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Monday, February 14, 2011

Secrets in the Cupboard

This is my Dh with his aunt -
Taken last September in Nova Scotia at the wake after a funeral
She was happy we were there - 'no place to be sad' she said
Always remember and celebrate the life of the one who has gone
It doesn't matter how long a life they lived - Its how they lived it that matters

She is the one who left her life in England back in 1945
to move to Canada as a war bride

And its their family I've been researching over the past few weeks

Its been fun doing this and there have been some good moments when things have fallen into place and then some not so good moments when there have been big surprises.

The biggest surprise was when I actually located Aunt Dot's long lost aunt's name on a passenger list of a ship going to Canada in 1902 but the circumstances were not good.

At the turn of the 20th century there was a lot of poverty in England (as well as other countries in the world ) and it seems her father (recently widowed) placed her - the youngest child - into the care of the Waifs and Strays Society.  What happened then also happened to so many other children at that time - she (aged 12) was taken to Canada seemingly for a better chance in life. It appears she went to an intitution in Niagara on the Lake but there is no record of where she went after that

Between 1869 and the mid-1920s, thousands of British children were sent to Canada to benefit from a better life. Orphaned, abandoned, or left by families too poor to care for them, they were represented by over 50 philanthropic organizations in Britain and Scotland. In total, nearly 100,000 children would make the journey across the Atlantic.

Earlier this century, several thousand British children mainly in the care of voluntary organisations were emigrated to former Dominions - mainly Australia, Canada and New Zealand - under several schemes involving the British Government, the Governments of the receiving countries and the voluntary organisations who operated the schemes.

Now I think I'm quite well educated and was aware that lots of children had been brought to Australia particularly after WW2 - but I certainly didn't know the 'scheme' had been going on for so long and the children had been going to other countries as well .

Looks like I'm going to be sitting here for quite a lot longer than I thought!


  1. Really interesting research, dontcha luv ancestry,com?

  2. What an interesting post. I like to read about family histories. I'm glad some thing sfell into place for you.

  3. Oh, yes, the research is fascinating, isn't it. We have found out some interesting things about our family, too.

  4. A person just wonders if the father would have given her up if he had known what was going to happen...

    I am gaining appreciation (and sometimes not so much) for the record keepers!

    Enjoy your searches!

  5. That was a great post, very interesting, now I want to research my family...I enjoyed your post...I hope you had a nice Valentines day! hugs, Jennifer

  6. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work! Thumbs up, and keep it going!

  7. It is interesting that you had a relative that was sent to Canada as a child. In Canada these Home Children are popularly know as Bernardo Children. Thomas Bernardo was acitve in sending "orphans" to Canada. He sent about 30,000 of the 100,000 who came. At a time when children had no rights I am sure the motivation for some was to find a better life of children of the poor in England. Parents gave up their children for better life. Some found it as members of loving families but many were in fact indentured servants. Canada needed farm workers I knew one man that ended up working on a farm all his long life. He never married.

    Today in Haiti this kind of things still goes on. There are 300,000.
    slave children, Restavek. Desperately poor families give up their children in the hope they will get an education and a better life in the city.

    Good luck on your geneological searches. The war brides are nearly all gone now. I think this past year I read that their organization at their last meeting.


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