Research Library

1 Museum Court

Buffalo, NY 14216-3119

(716) 873-9644 ext. 305

Updated October 22, 2019

Orphan Home Records

These are the only items in our collection that identify children by name in any of Buffalo’s orphanages.  They are not digitized or online and must be used in person. The links provide greater bibliographic detail about each source.

Buffalo Orphan Asylum, 1836-1954

Mss. C82-1

52 bound vols. + 1 card file and 1 box

The card file is an index of children admitted and discharged and is in A-Z order by birth name.  Librarians can check a name for you. The Buffalo Orphan Asylum was nondenominational, meaning that children from any background were admitted. We assume that any renaming of children that may have occurred after being adopted would not be known to Asylum staff and is therefore not reflected in these records.  Bound volumes are organized by administrative function (admissions, departures, minutes, etc.).  The volumes must be consulted in person. A Scholar Pass is necessary to use the volumes.

Erie County Almshouse Register of Inmates, 1829-1877

Microfilm M2015-01, 3 rolls

Later known as the Erie County Poorhouse and the Erie County Home & Infirmary. Orphan children were placed here throughout poorhouse history, though orphan placements tapered off greatly after 1836, when the Buffalo Orphan Asylum opened.

Erie County Children and Orphans Placed at Local Charitable Institutions, 1875-1882

F127 .E6 W478

Drawn from the Proceedings of the Erie County Board of Supervisors. Originally published in installments in the Western New York Genealogical Society Journal starting in September 2014.  Organized in chronological order.

Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Orphan Home, 1865-1961

HV995 .B83 E94 1981

Records of the Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Orphan Home in Buffalo and later in West Seneca, 1865-1961.  A typescript, bound volume of children’s names in A-Z order. Click on the link to see a list of all libraries who have this book.

Holy Innocents Episcopal Orphanage and Home for the Aged, 1896-1925

Microfilm M2010-010

Also known as the Episcopal Church Home and the Church Charity Home. On one roll of microfilm with records from other churches & institutions within the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York.

Bonus: Our friends at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library compiled this detailed guide to Adoption & Orphanage Resources.