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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - Online Resources at the National Archives of Canada
Article posted: April 14, 2000
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles

An earlier English and Welsh Roots article published in March 1999 dealt with the issue of Getting from Here to There and encouraged researchers to search for information about emigrants from the British Isles in the country they emigrated to. This issue of English and Welsh Roots takes a look at new Inventories and online indexes available from the National Archives of Canada which contain important information about English and Welsh immigrants to Canada. These new resources provide information about the Archives’ vast holdings to those researching at a distance.

Archives around the world are progressively reaching beyond their buildings and using the Internet to provide service to researchers at a distance. Virtual archives of all sizes (national, provincial, county, and specialty archives) are coming online to bring us the inventories, file lists, indexes and research aids so important to understanding their collections. In short, archives are revolutionizing family history by providing virtual and distance access to their priceless, fragile collections.

The new virtual archives is slowly beginning to offer a bridge between the vast online resources available to researchers on the internet and the critical evidence necessary to conduct sound research ~ evidence that is only available in archives.

The National Archives of Canada has custody of millions of textual, photographic, iconographic, audio, philatelic, cartographic, architectural and other documents from all sources on all types of media. The National Archives has been mounting a variety of resources, aids, indexes and inventories on its website. A number of these important resources are highlighted below.


For many years the National Archives of Canada has published an invaluable free booklet Tracing your Ancestors in Canada, which describes the major genealogical sources available at the National Archives and makes reference to sources in other Canadian repositories. Although available in printed form by contacting the Genealogy Reference Service at (613) 996-7458, the booklet is now available free online for downloading in Adobe Acrobat format (234KB) at

In order to make the most efficient use of archives, researchers are encouraged to read and download the National Archives publication, Using Archives: A Practical Guide for Researchers. This important publication is also available in printed form by contacting the Genealogy Reference Service but is easily read online. Learn about the language and customs of archives; how to plan a research strategy; what to expect when visiting the archives; and even the fundamental difference between Archives and Libraries.

The Archivistthe colourful and informative magazine of the National Archives of Canada is now available online. While not all issues are on the website at present, many important issues and articles can be found in the Archivist section of the publications list . Articles include The child emigrant from Great Britain: the experience of Middlemore Homes by Judi Cumming.


The exhibitions section of the National Archives website is a growing treasure-trove of invaluable information and exciting visual images. The online exhibits have been created by the National Archives and in partnership with Canada's Digital Collections program, Industry Canada.

Exhibits created in conjunction with the Digital Collections program include Records of the Canadian Expeditionary Force – Renfrew Ontario and Canadian Portraits: a selection of 120 portraits of eminent Canadians

Canadian Portraits includes an image of Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Captain Cook was a British naval officer and surveyor who made three important voyages to the Pacific, the third of which took him to the west coast of Canada. The George Back Collection is an exhibit in honour of George Back (1795-1878), and his expeditions to the Arctic region from 1818 until 1837.

Don’t miss the important and ever changing exhibit Canada at Scale: Maps of our History. As the exhibit explanation so dramatically states, The maps in this exhibition reflect the evolution of cartography in our country: Aboriginal peoples, European colonial powers, Canadians, governments, private industry and academics all produced precious maps. Although some are less appealing aesthetically, they nevertheless are significant as testimonies to the beginning of map printing in this country. From the astrolabe to computers, the history of our country and evolution in technology are laid out before us. They are on the scale of human will and dreams.


Researchers are advised to take their time and learn more about researching their family history at the archives, military records, immigration and naturalization records; how to plan a visit; consult records; obtain copies of records; borrow microfilm; hire a researcher; and much more. For example, did you know the National Archives holds a collection of British Military and Naval Records (RG 8, "C" Series) which includes references to the British army in Canada, Loyalist regiments, the War of 1812, the Canadian militia and more? The Genealogy Research section of the website will lead you to helpful information for a variety of records important to genealogists. The listing of Genealogical Sources in Canada will not only explain a particular subject and related records, but will provide links and additional information for accessing the collection of British Military and Naval Records and many other important collections which are available on microfilm loan to your local library. The National Archives also holds other records relating to British regiments stationed in Canada, military records of the French Regime and also various Loyalist sources.


