History on Elm: Orphan Train Mystery in Missouri

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

SHSMO Center for Missouri Studies

605 Elm St.

Columbia, Mo.

From 1854-1929, orphanages in New York sent an estimated quarter million children westward to live with new families. Most of those children knew nothing about their own origins and how they came to be in an orphanage. In this presentation, Dr. Greg Markway gives a history of the orphan train movement and what it was like for those children coming to Missouri. Markway also tells the story of his grandfather who rode the train in 1901, and how his grandfather longed to know his own history. Modern DNA testing revealed his grandfather's family and the broader story of America at the beginning of the 20th century.

About the speaker: Dr. Greg Markway is a descendant of a child that rode on the orphan train. He has done extensive research tracing his grandfather’s journey to Missouri. Markway serves on the Board of Directors for the National Orphan Train Complex. In 2019, he spoke at the 150th anniversary celebration of the New York Foundling Hospital. Markway created the Facebook group, Orphan Train DNA, where he helps other descendants trace their genetic histories. He and his wife, Barbara, are psychologists and have written several books together. They live in Jefferson City.