Question #14 – 1/16/2007 How do we find out about a family member that was in an Orphanage?

 Hello Mike,
My grandmother, along with her 3 sisters and one brother, lived in a children’s home in Arkansas in the mid 1920’s (maybe 1926 to 1932). I wanted to know if the building where she lived was still around or if I could find more information about that place. I live in CA and would love to travel there. Do you have any ideas? Thank you Marcia.

Unfortunately, many of the facilities that existed in the 1920s no longer exist.  They either closed or were absorbed by other facilities.  However, even if the facility still exists, it may have very little information that would be helpful to you.  I work at a facility that has been open since 1895.  The only building we have that is older than 40 years is our original building, designated a historical landmark and with several remodels over the years it looks nothing like it did in the 20s or even 60s.  All the living areas are now offices. 

As far as records go, our history for the first 50 plus years of existence is recorded in one loose leaf book.  We didn’t start keeping extensive records until the 1980s.  We have more pictures from the last year than from the first 50 plus years, so there is not a great deal of information available.

If you know the name and location of the facility you can try doing a search on your favorite search engine. (Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc.).  You may be able to find contact information for it that way.  If that doesn’t work, you can try contacting the local chamber of commerce or historical society and see if they might have information about the orphanage. Chances are if it still exists, it has also changed names.  We changed our name from orphanage to children’s home in the 1980s, so you may have to do some serious detective work.  If the facility still exists you should be able to find something, if not, there won’t be much to find.

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