Don’t miss the Home Children information available through the National Archives’ website. Between 1869 and the early 1930s, over 100,000 children were sent to Canada from Great Britain during the child emigration movement. Members of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa are locating and indexing the names of these Home Children found in the Archives’ ships passenger lists – the growing database is now searchable online.

In addition The Central Registry Files of the Archives Immigration Branch records (Record Group 76, B 1 a) contain correspondence from various sending organizations. They include annual reports, information booklets and some lists of names of children sent to Canada. The files cover the years 1892 to about 1946. Researchers can learn more about the records available, what has been microfilmed (and available for loan to your library) by searching the online database of Records created by departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The database of Federal Government records can be searched for a variety of topics. To locate records relevant to Home Children, access the main database screen - Select Record Group 76 (Immigration) and use the name of the sending organization as a keyword. For example, by using the keyword Barnardo$, some 15 records results are shown, including the following examples:

  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 51 , Reel C-4715
    File : 2209 ,
    Access code: 20 Parts: 1 File Title: Dr. Barnardo's Homes - Training Home for Juvenile Immigrants (Lists and Report). Outside Dates: 1873-1906 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 51 , Reel C-4716
    File : 2209 ,
    Access code: 20 Parts: 2 File Title: Dr. Barnardo's Homes - Training Home for Juvenile Immigrants (Lists) Outside Dates: 1906-1913 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 415 , Reel C-10302 File : 600812, Access code: 20 File Title: Inspection of William Poole, a Barnardo boy. Outside Dates: 1904-1909 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 427 , Reel C-10309 File : 634583 , Access code: 20 File Title: Alfred S. Owen, Dr. Barnardo's Homes, Toronto, Ontario. Permission for three boys who have each lost a leg to enter Canada (Charles Lawrence, Charles Harvey & Albert Russell). Outside Dates: 1907 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 527 , Reel C-10620 File : 802380 , Access code: 20 File Title: Inspection of Ernest Davis (Dr. Barnardo's Home). Outside Dates: 1901 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 527 , Reel C-10620 File : 802401, Access code: 20 File Title: Inspection of William Carter. (Dr. Barnardo's Home). Outside Dates: 1906-1927 Finding Aid number: 76-5
  • Reference: RG76 , IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 527 , Reel C-10620 File : 802642, File Title: Inspection of Rose Kane (Dr. Barnardo's Home). Outside Dates: 1909-1921 Finding Aid number: 76-5

Note: read the access code information carefully. Access code 20 means the records have been microfilmed and the originals have been withdrawn from circulation. Often microfilmed records are available for loan to your local library.


The database of records created by departments and agencies of the Federal Government is also a goldmine for other government records relevant to immigration and those in search of their English and Welsh roots. For example, the Department of Agriculture was responsible for immigration and a variety of immigration schemes when the Immigration Branch was part of the Department during the period 1868-1892. By selecting Agriculture (RG 17) from the list of departments and agencies and using the keyword immigrant, a large number of records (1054 items) are brought to light.

