th St. and Lexington Ave.  The only notes provided by the New York Foundling was that "her mother was English and that she was left by an English woman".  It is not known if her immigrant mother was single or married or if she was still living when Genevieve was left at the orphanage. Genevieve joined hundreds of other orphans that were cared for by the New York Foundling.  On a Sun. morning in October, 1887, when she was 4, she was put on an orphan train at Grand Central Station.  She was assigned to a family from Shullsburg, Wisconsin (the Fishers) and was transferred to them on the following Tues. eve. at the Cobb, Wisconsin train station.  Thousands of children from New York were placed in homes in the Midwest through this program operated from 1854 to 1929.  The artifact in the photo is the only reminder of my grandmother's orphan train journey. It gives her name,  date of birth, the family she was "assigned" to and the train stop.  This identification label was sewn to the dress of each girl or the collar of each boy that rode on the New York Foundling orphan trains.  Thousands of children were removed from NY slums to other parts of the US through the efforts of the NY Foundling and the Children's Aid Society. 

Place(s): New York, Wisconsin, Grand Central Station, New York Foundling

– Genevieve Kirchman

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more