You just don’t know, do you…

This is The Golfer with his aunt (his mother’s sister)
Taken 2010 in Nova Scotia at the wake after a funeral 

She was smiling not tearful at all – ‘no place to be sad, she said 
Always remember and celebrate the life of the one who has gone 
It doesn’t matter how long a life they lived – Its how they lived it that matters’

She is the one who left her life in England back in 1945
to move to Canada as a war bride 

And it’s their family I’ve been doing more research on over the past few weeks 

Its been fun doing this and there have been some good moments when things have fallen into place and then some not so good moments when there have been big surprises.

The biggest surprise was when I actually located Aunt Dot’s long lost aunt’s name on a passenger list of a ship going to Canada in 1902 but the circumstances were not good.

At the turn of the 20th century there was a lot of poverty in England and it seems her father (recently widowed) placed her – the youngest child – into the care of the Waifs and Strays Society.  What happened then also happened to so many other children at that time – she (aged 12) was taken to Canada seemingly for a better chance in life. It appears she went to an intitution in Niagara on the Lake but I can’t locate any records of where she went after that.

  • Earlier this century, several thousand British children mainly in the care of voluntary organisations were emigrated to former Dominions – mainly Australia, Canada and New Zealand – under several schemes involving the British Government, the Governments of the receiving countries and the voluntary organisations who operated the schemes. Source
  • Between 1869 and 1932, over 100,000 children were sent from Britain to Canada through assisted juvenile emigration. These migrants are called “home children” because most went from an emigration agency’s home for children in Britain to its Canadian receiving home.  source

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I had been aware that lots of children had been brought to Australia particularly after WW2 (so the ‘Oranges and Sunshine’ debacle wasn’t quite a shock to me as to others) …..as an aside there was an orphanage close to where we lived in the 1940/50s and my mother (lovely lady that she was☹️) would ’tell me’ that if I didn’t behave she’d have me sent to Australia along with the kids from the home!

But… I certainly didn’t know the ‘scheme’ had been going on for so long and the children had been going to other countries as well .
Looks like I’m going to be sitting here for quite a lot longer than I thought if I want to get to the bottom of Ada’s tale. I just don’t know what I’ll discover next.

14 thoughts on “You just don’t know, do you…

  1. WoW…how amazing but also sad. Unraveling her history and journey will hopefully show she made it to adulthood, maybe a new family will evolve….you’ve got this, Cathy

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  2. Many children were sent to Canada as part of such schemes. I’ve run into many who lived in the communities where my ancestors lived. There are a lot of resources now for research,
    https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/home-children-1869-1930/Pages/home-children.aspx
    https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/people-and-stories/british-home-children

    When we lived in the small city, our neighbour across the street came to Canada after WWII, and was indentured to farms for years (an adult). His descriptions of that life were not warm and fuzzy.

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  3. We found some fascinating documents in my in-laws papers. My youngest refers to them as Ze Papers. There is a strong link to Nazi germany. His mother in law studies genealogy so we will sit down with her and go through them. I think it’s lovely to find links to the long past and, sadly, a lot will be sad.

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  4. My father was an orphan by abandonment. I’ve done enough research to be able to say, unequivocally, there probably has never been a “good” orphanage.

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    1. This is the first time one has come into my life Joanne – you do hear more and more ‘bad’ stories’ about them though.

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    1. Unlike you (as in your last post) – Apart from my granny’s house in Belfast I’ve never knowingly ‘trod in their footsteps’ Cathy. I’ve recently discovered some here in Melbourne so might get the chance sooner than I thought.

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    1. You’ve just reminded me of a novel I read a few years ago that touched on that subject. I must check my Goodreads page and see if I can find it. Yes the world was a strange place in those times- all in the name of welfare.

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  5. I read the Oranges and Sunshine story not long ago (a bit late to the party)
    I think that for the most part, people are well intentioned but it is clear that it wasn’t all in the name of welfare.
    People can probably forgive mistakes, even when they caused great pain, but wilful abuse and child theft is a whole other story.
    Unfortunately we are still doing these things.

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