Institutional records are another class of collections that should be part of one’s genealogy research repertoire. Although most of your ancestors may not have spent time in an institution, I’ll bet that almost every family tree has several that have. So they are worth your effort to research.
Here are a few good primers for searching institutional records:
- FamilySearch – Institution and School Records
- Finding Your Ancestors in Poor House or Poor Farm Records
- Researching Ancestors in Asylums
What kind of institutions and types of records can we discover?
- Poor Farm
- Orphan Train
- Mental Hospital
- Institutional School
- Correctional institutions
Acquiring records from each of these types of institutions may be difficult because of privacy concerns, but they are worth the effort.
(Updated August 2023)
Just click on your state of interest to be directed to the Free Online Institutional Records for that state:
- Delaware Institutional Records
- District of Columbia Institutional Records
- Maryland Institutional Records
- New Jersey Institutional Records
- New York Institutional Records
- Pennsylvania Institutional Records
- Virginia Institutional Records
- West Virginia Institutional Records
Good Luck and Happy Hunting!