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OGS British Home Child SIG

The OGS has been working on setting up a new Special Interest Group (SIG) on the topic of British Home Children. There has been considerable interest but we don’t quite have enough potential members yet to proceed. This BLOG post is intended to get your input on what you would like to get out of such a group. A few early discussions have produced the following tentative goals:

  1. To bring together genealogy researchers who have like interests in British Home Children (BHC) to share their research experiences.
  2. To encourage possible descendants of BHC to investigate their ancestry.
  3. To raise awareness of the history and contribution of the BHC in Canada.
  4. To identify resources for research on individual BHC.
  5. To identify resources for research into the social conditions in the UK and Canada which influenced the lives of the BHC.

Here are a few possible projects which members could contribute to:

1. The newsletter (electronic) would include stories of members BHC ancestors. These could be as simple as a few paragraphs of text or a complete research article  with photos, genealogy trees etc.

2. Once the group has been established and has some resources we could gather together the stories published in the newsletter and issue it in the form of a booklet or book (depending upon the number available and the finances). This has been done before by other groups but this effort would be specific to our SIG members.

3. We would compile and maintain a comprehensive list of resources available for researching BHC and include this on the members only portion of the OGS web site. New books and CD’s are published regularly on BHC and there are older ones which are now out of print but may be available through libraries. Note that the OGS ‘Links’ web page already includes useful web sites on this subject.

Please post your thoughts on this group, suggest interesting projects that could be taken on and state what you would hope to get out of it.

- Phil Ellis

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12 Responses to “OGS British Home Child SIG”

  1. Susan Edwards says:

    Yes. Interested. My maternal grand mother was a Barnardo child.

  2. Nancy Smith says:

    My father was a BHC arriving in Canada in 1920 from NCH Childrens Home.

  3. Nancy Smith says:

    My father was a BHC arriving in Canada in 1920 from NCH Childrens Home in Bethnal Green.

  4. Phil Ellis says:

    Nancy and Susan, can you think of any other projects that may interest BHC descendants? For example, some of the sending organizations had newsletters (e.g. Barnardo’s) which sometimes refer the children by name. These publications are in various stages of being digitized and indexed. At least a list of which ones exist and where they can be accessed would be useful.

  5. Helen Atkinson says:

    As yet, we have no personal BHC in our family, but I continue to be deeply moved by each story in this part of our Canadian history. I try to assist others in their research & share information with the BHC sites. Yes, I would be interested in participating in this group by helping descendants in their search.

  6. Jenny Callaghan says:

    I am not a descendant but my grandmother in England had a brother and sister who were BHC’s arriving from Liverpool and I have been trying to trace them since 1998. It is much easier now than when I started as there is more on the web and more people searching who help. I now have a lot of information: date of arrival, who sent them (they were Roman Catholic) and have traced them to the censuses of 1901 and 1911. I would like to be part of a BHC group.

    In terms of a project, I’d like to see a sort of chart which would help people know the path to take to research their BHC’s: what to do first, and how. My path was very higgledy piggledy but I got there, sort of. There were lots of dead ends, brick walls en route.

  7. Dawn says:

    My great uncle was a BHC (Barnardo). Transferred to Barnardo Homes from Fir Vale Union Workhouse and shipped to Canada in 1910. I have done extensive research and hands-down, the internet is one of the most valuable resource for searching. Forums are also a great source of helpful information and volunteers. Do go to, as this site is full of great resources! (some of Ups & Downs transcribed) Also visit,

  8. Phil Ellis says:

    Thanks Dawn. If you go to the OGS ‘links’ page at there are many helpful links provided including the ones you mention. Do you have any more that we could add?


  9. Phil Ellis says:

    Thanks Dawn. I gave it a try and it seems to be a very thorough search engine. I’ll have it added to the OGS ‘links’ page in the next update.


  10. Agnes says:

    My father was a Home Child from the National Childrens Home coming to Canada in 1927. I have been able to trace his time here through the NCH in London, UK. They have given me copies of all letters and documents in their file pertaining to my dad. I would like to be able to expand my search further to find ancestors.

  11. Phil Ellis says:

    Hi Agnes. Perhaps you could share with us when and how you contacted the NCH and what types of records you were able to obtain.


  12. Phil Ellis says:

    Hi Dawn,

    This search engine has now been added to the OGS links pages at


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