Skip to content

contact me

Email at

32 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2012 12:56 pm

    Hi Rose,
    I write the Catholic Writers’ Guild member news on the CWG blog. Would you contact me if you’d like to do a story on your website and novel? I read about your site on the CWG newsletter.
    Larissa Hoffman

  2. Pat Daoust permalink
    March 5, 2012 1:26 pm

    My great-grandmother and her sister were both Barnardo children. I did not know this until in my late fifties when I started doing family tree research. I always thought that I would find little of the branches of my tree since almost all of the older relatives had passed and even at that ‘my mom’s side’ had always been very ‘closed-mouthed’. I did find out from a cousin about great-grandma and contacted the Barnardo Home. When I put my info into Ancestry, I found others researching the same family. Although I don’t have much on the background of great-grandma–only back to her grandparents–I have been in contact with some cousins and one in particular who has done much of the legwork for the Canadian branch since they originated in Plymouth, England.

  3. Karen (Carter) Pynenbrouck permalink
    May 28, 2012 4:46 pm

    My Grandfather was also a Barnardo boy and he never spoke of his past. We weren’t sure if it was because he was ashamed or if it was such a bad experience he didn’t want to remember. He has been gone now for 24 years and I just recently wrote to them and got what little information they had on my Grandfather. Sadly his letters tell the story. It must have been awful living that far from anyone you knew, and at such a young age. I look at my son and think how fortunate we’ve all been here in Canada, to have freedom and a wonderful childhood. I wish my Grandfather could have experienced the same thing.

    • May 28, 2012 6:25 pm

      Hi Karen – Although I’ve heard it over and over, it’s still incredible to me that British Home Children seldom talked about their childhoods. It was their way of handling pain. In most cases, the children became thankful for a life in Canada with better opportunities for their offspring, but still, it was a long hard journey from suffering to thankfulness.

      • August 3, 2014 1:14 pm

        An apology from the government of Canada is long overdue.

      • October 2, 2014 2:33 pm

        Hello Rose,

        I have a history organization at Port Maitland and would like to hear from you. Will you please reply to me. We can make contact.

  4. Patricia Bean permalink
    September 20, 2012 12:17 am

    Hello Rose

    I recently found out that my paternal grandfather was one of the Barnardo home children, he came to Canada at the age of 8 and worked on a farm near Dunnville, On..I recently moved near Dunnville and I am researching him, I actually found the location of the farm he worked on,,,he met my grandmother there and they married very young..he fought for Canada in the First World War, but he lost part of his leg..I always remember his prosthesis…he died when I was only 4 yrs old, but I would like to learn more about the Home Children..

    • September 20, 2012 2:11 pm

      Patricia, you will find out a lot about the home children by following the links at The Promise of Home (my site). I’m so glad you’ve found out about your grandfather and have actually visited the farm in Dunnville where he worked. This must have strengthened your connection to him. So many of us who are descendants of British Home Children have become fascinated by their lives. Rose

  5. william tennyson permalink
    September 25, 2012 11:41 am

    My great grandmother was also a Barnardo child and came to Canada in 1914 to Montreal then eventually settling in Madoc, Ontario. She passed in 1991 at 100 years of age. It always amazed me that a fourteen year old girl would cross the ocean by herself to build a new life on her own!

    • September 25, 2012 6:23 pm

      William – I’m so glad you know that your great grandmother was a Barnardo girl. You can obtain her files by contacting Barnardo’s, if you haven’t already done so. The readers of The Promise of Home would appreciate reading her story. Do you think you can tell us about her? One or two photos, if you have access to them, would also be nice. Thanks for writing – Rose

  6. dorothy higgins permalink
    March 5, 2013 6:53 pm

    Hi Rose, I would like to share my father’s story.How do I do this? Thanks for the info

  7. July 24, 2013 6:48 pm

    Hello, Rose. My great-grandfather, John Moors, is shown to have traveled with a large group of boys on the Parisian from Liverpool, 1898 to Stratford and again at an earlier date. I’m curious if, in your research, you have found any narratives/content about his role. My father has, in his possession a watch presented to his great grandfather, with an inscription from St. Andrew’s Boy’s school in England, wishing him well on his departure. Any information would interest me. In the meantime, I will certainly be pouring over your blog.

