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UK's Child Migrant Scheme; in Canada: British Home Children
User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 12/21/2011
Posts: 3

Created By:Betty Fredericks



I just discovered this Forum this morning.    I can post a lot of information,  but I'll mention for the moment that I have a strong interest in the  "UK's  Child Migrant Scheme."     For about 150 years,  probably over 150,000 .needy children.  were shipped out of the United Kingdom - all parts of it.   This Scheme went on from 1830's to 1970's.    They mostly shipped the .needy children. out to their British Colonies to help populate them.


From 1860's to 1940's, over 100,000 of the children were shipped to Canada.   In Canada, they became known as "British Home Children"  or  "Home Children, Canada."   Both terms are searchable on-line.     My great-grandparents were some of them.


I started genealogy over 20 yrs. ago, and have been doing it on-line for 10 yrs.   And, I'm very active on the Mailing Lists and Message Boards at    (and at )          There has been both a List and a Board for the "British Home Children" for 10 yrs.    And, you can read a lot of stories, and find a lot of information in the archives of those.   Very educational.     And, I started up a List, called Child-Migrants-UK  which is for all the .needy children. shipped out.    I have not had time to get it active, yet.


The children were not all orphans, some might have been what they call half-orphans.   Many of them had both parents, but the parents had fallen on hard times.    There are many stories about the children being - shipped out -  without their parents' knowledge.   And you will read stories about siblings being separated;  some might have had one go to Canada and one go to Australia - never to be seen again.    And, the children were Age 18 down to Age 3.   And, if there was room on the ships, young adults could get on and go to Canada.   And, some infants were on the ships.


There are 3  BHC data bases that I know of,  and one is very searchable.  


The other countries I know about where the children were sent were:  Australia, New Zealand, Africa,  South Africa, and Malta.    Many of the children in all countries (formerly Colonies) were - abused.     There are many books on the subject, both coming out of England and out of Canada, etc.


My great-grandparents were:   John "Stanley" LEWIS, b1859, Liverpool, England,  who was a recent orphan at 13.    He had been educated, so one of the lucky ones.   When his LEWIS uncle took him to the Liverpool Sheltering Homes in 1873, when it had just opened, Stanley might have helped with the decision.    He was shipped to Nova Scotia in 1874 and became a printer's apprentice.


Mary Elizabeth CORKILL, b1860 Liverpool, England, was not an orphan.    She and her 5 siblings had just lost their mother,  but their father lived for many years.   He was a mariner and was hardly ever home.    So, in 1873, his brother took the 5 youngest children to the Liverpool Sheltering Homes.   They were shipped to Nova Scotia in 1874.   They were 3 sisters, 14, 11, and 9, and their young brothers were 5 and 3.   They all went to different towns and families.    The 3 sisters all remained close and married young and had many children.   Their 2 brothers didn't fare so well.    The 5 yr. old grew up to not marry until middle-age, and married an older woman, and then died before she did.  No children.   The 3 yr. old grew up to never marry.   I think they both died in their 60's.


Stanley and Mary had met back in Liverpool, and became friends.   They found each other in Truro, NS,  and married there in 1879.   In 1881, they migrated to Boston.   They settled in Stoneham, and raised their .13. children.     I have typed up an informal report on the family,  and I'm always looking for more descendants.    Two of the older sisters, and 2 of the middle brothers have been the hardest to find information on.


Mary's sister, Esther, had met George COFFIN from MA who was visiting Truro, NS.   They married and also came down to Boston.    They reportedly had 10 children, but only 2 daughters survived.    Mary's sister, Julia married in Truro, NS, and remained in Nova Scotia.   She also had 10 children, with most surviving.


The children had an older brother, Edward CORKILL, who left Liverpool as an older teen.   He somehow made his way to British Columbia, Canada, in 1873.    I have never been able to find out if he kept up a correspondence with his siblings in Nova Scotia.   I have never been able to find out if all the children kept in touch with their father.    Evan CORKILL had remarried in 1876 and remained living in Liverpool.   .. Did he know that he had almost 30 grandchildren in Canada and Massachusetts??


If anyone is interested,  I can provide more information.   And, I can provide the married names of the 13 LEWIS siblings growing up in Stoneham from 1881  to 1920's.   


Stanley eventually had his own Printing Shop and then started up 2, independent newspapers.   Many of his children worked for him.   He and Mary both died of cancer in 1920's.   One son died a few years after marrying,  and one daughter died in childbirth with her 3rd child.      I have found descendants of the family, and would love to find more.



Betty             (near Lowell, MA)



(grew up in Winchester and Arlington, now 40 yrs. in Billerica and Chelmsford)



User Rank: Beginner
Joined: 8/9/2010
Posts: 1

Created By:Linda
Hello,   I am not certain we are looking at the same issue here, but at least I am hoping for some direction. My Uncle Clifton Kendall married in Waterloo, Quebec, Canada a lady name Hannan Bowen. She, I believe, was one of these children shipped from England. She lived with a couple in "Frost Village", who may or may not have been married at the time of her adoption. She was also occasionally called Sarah Bowen. During the war she supposedly went back to England to visit reletives, and was never heard of again. This does not make a lot of sense to me as she supposedly was adopted. Cliffton and Hannah were married Apr. 29,1937 at St.John's United Church in Montreal, Quebec.  Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.  Linda Kendall Sawyer

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