  • Reference: RG17 , AGRICULTURE , Volume 370 Docket : 39806 , Access code: 90 File Title: U. S. CONSUL, OTTAWA. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT LETTER ON IMMIGRANT BOY NAMED BUCHANAN FROM ST. VINCENT'S HOME. Date of Docket: 1883/05/26 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17 , AGRICULTURE , Volume 722 Docket : 83012 , Access code: 90 File Title: SIR J.S.D. THOMPSON, OTTAWA. TEL: FROM E.N. SHARP OF AMHERST, N.S. ON DESTITUTE ENGLISH IMMIGRANT FOUND IN A HAYLOFT IN STARVING CONDITION. Date of Docket: 1892/03/05 Date of reply: 1892/04/06 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 722 Docket : 83098, Access code: 90 File Title: MRS. M.S. MACPHERSON, PHILADELPHIA. ASKING. PASS FOR MRS. CORNEIL. ALSO ON FURNISHING CERTAIN ROOMS AT QUEBEC IMMIGRANT BUILDING FOR WOMEN. Date of Docket: 1892/04/05 Date of reply: 1892/04/12 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 392 Docket : 42299 , Access code: 90 File Title: W. C. B. GRAHAME, WINNIPEG. LETTER FROM MR. RICHARDS, A WELSH IMMIGRANT. Date of Docket: 1883/12/31 Date of reply: 1884/01/18 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 379 Docket : 40886 , Access code: 90 File Title: RICHARD YATES, CATHOLIC CHILDREN'S PROTECTION SOCIETY, LIVERPOOL. LETTER ON MRS. HUDSON'S IMMIGRANT CHILDREN & ASKING COMMISSION THEREON. Date of Docket: 1883/08/14 Date of reply: 1883/08/27 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 346, Docket : 36829 , Access code: 90 File Title: MISS MACHPERSON, GALT, ONTARIO. ASKING COMMISSION ON IMMIGRANT CHILDREN. Date of Docket: 1882/07/22 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 346 Docket: 36918, Access code: 90 File Title: J.M. MCGOVERN, DULUTH. TEL: ENGLISH IMMIGRANT DROWNED THIS MORNING OFF STEAMER "MANITOULIN". Date of Docket: 1882/08/07 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 451 Docket: 49202, Access code: 90 File Title: J.G. COLMER, LONDON,ENGLAND. ASKING INFORMATION TO BE SENT ON AN IMMIGRANT GIRL, MARY E. GLENDINNING. Date of Docket: 1885/08/12 Date of reply: 1885/08/25 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE, Volume 27 Docket : 2434 , Access code: 90 File Title: L. STAFFORD, EMIGRANT AGENT, QUEBEC. LIST OF EMIGRANTS SELECTED TO SAIL FROM LONDON BY STEAMER 22 APR. 1869. Date of Docket: N.D. Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE , Volume 134 Docket : 14070, Access code: 90 File Title: J.T. MIDDLEMORE, MOHAWK. LIST, EMIGRANT CHILDREN. Date of Docket: N.D. Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17, AGRICULTURE , Volume 351 Docket : 37531 , Access code: 90 File Title: LONDON OFFICE, ENGLAND. LETTER FROM MARK, WHITWELL & SON, BRISTOL, ON ASSISTED PASSAGE FROM BRISTOL VIA NEW YORK. Date of Docket: 1882/10/05 Finding Aid number: 17-1
  • Reference: RG17 , AGRICULTURE , Volume 353 Docket : 37782 , Access code: 90 File Title: THOS. BEAL, PETROLEA. ASKING RATE OF ASSISTED PASSAGE FOR HIS FAMILY FROM ENGLAND. Date of Docket: 1882/11/09 Finding Aid number: 17-1

Similar keyword searching is available by selecting other record groups (such as Immigration) or by allowing the database to search all record groups.

  • Reference: RG76, IMMIGRATION , Series I-A-1 , Volume 378 , Reel C-10275 File : 523636, Access code: 20 File Title: Lily Aldhouse, immigrant child sent out by 1906 Kings's North Union (Birmingham, England) (Middlemore Home). Outside Dates: 1906 Finding Aid number: 76-5

When conducting a search in the Records of the Federal Government database, use a variety of keywords and keyword combinations. Often the terms immigrant and emigrant are used inter-changeably in the records.

Note: Again, it is very important you read the access code information carefully. Access code 90 means the records are open and available for consultation. It does NOT mean they are available on microfilm. As a general rule, if the microfilm reel number is not included in the reference, it means the document is not available on microfilm and must be viewed on site, or a copy can be ordered.

The various databases available online are accessible through the Archives ArchiviaNet.


ArchiviaNet is an automated research tool that allows you to access a vast amount of information from various databases and automated systems created by the National Archives of Canada. The databases and aid available online are continuing to evolve. At the time of writing this article the following tools are available on ArchiviaNet:

  • CANADIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE (FIRST WORLD WAR) database contains some 100,000 pages of attestation documents that were scanned under the Industry Canada SchoolNet Digital Collections Program. The database contains references to 650,000 individuals who signed an enrolment form during the First World War.
  • ONTARIO 1871 CENSUS INDEX. Ontario Genealogical Society volunteers created the index over a period of twelve years. The database contains the names of heads of household, as well as that of any person bearing a different family name than the head of the household. The database allows researchers to find names of interest, and each reference refers to the exact page where the name can be found in the original census report.

