Between 1869 and the late 1930s, over 100,000 juvenile migrants were sent to Canada from the British Isles 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 arriving by ship, the children were sent to distributing and receiving 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 and job opportunities here than if they had remained in the urban slums of England. Many served with the Canadian and British Forces during both World Wars.
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds unique and extensive records about British Home Children, such as passenger lists, Immigration Branch correspondence files and inspection reports, non-government collections such as the Middlemore Home fonds, as well as indexes to some records held in the United Kingdom. The records also include names of older boys and girls who were recruited by immigration agents in the U.K. for farming and domestic work in Canada. Please note that most documents have been created in English. Members of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) and other volunteers are indexing the names of juvenile migrants found in these records.