I didn’t open yesterday’s file from my online version of the New York Times. Go figure – that is JUST when they’d decide to write something of genealogical significance. Release of the New York Foundling Asylum’s records by 2009 will come too late for one dear former member of the Manasota Genealogical Society, who was a Orphan Train girl from New York City.
Unfortunately, she has passed on and will not be able to take advantage the records collection.
New York Times
Glimpses of Heartache, and Stories of Survival
By Glen Collins
Published: September 3, 2007
“On a recent afternoon, Mr. Reilly cracked open a ledger book that documented 2,457 babies who were dropped off at the Foundling from October 1869 to November 1871 — many of them left in the legendary cradle that was placed outside its brownstone on East 12th Street off Fifth Avenue.
New discoveries in the collection include an 1869 leather-bound ledger, with entries in the spidery black penmanship of Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbons, the founder of the institution. The ledger details the agency’s minutes, fund-raising and construction plans, including drawings. More mundane items, like an 1891 electric bill for $100.16, have also emerged. The archive includes admissions registers, annual reports, newspaper clippings dating to 1869, dozens of scrapbooks and hundreds of books and videotapes.”
Video tapes, in the 1800s? Hmmm.
“Research in the Foundling’s archives has been entrusted to Richard Reilly, 67, a retired management consultant and history maven. Since December, he has been reviewing and organizing the archive as a member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a Jesuit-run program dedicated to service and spirituality. The Foundling intends to create an archival center and put all of the materials on its Web site in time for its 140th anniversary in 2009.”
Hopefully, the release of this records collection will help my friend's daughter and grandchildren understand more about their mother and grandmother's NYC orphan experience.
Myr friend's adoption story and the life she led have taught me that biological connections aren't the only legacies we leave our posterity. In her case, it is her positive attitude and her sparkly smiling eyes that I recall most.