  • The POST OFFICES database provides researchers with information on the different postmasters who successively worked in Canada's post offices. Data refers to now closed civil and military post offices in the ten provinces and three territories. There are also some indices on functioning post offices in British Columbia and the Toronto metropolitan area.
  • The DOMINION LAND GRANTS database is a specialized database of Letters Patent issued by the Lands Patent Branch of the Department of Interior. The records refer to grants issued in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the railway belt of British Columbia, around 1870-1930.
  • FILMS, VIDEOS AND SOUND RECORDINGS The National Archives’ Audiovisuals Holdings Database contains about 265 000 descriptions of films, videos, and sound recordings held by the National Archives of Canada.
  • The PHOTOGRAPHS and WORKS OF ART AND CARICATURES links take researchers to more than 700,000 descriptions of photographs, works of art, and caricatures kept at the National Archives of Canada. Almost 5,000 scanned images have been integrated into these archival descriptions. By typing in the keyword "england" in the Art and caricatures database, 4,146 results are found. Results vary from notations of English born artists to such items as All Saints’ Church, Aldwincle England and the cemetery of the 7th Battalion, British Columbia.


The National Archives has recently mounted its searchable General Inventory of archival holdings. Researchers should note that the inventory is organized "archivally" - as you would find the collections described in archives’ finding aids. Collections are described using a number of archival terms:
  • FONDS: are a grouping of documents, regardless of form or medium, which have been created and/or accumulated and used by a particular individual, family or corporate body in the course of that creator's activities or functions.
  • COLLECTIONS: refer to an artificial grouping of documents which have been brought together in the archives on the basis of some common characteristic, e.g., way of acquisition, subject, language, medium, type of document, name of collector, which may be treated for descriptive purposes as a unit under a common title.

These larger groupings of records are then broken down further into series, sub-series and accessions to better reflect the functions of the creator. The database does not include file listings or detailed descriptions of specific items. The descriptions could refer to a collection of materials that covers many feet of shelving in a variety of boxes. Researchers are advised to use the General Inventory as a guide to the many records available in the archives. Do not expect to find detailed item listings for all collections. The content of the General Inventory will continue to expand to include comprehensive listings of government and private record holdings at the Archives.

Before searching the inventory researchers would be well advised to carefully read and print the section called NEED HELP? which explains the database, how to interpret and order results; and offers a variety of helpful search tips. In many instances, the detailed finding aids for the records in the General Inventory are NOT available online. In order to followup on a particular entry researchers must visit the National Archives in person or hire a researcher to investigate the collections for them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The National Archives receives thousands of requests for information each month and staff are unable to undertake extensive research. You may need to hire a free-lance researcher to followup on the information for you.

A sampling of records found in the inventory are listed below. The database was searched using the following keywords (alone or in combination) - England; Great Britain; Wales; Women's organizations; Emigration and immigration; British immigration; Welsh immigration; Children; paupers and assisted.

