Friday, November 6, 2009

Diamonds in the Rough -- Findings at Local Area Museums

Researchers may want to look beyond the courthouse to the local museum in their quest for family information. An article on, "Clarinda museum tells area's story," illustrates the type of information -- buried treasure, really -- that can be found in local area museums. Clarinda, Iowa, for example, known as the birthplace of big band leader, Glen Miller and the 4-H was also home to a World War II prison camp. The camp held 3,000 prisoners, mostly German soldiers, as well as some Japanese and a few Italian soldiers.These POWs worked within the community and many returned after the war to visit with local families. The museum holds many artifacts, including photographs of the POWs and some of their art work left behind. Additionally, Clarinda wa a stop on the Orphan Train route, with nearly 10,000 children brought to Iowa homes.

For more information and research ideas, see Museums as a family history resource, and Researching Ancestors Through Museum Collections

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Orphan Trains: The Illinois Apprenticeship Agent

The idea put forth, justifying the shipping the children across the country on so-called Orphan Trains, was for children without family and without means to be placed in the protective care of an adoptive family. Many of the children ended up as indentured laborers in a forced labor situation, in which there was really no escape until they became of age. In her article, "Orphan Trains: The Illinois Apprenticeship Agent," Judy Rosella Edwards give a brief history of the New York Juvenile Asylum and recounts the placement of children "apprenticed" through the organization's Chicago branch, some 4, 557 children.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

National Oprhan Train Complex Now Open

In her article, "National Orphan Train Complex Opens," Melissa Slate says it is estimated that around two million people are descended from an Orphan Train rider, children orphaned for one reason or another who were shipped across the country and to Canada and put up for adoption. The Museum offers resources for those who have . . . or suspect they have . . . orphan train ancestors.

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