British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa

Home Children - Introduction

Britain had a long history of child migration to its former colonies. Some children certainly arrived in Canada before Confederation in 1867, but it is the estimated 100,000 or more who came to our country between 1869 and 1948 whom Canadians call Home Children. These young people, between the ages of six months and their mid-twenties, were brought to Canada for adoption, or as farm helpers, farm labourers and domestic servants from institutions in Great Britain.
 
BIFHSGO has chosen to place a special emphasis on Canada's Home Children. This is because of the Society's accessibility to the ship and military records at Library and Archives Canada, and to the records of the Family History Center of Ottawa (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), which include its excellent Ontario civil registrations. No other place in Canada has such ready access to these vital research tools, particularly important considering that 70 per cent of Canada's Home Children were settled in Ontario.
 
We are proud to be associated with Library and Archives Canada in two major Home Children projects, both supported by teams of volunteers—the indexing of Home Children names in the passenger lists of ships arriving in Canada from Britain between 1869 and 1948 (started in 1998), and the indexing of Middlemore Home Children arriving in Canada between 1873 and 1933 (started in 2001). In addition, several groups of Home Children settled in Canada by some small agencies are being indexed. The objective is to build a Library and Archives Canada information database to aid descendants of Home Children in their family history research.
 
BIFHSGO acknowledges the influence and encouragement of Dave and Kay Lorente in initiating the Society's indexation projects arising from their outstanding advocacy role on behalf of Home Children and their families in Canada. As the 1991 founders of Home Children Canada, they have assisted countless Canadian Home Children families and/or their descendants to access their personal records. They have also been active in raising national and international consciousness through lectures, reunions, the placement of plaques, and the compiling of Canadian Home Children 's family histories. In June 2003, the Lorentes signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing that BIFHSGO would take over their work of responding to requests for locating Home Children.
 
In summary, BIFHSGO's role in Canada's Home Children story is to establish databases of information about Home Children who came to Canada and to ensure that the information compiled is freely available to all who are interested.