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The Children's Friend Society

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The Children's Friend Society

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

The Children's Friend Society (CFS) was founded in London in 1830, as "The Society for the Suppression of Juvenile Vagrancy through the reformation and emigration of children".

The CFS was founded by Captain Edward Pelham Brenton and run by a group of wealthy philanthropists with the cooperation of the British Government.

Their stated objects was "to reclaim and provide for vagrant children found in the streets without any means of subsistence except by begging or thieving..."

The children were sent to British Colonies which included the Cape of Good Hope, Canada, Mauritius and Australia.

The first group of children was sent to the Cape Colony in South Africa and the Swan River Colony in Australia in 1832, and in August 1833 230 children were shipped to Toronto and New Brunswick, Canada.

Home Children is a common term used to refer to the child migration scheme founded by Annie MacPherson in 1869, under which more than 100,000 children were sent to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa from the United Kingdom.

The Purpose of the Project is to bring together the profiles of these children whose trees are on Geni.

This is the Umbrella Project - Individual Ships will be treated in separate projects and linked to this page under the countries of destination.

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Child Emigration from Britain - Australia

Ships to Australia


Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. Motivated by social and economic forces, churches and philanthropic organizations sent orphaned, abandoned and pauper children to Canada. Many believed that these children would have a better chance for a healthy, moral life in rural Canada, where families welcomed them as a source of cheap farm labour and domestic help.

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.

Child Emigration from Britain - Canada

The Children's Friend Society - Master Canadian List

Ships to Canada

  • Concord Captain Hick for Quebec
  • George Canning for Halifax
  • 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).

New Zealand

Child Emigration from Britain - New Zealand

South Africa

Rootsweb where information is taken from the book "The Children's Friend Society" written by Geoff Blackburn whose permission was obtained [online] to pass on the information regarding the children sent to South Africa.

There are a number of interviews documented on Rootsweb of interest as more family details are sometimes given.

Names mentioned

  • Thomas Coddenham & George Saveall
  • William Henry Evett
  • George Platt
  • Frederick Trumble
  • Thomas Tapner
  • Walter Starkie
  • George Stephenson
  • Benjamin Vickers
  • James Farrel

Master South African List from Heather MacAlister on Rootsweb

Ships to South Africa

See "Other Ships' for those with no embarkation lists

❉ Dates under query 1835 is given in Geoff Blackburn's book "The Children's Friend Society"