  • Charlotte A. Alexander fonds 1885-1893 — 0.250 meter(s) Charlotte Alexander worked from 1885 to 1893 under the auspices of various charitable organizations assisting young girls to emigrate from England to Canada. She made several trips to Canada to interview persons with whom the girls had been placed. Correspondence, 1885-1893, arranged in nominal files relating to children Miss Alexander assisted in emigrating from England to Canada (Volumes 1-2), and an indexed register, 1885-1893, containing summaries of various cases (Volume 3). *MG29-C58 *
  • Ellen Joyce fonds 1908, 1918-1919. — 1 microfilm reel. . Ellen Joyce was the founder and president of the Britishwomen's Emigration Association, (B.E.A.). She resigned as President, due to health, in 1908, after thirty years of service to the Association. Ellen Joyce promoted and encouraged other British women's organizations such as the Female Middle Class Emigration Society. Fonds consists of correspondence between Ellen Joyce and Princess Sandraa regarding an organization for the settlement of British women overseas, 1918-1919; and correspondence from members of the Britishwomen's Emigration Association regarding Ellen Joyce's decision to resign as president of the Association and the work of the Association itself, 1908. Reference R1754-0-4-E formerly MG30-C123 Received in 1981 from Dyfed County Council, Carmarthenshire Record Office, Carmarthen, Wales
  • Leeds City Treasurer, Leeds Distress Committee 1906-1912 — 0.005 meter(s). Records of all persons aided to emigrate by the Leeds Distress Committee. The records include such details as date of emigration; name and address of unemployed; whether married single or widower; number and description of dependants if any; trade of unemployed; place of destination; nature of work found for unemployed; nature and amount of aid given; date and particulars of agreement (if any) to recoup the distress committee and general remarks, such as the name of the ship on which they sailed. Photocopies, 24 pages. MG40-M29 Originals with the Leeds Archives Department.
  • Leeds Board of Guardians and Public Assistance Committee 1884-1947 — 4 reel(s). The Leeds Board of Guardians, and later, the Public Assistance Committee, were responsible for public assistance programmes for orphaned or deserted children under 14 years of age. Major programmes utilized by the Leeds Union included: the boarding-out scheme in England, where children were placed in foster-homes, to serve as apprentices, servants or mothers' helpers; the emigration of children to Canada, 1887-1895, where they were boarded-out or adopted; an 1890s naval training ship programme, where boys were provided with naval training for potential recruitment into the Royal Navy; and the construction and supervision of orphanages. The records copied outline these and other programmes through printed reports, case files, and letters. Boarding-out and Emigration Committee, minutes, microfilm, 1884-1900, 1912-1930, 1941-1947, 2 reels; Boarding-out and Emigration, letters, microfilm, 1887-1919, 3 reels; register of emigrant children, microfilm, 1888-1895, 1 reel MG40-M42. Originals remain with Leeds Archives Department. Leeds Board of Guardians and Public Assistance Committee.
  • Parish Records: Emigration 1832-1852 — 1 reel(s). Parish records from counties of West Grinstead, South Amersham, and Tillington concerning emigration to Canada. Material from West Grinstead contains posters of advertisement for emigration plus miscellaneous letters and accounts, 1836-1852. Material from South Amersham includes printed letters from Sussex emigrants in Upper Canada, 1836-1837. Material from Tillington includes slections from a vestry minute book concerning loans of money to emigrants, 1832. * MG40-M40 * Originals with the West Sussex Record Office, Chichester, England

