How to Find Old Orphanage Records? (2024) | Genetics Ancestry

Old Orphanage Records

Orphanage records carry a lot of historical and personal information. This makes them very valuable resources. They have all the information about the children who grew up in there, the people who took care of them, and the institutions themselves. 

About Orphanage Records

Orphanage records, mostly preserved in archives, libraries, or digital databases, carry the past. 

Mount Loretto Orphanage records are important in the history of child welfare in Staten Island, New York. Established in 1882 by the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (MIV), these records have information about the lives of children who found refuge and care there. They contain details about admissions, educational progress, and perhaps even personal histories. Accessing specific records from Mount Loretto Orphanage records might require contacting local archives, institutions, or historical societies. These records preserve the memories of those who once called Mount Loretto Orphanage their home.

St. Vincent Orphanage records are in Philadelphia. The institution has always been providing care and support to orphaned and vulnerable children. These records are admission registers, educational progress reports, photographs that capture moments from the past. Accessing these records requires navigating through archives and historical repositories. They are a reminder of the dedication to a brighter future for many children in Philadelphia.

Buckner Orphanage records are a legacy of the Buckner family’s commitment to helping vulnerable children. Founded in 1879 by Dr. Robert Cooke Buckner in Dallas, Texas, the orphanage became a sanctuary for many children in need as did the Buckner orphanage records. Chicago orphanage records belong to children who found solace and care in the Windy City. Father Baker Orphanage records are a legacy of Father Nelson Henry Baker, Father Baker Orphanage records are available on enquiry. Father Pennsylvania Orphanages records are a chapter in the history of child welfare in the Keystone State. 

All the above share the same good will and getting access to their records requires similar procedures.

Why Are Orphanage Records Important?

Orphanage records serve several vital purposes:

  1. Genealogical Research: If you are searching for your family history, orphanage records can help you find previously unknown relatives.
  2. Historical Insight: Historians use orphanage records to study social and demographic trends
  3. Adoption and Reunion: Orphanage records are used in reuniting adoptees with their birth families or finding information about their adoption.
  4. Validation of Stories: For former residents of orphanages, these records validate their personal histories and experiences.

Finding the owner of a grave plot is not an easy task, but Genetics Ancestry shares all the pertinent information about the grave plot, historical deeds, and records from the old orphanage.

How to Know Who Owns a Grave Plot?

How to Find Orphanage Records?

To find orphanage records, begin your journey by gathering important details. Once you have put together this data, contact local archives, libraries, and historical societies, as they may have these. 

How to Find Old Orphanage Records?

Finding old orphanage records is not easy. Find out everything you can about the orphanage and the person you are looking for. Contact local archives, libraries, and historical societies, they often have these records. Online resources and digitized archives are worth exploring. 

The steps on how to find old orphanage records are as follows:

Step 1: Put Together Information

Key details include:

  • Orphanage Name: Knowing the name of the orphanage is important because of locating records. If you do not know the specific orphanage, try to gather information about the location where the person lived during their time in care.
  • Names and Dates: Get the full names and birthdates of the individuals you are looking for. Having alternative spellings or variations can be helpful.
  • Location: Find the location where the orphanage was situated, including the city, state, or country.

Step 2: Get in Touch with Local Archives and Libraries

Many orphanage records are kept in local archives and libraries. Contact these institutions to inquire about what they may have. Here’s how:

  • Search Online: Begin your search by using search engines or library catalogs to find archives or libraries that might have relevant records.
  • Contact Archivists: Once you have found potential repositories, contact the archivists or librarians for guidance. They can provide information on available records, access policies, and appointment requirements.

Step 3: Go to Adoption and Child Welfare Agencies

Share of households with orphans and foster children under age 18 in Nigeria as of 2018

How to Find Old Orphanage Records

If the individual you are looking for was adopted, adoption agencies and child welfare organizations may hold records related to placements and adoptions. Here’s what to do:

  • Contact Adoption Agencies: Reach out to adoption agencies that were active in the area where the adoption occurred. They may have records of to the adoption process.
  • Check State Adoption Records: Some states keep adoption registries and adoption records. Check with the relevant state agency to ask about access.

Step 4: Use Online Resources

These days we can access orphanage records online. Try these online resources:

  • Genealogy Websites: Websites like,, and often have orphanage records in their databases. Search using the information you have put together.
  • Online Archives: Some archives and historical societies have digitized their collections. Use search engines to identify relevant websites.