  • Maria. Departed London 1 April 1833. Arrived Port Elizabeth 6 July 1833 [2]
  • Vine Departed Downs on 6 May 1833 - arrived cape Town 24 July 1833 [3]
  • Britannia Departed Downs on 28 May 1833 and arrived at Cape Town 16 Aug 1833. [4]
  • Guiana. Departed England in July 1833 for Algoa Bay with one boy - name unknown [5]
  • Bolton. Arrived Port Elizabeth 17th December 1833. [6]
  • Briton Departed from Portsmouth on 28 Oct 1833 and arrived in Cape Town 5 Jan 1834 [7]
  • Mary Anne Departed England on 27 Nov 1833 for Cape Town with 4 boys. No embarkation roll is known - names unknown. [8]
  • Charles Eaton under Captain. Moore departed FALMOUTH 9 February 1834 and arrived Mossel Bay 1 May 1834 with 22 males and 18 females aboard. 5 boys and 5 girls came from St. Luke's Parish [9]
  • Anna Robertson Departed Gravesend 14 March 1834 and arrived at Cape Town 5 May 1834. [10]
  • Valleyfield Captain Selwyn or Swinton [11]. Only one child
  • James English as servant to Capt. Selwyn
  • Thomas Snooks Departed Gravesend 10 April 1834 and arrived at Cape Town 26 June 1834 [12]
  • Pero Departed Downs 5th May 1834, arrived Cape Town 18 July 1834 [13]
  • St. Helena Departed England 20 August 1834 for Port Elizabeth with two girls - no records. [14]
  • Catherine departed England on 30th August 1834 for Port Elizabeth - 1 boy, name not known. [15]
  • Royal George departed from Dover on 9th November 1834 for Cape Town with 16 boys. No embarkation roll is known to exist - boy's names not known. [16]
  • Henry, Captain Bunney, for Cape Town, under the care of Mrs. Giana, as Matron and Superintendent during the voyage, Dec 13th 1834. [17]
  • Thomas Snooks, Captain Brown, for Cape Town - 14 Feb 1835. [18]
  • William Thompson under Captain Wilde, under the care of Mrs. Ormandy, as matron and Superintendent during the voyage, arriving Cape Town 29th June 1835 [19]
  • Henry, Captain Bunney, for Cape Town, left Portsmouth 10th January 1836, arrived Cape Town 22 March 1836. 30 males. [20]
  • Batchelor Captain Ellis for Cape Town, left Downs 13 April 1836, arrived Cape Town 10 July 1836. 20 males. [21]
  • Lord William Bentinck for Graham's Town under the protection of the Hon. Andrew Stockenstron, Lt., Governor, and his Lady - arrived April 1st 1836 - 3 children [22]
  • Morning Star departed england on 4th May 1836 for Algoa Bay with one boy. No embarkation roll is known to exist - the boy's name not known. [23]
  • Fama Captain Purvis Departed from London 26 May 1836 for Cape Town, arrived 16th May 1836 - 20 males, only 19 named [24]
  • Broxbournbury Captain Alfred Chapman for Cape Town arrived 1st August 1836 [25]
  • Narcissus departed from England on the 21st August 1836 for Algoa bay with one boy and five girls. No embarkation roll is known to exist - names not known. [26]
  • Galatea Captain Tait, Departed from Gravesend on 27 October 1836, arrived at Cape Town 9 January 1837. 25 males [27]
  • William Forster departed from Liverpool on 28th December 1836 with 15 boys. No embarkation roll is known to exist - boy's names not known. [28] Ref CC 2/14 CO424
  • Abberton Henry Shuttleworth, H.E.I.C.S. Commander, left Portsmouth 9 January 1837, arrived at Cape Town 29 March 1837 - 24 males. [29]
  • Perfect Capt. Snell RN for Cape Town 25th March 1837 Under the care of Mrs. Bourhill the Matron [30]

No embarkation roll is known to exist for the following ships - names not known.

  • Senator Downs 4 May 1837 - Cape Town 8 Aug 1837 30 males [31]
  • Indemnity Downs 27 June 1837 - Cape Town 15 September 1837 - 20 males [32]
  • Henry Portsmouth 18 August 1837 - Cape Town 12 November 1837 - 21 males [33]
  • Frederick Huth Downs 21 September 1837 - Cape Town 30 November 1837 - 20 males [34]
  • Red Rover Plymouth 5 November 1837 - Cape Tpwn 3rd January 1838 - 20 males [35]
  • Dauntless London 10 March 1838 - Cape Town 22 May 1838 - 28 Males. [36]
  • The Society announced in May 1838 that "on the 8th March of this year, the Rev. J W Saunders, ........, set sail for the Cape, in the company with a detachment of 28 of the Society's emigrants." (CFS 8th Annual Report p3). The probably sailed on the Daunless
    Mermaid Portsmouth 13 August 1838 - Cape Town 2 November 1838 13 males 32 females [37]
  • Orissa Plymouth 14 August 1838 - Cape Tpown 2 November 1838 - 20 males [38]
  • Sarah London 16 September 1838 - Cape Town 5 December 1838 -24 males [39]
  • Triumph Plymouth 1 January 1839 - Cape Town 5 April 1839 - 12 males, 10 females [40]
  • Thomas Snook Downs 24th July 1839 Cape Town 9 October 1839 - 12 males [41]
  • Dale Park London 24 Febuary 1841 Cape Town 15 may 1841 - 23 males [42]

Useful and Interesting Links

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. to
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