February 25, 2009

2009 Declared Year of the British Home Child

Between 1869 and the early 1930s, over 100,000 impoverished or orphaned children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. These children were known as British Home Children.

They came as young as babies to age 18. An estimated 12 per cent, or four million, of Canadians are descended from a British Home Child.

New Brunswick is the first province in Canada to recognize the contribution of the British boys and girls brought to Canada a century ago by declaring 2009 the Year of the British Home Child.
"The Great Britain of the late 19th century was marred by poverty, pollution and social imbalance," Justice Minister T.J. Burke told the Legislative Assembly after tabling his motion of the declaration on Dec. 16, for which he received unanimous support of the house

As a result of the devastation in Great Britain, a number of charitable organizations emerged to create the British Child Immigration Movement. Both the Canadian and British governments supported the program, which reduced the cost to British taxpayers and provided Canada with workers and young children for adoption.

But once here, the children who came along with their unusual accents, faced the pain of separation from their families, ridicule from communities and even their new families, abuse and often horrendous working conditions as labourers and domestic helpers on farms across the province. [Source: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/city/article/542738]

You can search theBritish Home Children ships passenger lists from 1865 to 1935 on Library & Archives Canada website.

If you find a name of interest, and if the child was a part of the Dr. Barnardo's homes, you can contact Barnardo's for the records. They can be reached at aftercare@barnardos.org.uk

My husband has a British Home Child in his ancestry and sending to Barnardo's for his records provided a wealth of informative genealogical detail plus photographs of the child when he was admitted to Barnardo's Homes in 1897.

Marj Kholi's Young Immigrants to Canada website is another must for those seeking a British Home Child ancestor. Descendants can also check the British Home Children Registry for a name of interest.

Another website of interest will be the British Home Children Descendants site.

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