Monday, June 16, 2014

Motivation Monday: Orphan Train

My local book club meets tomorrow, and we will be discussing Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline.  This historical fiction / realistic fiction novel includes the story of (fictional) 91-year-old Vivian Daly, who is an orphan train rider.

Set in 2011 in Maine, Vivian's story flashes back first to 1929 in New York City, where Irish immigrant Niamh Power lives in a tenement with her parents, two brothers, and younger sister.  After a fire kills the rest of her family, Niamh is taken in by the Children's Aid Society and is put on an orphan train heading west.  She ends up in Minnesota, and goes through a series of placements before finding a loving family.  You can read my review of this novel here.

After reading the book, I'm eager to see the keynote presentation at this year's Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2014 Conference (#FGS2014) in late August in San Antonio.  On Thursday morning, August 28, at 8 AM, presenters Phil Lancaster and Alison Moore will "combine live music, a video montage with archival photographs and interviews of survivors" into the multimedia presentation "Riders on the Orphan Train," about "the Orphan Trains that carried over 250,000 orphans and unwanted children across the United States between 1854 and 1929."  I was also interested to learn from the FGS blog that the last such train stopped in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

This program by Austin residents Moore, an author who has written a novel with the same title as the presentation (which I plan to read next), and her husband Lancaster, a musician, is the official outreach program for the National Orphan Train Complex museum and research center in Concordia, Kansas.  Moore and Lancaster are also on the program Friday afternoon at 4 PM with a session entitled "Paper Trails in Texas: In Search of the Orphan Trains," a follow-up to the keynote where they will "give examples of Texans who braved red tape and closed doors to complete family trees."

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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