Step 5: Join Genealogy Forums and Communities

Genealogy enthusiasts often share information and resources on forums and social media groups. Participate in these communities to seek assistance and connect with others who may have similar research interests.

  • Ask for Help: Do not refuse to ask for help or advice in these online spaces. 
  • Step 6: Consider DNA Testing

DNA testing services like Ancestry DNA and 23andMe can help you find biological connections and relatives.

Types of Orphanage Records

Type of Orphanage Record Description
Admission Records Contain information about the child’s admission
Case Files Hold information on the child’s history and reasons for admission.
Medical Records These are files about the medical history of the child i.e. sickness, treatment, and more
Educational Records These hold information about the child’s education and progress.
Financial Records Documents capturing any expenses, grants, or donations would be kept here
Legal Documents Information regarding the adoption of the child, court orders, and adoption certificates

How do I find Old Orphanage Records Online?

Finding old orphanage records online is not easy. Start by using search engines to look for digitized archives, websites, and online repositories. Many institutions have made their records accessible via the Internet. 

How do I find Old Orphanage Records for Free?

Finding old orphanage records for free can be quite a task. Many local libraries and historical societies offer free access to orphanage records, so try to check their websites or pay them a visit. Also, state and national archives have digitized records accessible at no cost. Engaging with online communities can help.

How to Look Up Adoption Records for Free?

Looking up adoption records for free is possible. Here’s how to start your search:

  1. Check Online Adoption Reunion Registries: Websites like, Adoption Reunion Registry, and ISRR provide free access to reunion registries. You can post your information and search for matches.
  2. State Adoption Agencies: Some states have opened adoption records to adoptees and birth parents. Check your state’s policies and contact the relevant state agency to request records if they are available.
  3. Social Media: Join Facebook groups and forums dedicated to adoption searches. Many adoptees and birth parents use these platforms to connect and share information.
  4. Library and Archives: Local libraries and state archives may have non-identifying information about adoptions. Try paying them a visit or contacting them for assistance.
  5. DNA Testing: It is not free but DNA testing services like AncestryDNA and 23andMe can help provide leads to biological relatives and adoption information.

One of the easiest ways to find someone’s obituary is to search through online and print newspapers. Genetics Ancestry also provides comprehensive data related to obituaries.

Find an Obituary for a Specific Person

How to Access State Adoption Records?

  1. Know the State Laws: Adoption record accessibility varies by state. Look for your state’s laws on adoption record access. Some states have open records, while others have restrictions.
  2. Contact the State Vital Records Office: If your state has open records, reach out to the State Vital Records Office. 
  3. Access Intermediary Services: Some states offer intermediary services, where a neutral third party can help facilitate contact between adoptees and birth parents. Petition the Court: In states with restricted access, you can petition the court to unseal adoption records. Consult an attorney familiar with adoption law for guidance.
  4. Join Online Adoption Communities: Online forums and social media groups often have members who have successfully navigated the process. They can offer advice and support on accessing adoption records in your specific state.

how to find old orphanage records

How to Find Adoption Records?

Check free online adoption reunion registries and social media groups dedicated to adoption searches. 

Is it Possible to view Adoption Records Online?

Yes, you can view some adoption records online. Various adoption reunion registries, genealogy websites, and social media groups offer access to adoption-related information.

Can you Search Adoption Records by Birthdate? 

Yes, you can search adoption records by birthdate. Many adoption reunion registries and online resources allow you to filter searches using birthdates, making it easier to locate potential matches and gather information about adoptions.

How to Find Adoption Records on Ancestry?

To find adoption records on ancestry:

  1. Create an Ancestry Account: If you don’t already have one, sign up for an Ancestry account.
  2. Start with What You Know: Begin your search with the information you have, such as names and birthdates.
  3. Access Public Records: Ancestry offers access to various public records, including birth, marriage, and census records. 
  4. Use DNA Testing: If you have taken an Ancestry DNA test, you may discover matches with biological relatives who can help you put together your adoption information.


Orphanage records provide us with knowledge about the lives of those who lived in these institutions. By following the steps find old orphanage records and uncover the stories they hold.

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How can I access old orphanage records?

Contact the relevant government archives or orphanage institutions for assistance.

Are old orphanage records available online?

Some orphanage records may be digitized and accessible on government websites or genealogy platforms.

What information can I find in old orphanage records?

Typically, you can discover details about residents, admission dates, family backgrounds, and more.

Are there privacy restrictions on accessing old orphanage records?

Yes, some records may have privacy limitations, so it’s essential to check the relevant laws and regulations.

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