New Society formed in Alberta
British Home Children Descendants
Calgary Alberta July 2006: How did your parents/grandparents really come to Canada? Do you have only grandparents/uncles/aunts on only one side of your family tree? Unless you are certain they came with their families, chances are they might have been British Home Children. You could be one of 5 million descendants who have inherited their ancestors' lifelong search for their British identities.
100,000 children aged 5-15 were sent to Canada to work as indentured farm labourers and domestic servants as part of the little-known British Child Emigration Scheme (1870-1957). These poor unwanted children lost all ties with their families once 'in care' and many spent their lives trying to find their families with little or no help from the sending agencies.
Over 50 child care organizations (Barnardo, Waifs & Strays) professed a motive of providing these children with better lives in Canada than they would have had in England, but many suffered from child abuse and neglect. They were Canada's 'invisible child immigrants.'
The British Home Children Society was formed by Calgary Psychologist Perry Snow, whose book
Neither Waif Nor Stray: The Search for a Stolen Identity chronicled his own difficult search for his father's family in England. When his father wrote to the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society at age 15 he stated that he hoped they would "help one who has been living in darkness, and ignorant as to who he is." Sixty years later, Perry's father was still hoping they would help. Perry, like so many other descendants have had the torch passed on to them to discover the mysteries of their ancestors origins.
The primary goal of the British Home Children Society is to create a comprehensive database of individual British Home Children records called the
British Home Children Registry. The registry will collect information about each individual child to create an ongoing legacy that will preserve their identities in perpetuity and help descendants discover their family origins. It is the only multi-agency record of the British Home Children known to exist, and currently has +50,000 records.
The British Home Children Society is committed to building an international community of Canadian, American, British, and Australian descendants to assist each other with their searches.