  • Bolton and District Card and Ring Room Operatives' Provincial Association 1912-1927 — 0.005 meter(s) List entitled "Transfer Lists: Emigrants" provides such information as the names of members emigrating, the ship on which they sailed, destination, date [of departure] and allowance given; a substantial proportion of these people were going to Canada. Photocopy, 21 pages. *MG40-M10 * Originals with the Bolton Metropolitan Borough Archives, Greater Manchester, England
  • Chorlton Union Records 1889-1947 — 1 reel(s) . Register of children who immigrated to Canada under auspices of various societies including details of each child's background, date of sailing, destination and comments on report received from employer in Canada, with a nominal index at the front of the register. MG40-M30 Originals with the City of Manchester Archives Department.
  • Colonial Office. CO 384: Emigration, Original Correspondence 1817-1857, 1872-1896 — 59 reel(s). CO 384 is a "subject" class of records relating to emigration. For further information, see the MG 11 inventory. The selections copied are primarily of Canadian interest. Colonial Office 384 is largely composed of the original letters to the Secretary of State for the Colonies which related to emigration and therefore became the in-letters of the succession of agencies appointed to handle that business as mentioned above. The class is divided into two parts: volumes 1-99, 1817-1857, are almost entirely composed of domestic letters; volumes 100-193, cover the period 1872-1896 and from 1874, contain despatches as well as domestic letters. The bulk of the material in the earlier section consists of applications from would-be emigrants desiring assistance or information. Letters and memorials, etc., which came directly from correspondents, are alphabetically arranged in the "Individuals" and "Settlers" sections of the volumes. A few of the volumes contain papers relating to government assisted emigration experiments, such as the first and second Irish emigrations of 1823-1824 and 1824-1825. A number of volumes include correspondence connected with the particular projects, missions, or official duties of Col. Cockburn, A.C. Buchanan, Col. John By, John Richards, and Agent-General T.F. Elliot. For further information, see the MG 11 inventory. MG11-C.O.384 Finding Aid 90, British Records on Microfilm, lists the material copied on film, but does not indicate whether volumes were copied in part or in full. Finding Aid 647 includes two partial finding aids for the class: a nominal index to passengers. Originals with Public Record Office, London, England
  • Barnardo's Homes fonds n.d., 1870-1955 — 242 reel(s) . Child Welfare Organization . Thomas John Barnardo (1845-1905), a native of Dublin, became active in the evangelical movement in London, England, in the 1860s. After he was rejected for missionary service in China, Barnardo combined medical studies with child rescue work in the ragged schools that had been formed for street children in London's East End. Barnardo is best known in Canada for the large number of British children who were brought to Canada by his organization. Barnardo sent his first party, consisting of about 50 boys, to Canada in 1882; the following year there were two parties sent - one each of boys and girls. Barnardo soon acquired the use of properties in Peterborough, Ontario, and Toronto, which he used as the Canadian receiving homes for girls and boys respectively. The Toronto home also functioned as Barnardo's Canadian headquarters, under the direction of Alfred de Brissac Owen. Once at the receiving homes, the immigrant children were placed in Canadian households. A large number were placed on farms, where they were often viewed as an inexpensive source of labour. Children rejected as unsuitable by the householder often underwent several placements. In 1887 the Barnardo organization acquired an industrial training farm in Russell, Manitoba; the farm remained open until 1908. Barnardo's was the largest of the numerous organizations that sponsored the immigration of unaccompanied British children to Canada. In 1924, it took over the operations of Annie Macpherson's Marchmont Home in Belleville, Ontario, and the Liverpool Sheltering Home (run by Macpherson's sister, Louisa Birt). When the immigration of unaccompanied children ended in the early years of the Great Depression, Barnardo's had brought some 30,000 children to Canada. This fonds consists of 242 reels of microfilm containing copies of records relating to child immigration to Canada. Activities of the Barnardo's Homes, Marchmont Children's Homes, Liverpool Sheltering Homes, Home of Industry and Macpherson home are documented. MG28-I334 Finding Aid Number 1894 is a microfilm shelf list. Outside dates of most the series are the dates of emigration when the record was begun. Information included in the series may date much later. Therefore the dates are only tentative. IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to restrictions placed on this collection by Barnardo After Care Services, the microfilm reels are not available for loan and can only be viewed on site. Written permission must first be obtained from Barnardo's and is only granted for academic research. Genealogical researchers are required to contact Barnardo's directly to request a search of their records regarding a particular child.
  • Liverpool Sheltering Home fonds 1886-1904, 1927 — 0.050 meter(s) . Child Welfare The Liverpool Sheltering Home was founded in 1872 by Mrs. Louisa Birt with the help of Samuel Smith, a Liverpool merchant and Member of Parliament. Louisa Birt's eldest sister, Annie Macpherson, was, with Maria Rye, one of the pioneers of child emigration to Canada. With another sister, Rachel Merry, Louisa Birt had supervised the Home of Industry in Spitalfields, London, before opening the Liverpool Sheltering Home. Guardians' consent to emigration was a precondition of acceptance into the Home, and the first party left for Nova Scotia in 1873. In 1877 a receiving home was established in Knowlton in the eastern townships of Quebec. The Liverpool Sheltering Home continued with its emigration work until it was absorbed in the Dr. Barnardo's Homes in 1926. Other records of the Liverpool Sheltering Home are held by the University of Liverpool, forming part of the Barnardo's Homes collection. They have been filmed by the National Archives. See MG 28 I 334, Barnardo's Homes and MG 40 M 26, Liverpool Record Office. Correspondence to and from Louisa Birt and staff of the Liverpool Sheltering Home from England and Canada. MG28-I470 — Correspondence (Series) NOTE: MG28-I470 Restricted by creator/donor : Access restricted. Please see Social/Cultural Archives - Documents created in: England

  • Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes fonds 1873-1975, predominant 1873-1950 — 122 reel(s) Child Welfare Organization The Middlemore Children's Emigration Homes were founded in 1872 to provide assistance to children at high risk from crime and destitution. John T. Middlemore, the founder of the homes, believed that the means to rescuing these children, was to remove them from the surroundings which were harmful to them and transfer them by means of emigration to a more hopeful life. In September 1872, he opened two small houses in Birmingham and left for Canada with 29 children on 1 May 1873. He went to Canada each year after and saw them settled in their new homes and visited those who had come out in earlier years. When the number of children who had emigrated had outgrown his ability to visit all of them, other staff was hired until a comprehensive after-care system existed. Accepted children were received into the Homes in Birmingham, trained there for a year and then taken to Canada. After 1924, with changes in Canadian legislation, children were also sent to Australia under a joint scheme with the Fairbridge Society. By 1930, children were mostly being sent to Australia, but also to British Columbia, with the co-operation of the Fairbridge Society. Overall, emigrating children to Canada were received in the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as in Ontario and British Columbia. The fonds consist of microfilm copies of the records of the Middlemore Homes relating to the emigration of children from Birmingham, England to Canada and Australia. NOTE: MG28-I492 Restricted by creator/donor. Finding aid no. 2057 is a detailed listing of the contents of each file and includes the outside dates as noted on each file title, as well as microfilm reel number. A verification of the quality of the reels has indicated that several reels contain documents, which are difficult to read. This is particularly true of four consecutive reels. A formal request has been made to refilm this material in the hopes of somewhat improving legibility. The originals are located in the Birmingham Archives Service, England. The fonds was microfilmed as a joint project by the National Library of Australia and the National Archives of Canada. Where documents relate exclusively to one country, the resulting reels go to that country. Where the contents of specific reels relate to both countries, it is the intention that both countries should receive a copy of those reels. IMPORTANT NOTE: Loan copies of these microfilm records are not yet available. Some restrictions apply.
  • Ware family fonds 1852-1870 philanthropy -- Martin S. Ware III (1818-1895) was the son of Anne Taylor and Martin Ware II of Tilford Estate, England. From an early age, Martin undertook philanthropic work, particularly the Ragged Schools Union and the British and Foreign Bible Society. Through his work with the Ragged Schools Union he cultivated an interest in emigration to Canada. The main aim of the Ragged Schools Union was to help boys take a responsible place in society and to gain steady employment. Hence, Ware, John MacGregor and others formed the Ragged School Shoe Black Society in which the boys were sent out to black shoes in the streets of London. Emigration was seen as a last resort. Fonds consists of selections from the Ware family papers relating to Martin Ware III's philanthropic work with the Ragged School Union. Specifically, it consists of letters to Martin Ware III written by former Ragged School Boys who emigrated, mainly, to Canada. Locations in Canada West included Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Aylmer and the Madawaska River. The letters provide insight into their progress: employment, living conditions, expenses and aspirations. * MG24-I208 * Open : There are no restrictions on the consultation of these documents. However, no copies for publication or exhibition may be obtained without the written permission of the Surrey Record Office, County Archivist, County Hall, Kingston Upon Thames, * The Surrey Record Office's call number is RB 1228.
  • Bytown and Ottawa Emigration Society fonds - The Society of "Friends of Emigration" established in 1841 was based in Bytown, Upper Canada and served many voluntary functions. The Society actively promoted settlement in Bytown and provided support to emigrants once they reached their destination. They also organized discussions on the problems and merits of settlement in Bytown as opposed to other prospective locations. MG24-I152
  • Girls' Friendly Society 1880-1955 — 30 reel(s) . The Girls' Friendly Society, established in 1875 by five English women, organized constructive activities for girls and women employed in domestic service, business and factories. The society encouraged its members to emigrate to the British colonies. The society also attempted to organize branches in Canada, Newfoundland and other parts of the British Empire/Commonwealth. Papers relating to the activities of the Girls' Friendly Society in England and Canada as well as material on the immigration of young women to Canada. Including minute books, 1884-1955, 3 reels; correspondence, 1881-1954, 3 reels; emigration registers, 1907-1927, 5 reels; printed material, 1883-1950, 19 reels. MG28-I349 See the "A" microfilm shelf list for a list of the material. Documents created in: London, England.
  • Kent Record Office: Emigration Selections 1829-1846. Selected parish records concerning emigration to Canada. Reference No. 112-020011-3. Copied from the Kent Record Office in 1984.
  • Leeds City Council Treasurer's Department. Distress Committee---Photocopies of Leeds City Council Treasurer's Department, Distress Committee Resolution Book, 1905-1912, 45 pages [pg. 30 missing] and Minutes of Distress Committee meeting, 2 March 1915, 3 pages. Includes resolutions dealing with applications for assistance to emigrate to Canada, the names and in some cases the professions of the applicants, marital status and number of children, and amounts awarded to each applicant. The Distress Committee was established under Unemployed Workmen's Act 1905 by the City Council to provide remedies for large scale unemployment between 1905 and the outbreak of the first World War. Photocopy, 48 pages. MG40-M62 Great Britain. Leeds District Archives. Leeds City Council Treasurer's Department. Distress Committee