    • Anne Duff permalink
      August 18, 2013 10:57 pm

      Hi I recently watched a programme “Who do you think you are” it was about Lesley Sharp.they showed pictures of children who were shipped from Liverpool to Canada. As one picture came up a face stuck out, I don’t know who this child is but the family resemblance is uncanny. How can I find out who this child is ???

  8. Pat Redd permalink
    November 5, 2013 10:18 pm

    Hi, my grandmother, Mary Ann McCallum, was born in Scotland. Her father was William McCallum, her mother, Annie Baillie Warner McCallum. When Mary’s mother died her father remarried and she was sent to an orphanage, Her brother, Alexander, was sent to live with grandparents in Ireland. She was sent to Marchmont in Belleville as a Home Child, and eventually to Manitoba with her Home family. She said she was teated as a member of the family. She married my grandfather Christopher Emmanuel Young in Manitoba and subsequently moved back to Ontario. She never mentioned her voyage to Canada, She never saw her father or her brother again, nor did she have a reasonable explanation for being placed in Barnardos. I speculate that the step mother did not want to be encumbered by children from a previous marriage. Or, perhaps he could not care for them before he remarried. She was aware that he had remarried and I always had the impression that it was before they were sent away.

  9. Mike Kirby permalink
    November 23, 2013 3:52 pm

    Hello Rose,

    So glad to find this site. I am just beginning my journey of finding out my grandfather’s life here in Canada as a Barnardo boy. He came over from the UK on the ship Sicilian in 1911.
    Looking forward to events and speakers in the Niagara area!


    • November 23, 2013 9:23 pm

      Hi Mike. Have you, or has anyone else, in your family applied to Barnardo’s for your grandfather’s file? These files often contain photographs of the children, names of other family members, reasons why the child ended up at the Home and the homes they lived in in Canada. You’ve begun an interesting journey. Enjoy!

      • Mike Kirby permalink
        November 23, 2013 11:55 pm

        Hello Rose,

        I am thinking of applying for the information. The Barnardo organization has sent me the forms to fill out but I think it will cost about $160. Before I spend the money, I would like to chat with someone who has done that to see/hear exactly what is given. You are right about the interesting journey ! It’s been only a month and I have discovered so much about my family’s past. I am now more thankful than ever for the blessings that I have with my own family. (wife and children and grandchildren)

  10. November 24, 2013 12:48 am

    I know many people who’ve applied for their relative’s files. As far as I know, every one has been pleased with the information they’ve received. I would recommend it.

  11. J Coward permalink
    March 28, 2014 10:59 pm

    I’ve enjoyed my visit to your site: reading the many stories shared. I must agree with the person(s) pointing out: these children were survivors: and they merit recognition for, in the most part, persevering, rising above & succeeding.

    In the context of the times…not our contemporary times, but their times..Life was hard work, and work was largely manual labour.
    Home children were not dissimilar from the many people who lived around them : tough people, often having left behind tough times, cut their family ties, only to find new tough times in Canada. Often new immigrants of all ages faced persecution & ridicule. They avoided recalling past pain, or hid their origins e.g. with name changes, or by fast-tracking their assimilation. In many cases, they too had little choice: displaced from land, homes, jobs, an assured future, & sliding into worsening circumstances , vs being swept along in an emigration scheme.

    Let’s also not forget, 18th ,19th even early 20thc children were workers from an early age: whether in the mines, mills, on the farm, in the family business, or doing family care & home chores. Children had few if any rights, choices, & mostly had lives of hard work. They all deserve our recognition for their successes. We, their descendants are the evidence.

    Let their stories: the ugly, the bad, and the good, be heard & read. And let us show our respect for and recognition of their efforts: both acknowledging the negative, and celebrating and accentuating the positive.


    • March 29, 2014 2:57 am

      Thank you, JC, for your thoughtful and insightful remarks. You rightly suggest that children were once workers from a very young age, something we frown upon today. Those hard-working souls, immigrants especially, who left hard times and found more hard times in Canada, are deserving of our appreciation and respect. They faced many discouraging times. It does us good to remember that.

  12. Ingrid Scott permalink
    May 6, 2014 1:02 pm

    Hi Rose, I would like to reserve a copy of your book, Home Stories, for the Hamilton District Christian High School library. I look forward to reading these interesting stories!!

  13. dorothy higgins permalink
    August 4, 2014 10:08 pm

    Hi! my father George Higgins had a friend named Willie Doherty,I wonder if you would be related with Him. I think they might have taken the same boat to come to Canada. If so feel free to ask any question you woould like to know.

