Orphanage Records

By Lisa South - Certified Genealogist

Orphanage records records have been kept for at least 200 years. Orphanages were operated by civil authorities, religious groups and priority benefactors. Unfortunately, the records they kept vary in type and are often hard to locate.

In early America, local courts elected or appointed someone to deal with the orphans. If property was involved, the court would appoint guardians. The orphan might have been bound out to learn a trade. These records would be at the county court house. Some are indexed under orphans, apprentices or paupers.

Orphanages maintained by the government kept better records than church or private agencies. These records should be available if the orphanage is still operating. If the orphanage does not still exist, state archives, county court houses and historical libraries should be consulted.

If the orphanage was run by a church, you should check with that church to try and locate records.

Some orphan records have been copied and can be searched at your nearest Family History Center of the LDS church on microfilm or microfiche.

Others may be working on the same family lines you are, and may have already located the records and information you are searching for. OneGreatFamily provides the medium where you can see what work has already been done by others on your family tree. OneGreatFamily is the largest online family tree allowing you take advantage of the work of others. This allows you to focus your time on the areas that still need research, and collaborate with others efforts that may be working on the same genealogy lines.

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