Research Resources

For those wishing to research the Collections held at the Foundling Museum please see the links below where you will find recommended print and online resources.

If you would like to find out about researching the Foundling Hospital Collection please click here.

If you would like to find out about researching the Gerald Coke Handel Collection please click here.

How to find a Foundling

The Foundling Museum is often the starting point for many relatives of former Foundlings seeking information about their family background. As amateur genealogy becomes ever more popular, the surviving relatives of Foundling pupils often hit an information barrier when dealing with past that involves the Foundling Hospital. The Foundling Hospital kept meticulous records of all the children who passed through the institution, some of which are available to the public today.

The Foundling Hospital Archives are held by London Metropolitan Archives. The archive consists of over eight hundred linear feet of shelving, an estimated eight tons of paper, and over one thousand plans. Records cover many elements of the children’s lives and the activities of the Hospital and include the General Registers, Petitions, Baptism Registers, Inspection Books, Nursery Books and Apprenticeship Registers. For information on opening times and the services provided by the London Metropolitan Archives please visit their website. A quick guide to tracing a foundling in the records held at the London Metropolitan Archives is available here.

Due to the Data Protection Act, registers containing personal information about named individuals remain closed for one hundred and ten years. However, former pupils of the Foundling Hospital and their relatives can request information from closed records by contacting the Adoption and Permanent Families Service at Coram. The Adoption Services at Coram Family also provide a counselling service for anyone who wishes to talk about any aspect of the Foundling Hospitals history that may have affected their lives.

Image: Admission to the Foundling Hospital by Ballot, etching by Nathanial Parr after painting by Samuel Wale © Coram in the care of the Foundling Museum