  14. March 16, 2015 5:06 pm

    Hi Rose. I just found your website, it is incredibly detailed and extremely useful for what I am doing. I am an undergrad History student in London, currently in my third year. My dissertation (10,000 words) is about Home Children, specifically children sent from the UK to Canada. I was wondering if there were any primary sources aside from newspaper archives (these are all I have access to at the moment) that could be helpful in my research.

    This topic hasn’t been covered by my university before and it seems that my supervisor can’t provide me with the help I need. For those wondering why I would pick a topic that I can’t get any help with, I chose this because it is close to me. My grandmother was taken from her family in a similar fashion when she was a child. I want to learn more about how ‘opportunities’ happened like this in the first place.

    As for secondary sources, I am slowly gathering books so hopefully I shouldn’t have a problem here (however, if you have any recommendations I’d be happy to hear them!). I’ve read a few suggestions on this sub reddit already that say to comb the footnotes for more sources, I’ve been taking that advice on board. My dissertation title isn’t written in stone yet. Depending on my primary sources I may be able to focus on a different aspect. If there is a certain time period with an abundance of primary sources then I’d switch over from what I am currently doing in a heartbeat. Right now I wanted to look at 1869 – 1914, though this will change if the primary sources are available. While newspapers are adequate, I’d much rather look at sources with more substance.

    I know this is probably asking you too much but if you could help me access some primary sources, I would seriously appreciate it.

  15. Lisa Bobechko permalink
    April 19, 2015 7:42 pm

    Hi Rose, Do you know if there is a data base as to what happened to these children after they finished their service in a family? A month ago I purchased an “Adoption” paper of a Rosa Wright from the Barnardo’s girl’s home in Peterborough from 1897. I would love to find out if she married and had children that might be interested in this document. I have the name of the adoptive father and where they lived. just gave me access to her immigration papers from the ship and Canada census from 1901 where she was described as “Domestic” in family not daughter (adopted). Thank you so much for this wonderful site!

    • June 2, 2016 2:51 pm

      Lisa, many home children were said to be adopted, but actually very few were. The adoption laws in 1897 were much different than they are today. Often, the sending organization would tell a family who wanted to adopt to consider the child adopted, and even use their last name for the child, but this wasn’t a legal adoption. I hope you can find out where Rosa Wright went . . . perhaps through marriage documents.

  16. Lorne Weston permalink
    March 30, 2016 1:38 am

    Hello, Rose. Just wondering about the picture on the front cover of Promises of Home. Do you know what year the picture is from, and which ship? My Father came over on the Sicillian in 1920, with the first boatload to come to Canada after WWII.

    • March 30, 2016 12:55 pm

      Lorne, the photo on the cover of Promises of Home is of a Barnardo group in 1920. Yes, it’s the Sicilian. I can’t say for sure but I think this is the only group to come on the Sicilian that year. You could check with Barnardos about that. I chose this photo because the children appear to be pouring off the ship, which to me, is a visual of child immigration. In actual fact, the photo is taken at Liverpool before boarding. I bought the rights from Barnardos to use the photo for the cover. It’s very possible, perhaps even likely, that your father is in this photo. Do you have his file from Barnardo’s. This would contain a photo which you could compare to the group photo.

  17. August 6, 2016 1:01 pm

    I am glad to have found your site. I too have been part of for a few years. My great-grandmother was at the Stratford Home in 1888. She was four. Thankfully good records have been kept so I have the notarized information and we were able to obtain her birth certificate from Somerset House. Interestingly she married in 1899 at the age of 15 and I have her original wedding certificate. She returned to MacPherson House in Stratford to marry

    • August 7, 2016 4:01 pm

      Christine – good to hear a brief account of your g-grandmother’s life. Interesting that she returned to the Stratford Home to marry. Thanks for sharing. You didn’t mention her name. You can if you would like to. Good to remember these children – only four – so young. Rose

      • August 7, 2016 11:33 pm

        Hi Rose, thank you for your response. I am working up a blog on my great grandmother. Her name was Annie Dorothy (Dolly) Frampton. It’s funny that she is the only orphan in the family but the one I have the most information on.

      • August 8, 2016 1:01 pm

        Let me know when you publish this post, I’ll send a link to my readers.

      • August 16, 2016 3:16 pm

        Thanks Rose. It’s an overwhelming subject as you know and is taking longer to do that I thought. Every time I go to write about it I find another article or book to read!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: