Orphanage records are scarce in Fort Wayne in general. The records of the Allen County Children's Home were “lost” many years ago. What records exist for other locations must be obtained through various agencies. But now The Genealogy Center has two great sources for children who lived at St. Vincent Villa, the local Catholic Orphanage.

St. Vincent Orphan Asylum, originally for girls only, opened in 1867 on 25 acres northwest of Fort Wayne. Over the years, the building deteriorated and in 1932, Bishop John F. Noll had a new facility built to house both girls and boys. Due to difficulties families encountered when one parent died or deserted the family, many so-called orphans of the nineteenth century actually had one parent still living. Such was the case of the twentieth century St. Vincent’s, so Noll called the new facility St. Vincent Villa, to remove the term “orphan.” More than 3500 children lived there over the years.

A scrapbook covering the 1930s to reunions in the twenty-first century, kept by long-time Villa volunteer Bill McCardle, was donated to The Genealogy Center along with copies of “Inter Nos,” the Villa’s newsletter from 1941 to 1954 and a history of the Villa. These items were scanned and are available for review at our website and are searchable through the federated search on The Center’s home page.

Thanks to all who contributed to allowing us to scan these items and making them available.