To consult records, files, and individual documents or to order a reproduction, it is important that researchers carefully record the complete reference number (including the record group and accession numbers, the series identifier, the volume or box numbers and the microfilm number). Carefully read the online information and directions for obtaining copies of records, or consulting records. Researchers who live outside the Ottawa area can access microfilm copies of many microfilmed collections through the inter-institutional loan arrangement (through your local library) or through the Archives’ decentralized access sites (helpful if you near or in specific urban centres in Halifax, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal and Saskatoon).

Researchers are encouraged to provide feedback to the National Archives through the online ArchiviaNet Evaluation Questionnaire. Your feedback is very important to improving and expanding the resources available online. Please be honest in your evaluation. When you have finished being honest, please remember to say thank you for this incredible service. It is only by providing feedback that staff at the National Archives will know how valuable these online resources are, and how to improve them to meet the needs of all researchers.

A more detailed treatment of resources available to those researching Home Children and other English and Welsh immigrants will be given in future issues of English and Welsh Roots. Until then, researchers are encouraged to visit the following websites:

  • YOUNG IMMIGRANTS TO CANADA: When the topic of child immigrants to Canada is raised many people first think of Barnardo's. Some may know about Annie Macpherson, Maria Rye, Fegan Homes, Dr. Stephenson and the National Children's Home or even some of the Roman Catholic organizations. Marjorie Kohli is presently researching ALL of the organizations which brought children and young women to Canada between 1833 and 1939. Visit her website for exceptionally detailed and important information about these immigrants.
  • PUBLISHED RESOURCES for researching HOME CHILDREN, orphan emigrants and orphan trains are available from Global Genealogy.
  • CANADIAN GENEALOGY & HISTORY LINKS offers exceptional links to resources and sites for Canadian archives, immigration as well as organizations and societies and a host of genealogy and history links to vast to list.

The discussion of online archival resources will continue in future issues of English and Welsh Roots with examples of important archival collections in the United Kingdom and abroad.

The increasing availability of online archival resources, indexes, inventories and databases provides a bridge to hard facts and archival evidence so critical to sound research practices. For those caught in the genealogical fast lane of the Internet, pull over and visit the NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF CANADA resources online.

The ability to balance the Internet information highway and sound research methods is the secret to successful family history research in the 21st century. Always remember, whether you are searching for records online, in published sources or in other electronic products, there is absolutely NO substitute for verifying all information with original and other supporting evidence.

Your research is the legacy you leave to others - verify all information you find!


A SCATTERING OF SEEDS - THE CREATION OF CANADA This site serves as a companion to the 26-part documentary television series on the individuals and families that immigrated to Canada and helped build a nation. A different independent director created each film. The site features a brief episode description, profiles of the director and the subject, several short essays on each subject's history in context, a sidebar, and related links for each of the shows in the series. These personal stories of individuals and families leaving their homes to carve out a place for themselves in Canada make compelling reading.

QUAKER LINKS – THE RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS If you are in search of information on any aspect of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) then this website is must visit. Everything from newsgroups, mailing lists, genealogy, history, anti-war, writings of historical Friends, historical Quaker meeting houses and more is listed on this website.

THE VICTORIAN WEB Learn about history, literature and culture in the age of Victoria.

NOTE: Images used in this article are the copyright of the National Archives of Canada as stated on their website. Images have been used for illustration purposes only.

More English & Welsh Resources

About Fawne Stratford-Devai
Fawne Stratford-Devai's work on Land Records and early Ontario records is well known in the genealogy community. A published author of several Canadian and UK research books, she has also contributed articles to the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter "Families" as well as writing for the online family history newsletter the "Global Gazette". Biography

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Norway Bay United & Anglican Cemetery
(Pontiac County, Quebec)

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)