Discover your inside story with AncestryDNA®

November 21, 2015

Finding an Ancestor's Full Record on the NEW Home Children Database

Library and Archives Canada is pleased to announce the launch of a new version of its online database, Home Children Records.
This online database has been extended to include more than 245,000 entries for British children sent to Canada between 1869 and 1932. Names have been indexed from a variety of sources, such as records from sending organizations, publications, governmental and private records.
After reading LAC's latest announcement I rushed to the site to search for some of the Home Children I'd previously found on the Ships Passenger Lists there. My husband's great-grandmother's brother Albert Finch was one of those children. 
Barnardo's Homes
Albert came to Canada from England with Barnardo's Homes so there was only one "extra" entry for him that I had not seen before. The entries are summaries only and in this case the original was from Ups and Downs Magazine and not available on microfilm.  Luckily I know a genealogist in Ottawa and asked him to retrieve the original entry for me. 
Ups and Downs Magazine
Some of the Ups and Downs Magazine entries are on microfilm at British Home Child & Child Migrants in Canada LAC has kindly provided microfilm numbers if your Home Child's entry in Ups and Downs Magazine has been filmed.  You can also check for your name of interest here.
Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes
Next I searched for my friend Linda's grandfather Ernest Mustin and his brother George. This was a goldmine! There were 5 "extra" records for Ernest and 6 for his brother George. Here is a sample of what the result for one entry on LAC provides:
Given Name(s): Ernest
Surname: MUSTIN
Age: 11
Address in United Kingdom: Adam St., Dartmouth St.
Guardian: Thomas Mustin
Date of Application:1892-03-07
Notes:See newspaper cutting, parents charged by Nat. Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to children - neglect.
Record Title: Application Book
Page Number: 421
Case Number: 1249
Volume Number:245
Microfilm Reel Number:A-2104
Reference: MG28 I492, Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes
Library and Archives Canada
Database Item Number:
Obtaining Copies
Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 08 March 1892
Seeing this I knew I had two options open. First I could search for that newspaper clipping myself on a British Newspaper site. Second I could request copies of whatever else might be in the file that LAC referenced. I searched for the newspaper clipping and found it easily. It was quite distressful as it gave a vivid description of Ernest and his brother's neglect. The boys were said to be malnourished, covered in vermin, and with no shoes or coats (this was March in England). The home life scene described was horrific. 
But I still wanted whatever LAC had on file, so I read How to Access the Records (on the first page of the Home Children Database). It was clearly laid out - Films starting with "C" or "T" are available online and  must be accessed by the researcher. Films starting with “A” Prefixes (including Middlemore MG28 I492 records) must be ordered from LAC.
To order a copy you must start at this page. Read the instructions then go to Online Order Form for Reproduction Requests Next you will read, and click on, the ACCEPT buttons before continuing to the order form. 
On the Order Form page you see a shopping cart and choices. You want Textual documents (includes documents on microfilm) 

Next choose how you want the copies delivered. I ordered all 11 of my entries and chose Digital Copies by Email. The very next day I received a phone call from LAC informing me that because Middlemore records are restricted they cannot be sent digitally and would I accept copies by mail. Of course I agreed but this is something for other researchers to remember when ordering.

Now comes the tricky part. There are 3 fields to fill out.

 First the Title. In my case the Title was simply the Record Title. So I copied and pasted "Application Book" into that field.
The next field is the Reference Number. That was "MG28 I492, Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes" 
In the last field for Additional Information I simply copied and pasted the entire entry that LAC provided. I will say that when the Archivist phoned me the next day she stated that I had filled out the form "perfectly".
Fill out how many copies you want and if you don't want to exceed a certain number of pages. I left that blank as I want it all even if it is 30 or 50 or more. 
Then you fill out a Declaration of Use and indicate whether you want Rush or Regular service. There is room for Special Instructions if needed. I used it on this one because I also wanted the notes for Ernest's brother George. So I asked LAC not to duplicate pages but send me any that were about George and not Ernest. 
If you want to order more than one record, as I did, you have to add them to your cart one at a time. No one said it would be fast or easy! Also if you are a senior, you can get a discount on the cost. Ask for your order # when you hear from LAC, then submit your proof of age (such as a passport, birth certificate or driver's licence) along with your order # and they will apply your discount. 
Eventually you will receive an email with the final cost for your copies along with a link for online payment if that is the method you choose to use.
Start searching home children records now!


Jo Henn said...

Lorine, thank you for sharing this resource and explaining how to use it. I've recently noticed that 5 families in one branch of my Canadian ancestors in a farming community each adopted a daughter about the same time and was wondering whether they might be Home children. Now I know how to check it out! I've included this post in my Noteworthy Reads for this week:

Kim Mills said...

Thank you for sharing about the updated database! I just ordered the files for my Great Grandfather and his brother.

carl.h.bloss said...

Lorine; As an institutional archivist trying to bring records to a vast population eager to learn about their families of the past - I find your article absolutely fascinating. I have run into the proverbial "privacy" rules in the US and PA. However, with your sharing this access and process, you have clarified and helped me some to the methods I, too, have to manage when releasing information. Thanks a bunch! CHBloss