Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Child Emigration from Britain - Canada

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


Image right - Boy ploughing at Dr. Barnardo's Industrial Farm, Russell, Manitoba, 1900. In 2010, the photo was reproduced on a Canadian postage stamp commemorating Home Children emigration.
Image right - Collections Canada Public Domain, Wiki Commons

Child emigration was undertaken by religious and charitable organisations. One of the earliest of these being The Children's Friend Society founded in London in 1830, as the Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy, through the reformation and emigration of children.

Between 1870 and 1914 some 80,000 child emigrants, often known as "British Home Children", were sent out to Canada alone, many as part of the Farm School Movement. After the interruption of the First World War child migration recommenced and following the Empire Settlement Act of 1923, and Australia became the main destination instead of Canada due to the effects of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Child migration schemes continued until the outbreak of the Second World War, by when the numer of child emigrants was nearer 100 000.

After arrival the children were sent to distributing homes, such as Fairknowe in Brockville, and then sent on to farmers in the area. Although many of the children were poorly treated and abused, others experienced a better life in Canada than if they had remained in the urban slums of England.

There were a number of organisations responsible for the emigration such as: Barnardo’s, Annie Macpherson, Maria Rye, Fegan Homes, Dr. Stephenson and the National Children’s Home. Due to the sheer volume of profiles involved there are separate projects for these and all similar organisations. Links to them can be found in the list of connected projects on the right.

The object of this project is to be a starting point for the task of identifying any child emigrants whose family histories have been added to Geni and linking them into the list below. The links of interest below show what an overwhelming number of children were sent to Canada - we can only touch the surface on this project. The names of many of these children have been added to the individual projects, mostly involving just single profiles with what information is known about them.

To participate in any project

- you do need to first be a collaborator - so please join the project using the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page. Visit Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance. See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

How to add a link is explained in the attached document - Adding links to Geni profiles in projects.

A listing of links from records in the index to the 1901 Census to the Home Children records at the Library and Archives Canada web site.

Ships to Canada

  • Concord Captain Hick for Quebec
  • George Canning for Halifax

Only one child - Layton, Joseph – apprenticed to Mr. Edward Ward of Halifax as a printer

  • Eleutheria Captain Wheatley, for Montreal, Lower Canada
  • Active for Montreal, Lower Canada
  • Englishman Captain W. Sharp
  • Hinde Captain Custard for New Brunswick.
  • Toronto for Montreal, Lower Canada. (Under the care of Mrs. Sturt, as Matron, and Mr. John Bourhill, as the General Superintendent during the voyage out).
The Children's Friend Society - Master Canadian List